The Branch has established a project team to manage the event, which is planned for Sunday, 22nd April 2012. The project team consists of MHSA, US Ex-Servicemen's Association and Australia-America Association members. Team members are developing a short history and programme booklet for the event, while others are sourcing re-enactors and vehicles for the planned activity.
Today, nothing appears to be left from Camp Pell, which took up much of Royal Park. Two intriguing stone sentry boxes do exist from that period, located near Anzac Hall, a listed and remaining hut from the WWII period.
For the Branch project in 2011/12, it has been agreed to pursue an historical re-enactment of the naming of Camp Pell in Royal Park, which was the home to thousands of American servicemen during 1942-3. The 70th anniversary of this event would also be marked by the unveiling of a commemorative plaque. The plaque would describe the Australian military heritage in Royal Park, Camp Pell itself and Major Floyd Pell, a US Kittyhawk pilot who died courageously defending Darwin from Japanese attack on 19th February 1942.
The Argus, 25th April 1942, p.8.
The Branch research has already been uncovering some interesting facts and information about the establishment of Camp Pell, and the Pell family in Utah have forwarded some interesting information of their own, including photographs. Royal park itself has also had a long history of use by Victorian colonial forces as well as militia, the 1st and 2nd AIF - in fact right through to 1954, for recruitment, training and demobilisation.
US troops at Camp Pell 1942
The Pell Collection
Volunteers for this exciting and interesting project are very welcome as we need help with a range of activities connected to the planned event.