Melbourne Cricket Ground - US Marines at the MCG
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US Marines at the MCG

A USAAF officer at the MCG during World War IIAfter the outbreak of the Pacific war, the Commonwealth Government requisitioned the MCG for military purposes.

From 1942 until 1945 it was progressively occupied by the US Army Air Forces, the Royal Australian Air Force, the US Marine Corps and again the RAAF.  

More than 200,000 personnel regarded the ground as their home away from home.

From April to October 1942, the US Army’s Fifth Air Force occupied the ground in what was affectionately known as Camp Murphy, named in honour of officer Colonel William Murphy, a senior USAAF officer killed in Java.

Most famously in 1943 the MCG was home to the legendary First Regiment of the First Division of the United States Marine Corp.

The First Marine Corp were the heroes of the battle of Guadalcanal (later Okinawa) and used the “cricket grounds”, as the marines referred to it, to rest and recuperate.

The MCG during World War IIIn 1942 and 1943, Melburnians en masse proved wonderful hosts to the soldiers and marines. Melbourne was described as the "best liberty port in the world."

Hundreds of servicemen were taken into Melburnians' homes and softball and gridiron matches were played on the MCG.

On March 14, 1943 the marines hosted a giant "get together" of US and Australian troops on the arena.

In 1977, Melbourne Cricket Club president Sir Albert Chadwick and Congressional Medal of Honour winner Colonel Mitchell Page unveiled a commemorative plaque recognising the Americans' time at the ground.

Whilst the ranks of US soldiers and marines and their Melbourne hosts have thinned, and with that first-hand memories of Camp Murphy and the “cricket grounds”, it remains a very proud chapter in the MCC and MCG’s history.

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