Peter Bessling – Port Macquarie Hastings Mayor holding a photo of his Grandfather: Edward (Ted) Hutcheon, WW2.
Ted trained on the second Sydney (Flagship of the fleet) before it was sunk by the German raider the ‘Cormorant’ off WA. He was on the Canberra before it was sunk and the Australia which was part of the Allies effort to install the free French in Vichy occupied Dakar (Africa) as well as leading many troop convoy’s during ’41 – 42 to Columbo and Africa. In ’42 he was also on HMAS Stuart during the battle of Milne Bay (North coast Papua New Guinea), the importance of Milne Bay is that it was the first time the Japanese Army had been stopped by any allied force. After the Dakota campaign and the push through the Owen Stanley Range, Macarthur stepped in and put Americans into New Guinea who promptly lost ground gained by the Australian forces. By then Prime Minister Curtain had convinced Churchill to return the second AIF (Australian Imperial Force) to Australia, it was a heavily reinforced AIF combined with Australian Militia that drove the Imperial Japanese Army into the Pacific at Milne Bay. Australia lost the HMAS Brisbane, Ted was one of a very few who actually took pictures of the battle, there are photos of the crew of the Canberra pulling sailors from off the Brisbane onto the Canberra and one particular shot of the boys pulling the charred and burnt name plate of the Brisbane on board.