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United States Navy submariner's uniform shoulder board

Date: c 1942
Overall: 12 x 138 mm, 4 g
Medium: Felt wool, cardboard, artificial leather, metallic thread
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Dr Philip Lundeberg
Object Name: Shoulder board
Object No: 00015684
Place Manufactured:United States

User Terms

    This fabric shoulder board belonged to Commander Phil K Lundeberg, submariner in the United States Navy during World War II.

    Shoulder boards distinguised the ranks of officers and warrant officers, and were worn on the shoulder straps of the tunic.

    During World War II, the service uniform of the United States Navy submariners consisted of a khaki peaked or overseas cap, khaki open single-breasted tunic, khaki shirt, black tie, khaki long trousers, black socks, and black shoes.
    SignificanceThis shoulder board is component of the United States Navy's uniform, which was worn by submariners in Australian waters during World War II.
    HistoryDuring World War II, both the Australian public and the Allied Commanders agreed that the Australian mainland would almost inevitably be invaded by Japanese forces. With the fall of well-fortified Allied bases such as Singapore and the bombing of northern Australian ports, there was every possibility that the unprotected coastline of Australia would be vulnerable to further attacks.

    Between 1942 and 1945, Fremantle Port was one of the most important naval bases in the Indian Ocean hosting over 170 American, British and Dutch submarines, their support vessels and land-based facilities. During this time, the Royal Australian Navy did not have any submarines of its own having transferred its last to submarines to the Royal Navy in 1931, and relied on the support of its allies. Fremantle Port became the largest submarine base in the Southern Hemisphere, with over 410 Allied patrols leaving the port during this period.

    The United States forces played a dominant role in the war with Japan, particularly in the south-west Pacific region. Thousands of US troops streamed into Australia, resulting in complex socio-economic changes to Australian society. In Fremantle, the United States Navy took over 16 warehouses and other buildings and by 1944 over 200 civilians were employed directly in United States Navy facilities.

    The first United States submarine to arrive at Fremantle was in early March 1942 with the USS HOLLAND. For the next three years the United States submarine patrols leaving the port outnumbered all the Allied patrols combined - a total of 353.

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