Endeavour Coastal Battery
Entrance (Zuna) Island, Endeavour Battery
- North and Cape York
Southern Coastline, Entrance Island 4700
During 1942 officers of the Royal Australian Artillery Corps (RAA) inspected locations for additional coast defences in Torres Strait to support the existing Goods Island and Thursday Island (Milman Hill) batteries. Emplacement sites were selected for Turtle Battery on Hammond Island and Endeavour Battery on Entrance Island.
The original reconnaissance of Entrance Island was carried out in September 1942. Initially it had been proposed to install a battery of 155mm guns at Red Island Point on Cape York to cover the anchorage and close off Endeavour Strait. However, a decision was made to emplace a battery of 60-pounder guns on Entrance Island, which would give better coverage of the Endeavour Strait. The guns arrived on Thursday Island on 19 November 1942 and were installed on mobile mounts on the south-east coast of Entrance Island in February 1943. They became operational as Endeavour Battery in April 1943. A number of concrete building slabs and gun platforms remain visible along the south-east coast of the island.
Construction of gun emplacements on Entrance Island began in January 1943. Initially there were to be three Breech Loading 60-pounder (127mm) heavy field guns of World War I vintage, designed about 1903. Endeavour Battery personnel, selected from Goods and Milman coast batteries, moved to Entrance Island in February 1943 and the Endeavour Battery became operational in April. During the following month the Torres Strait Fixed Defences-Heavy Artillery was renamed Coast Artillery Torres Strait. A Bofors 40mm Light Anti-Aircraft gun was emplaced at each of the Torres Strait batteries, including Endeavour, in September 1943.
An Army Appreciation of the situation at Entrance Island in November 1943, noted that the only troops on the Island were the gunners of Endeavour Battery, RAA, who had the role of covering the Endeavour Strait which would be the approach route for any Japanese attack from the west. Preparations had been made for close defence of the gun positions, but with little potential for long defence against land attack. In January 1944 a decision was taken to upgrade the guns of Endeavour Battery by replacing the three BL 60-Pdr field guns with two BL 60-Pdr Mk II guns on rubber tyre carriages. (Other sources refer to the replacements as 6-inch Mk VII naval guns). The new guns were installed in February and proof fired in April 1944.
The coast defences of Torres Strait were reviewed by the Australian Defence Committee in September 1944 and as a result it was recommended that only the 6-inch guns of Goods Battery be retained on a permanently manned basis. In October 1944 Endeavour Battery, Milman Battery on Thursday Island, King Section on Horn Island and Turtle Battery on Hammond Island were placed under care and maintenance before being withdrawn. The men of the disbanded batteries were sent to Brisbane before being reposted to other units for active duty in New Guinea and the islands.
Allied Works Council (Queensland), AWC Minutes 1942–1945, BP1/1, National Archives of Australia, Canberra.
Reg A Ball, Torres Strait Force 1942 to 1945: The defence of Cape York, Torres Strait and Merauke in Dutch New Guinea, Sydney, 1996.
Graham McKenzie Smith, Australia’s Forgotten Army, vol 2, ACT, 1995.
Howard Pearce (Ed.). Heritage Trails of the Tropical North: A heritage tour guide to far north Queensland, Environmental Protection Agency, Brisbane, 2001.
Vanessa Seekee, Horn Island 1939–1945: A record of the defence of Horn Island during World War Two, Horn Island 2002.