Giru Airfield

North and Cape York

Woodstock Road (off Bruce highway), Giru 4809

The US 91st Engineers, a 'Colored' labour Battalion with little military training arrived in Woodstock without equipment in April 1942 to assist the US 46th Engineers, a white unit, in building three landing strips.

On 23 April the US 91st Engineers were moved to Giru to construct an airfield. Armed with only hand tools, the unit cleared an area for three landing strips and operated 24 hours a day. Machettes were used to clear the long grass and home made wheel barrows were made with empty beer cases. A farm tractor and a horse drawn mowing machine were rented from nearby farmers. Seven well worn dozers and a few cargo trucks were sourced from Melbourne in May, with them finally arriving in July.


Lee, Ulysses. US Army in World War II Special Studies: The Employment of Negro Troops. Office of the Chief of Military History United States Army, Washington DC, 1966