Captain Jack Radley And The Heyday Of The Fleet. The Story Of The Adventist Mission Boats In The South Seas.

My cousin, Rose-Marie Radley, has written this book about her father and his vital connection with the Seventh-Day Adventist Mission boats. Submitted by Warren Martin 

The book is soft cover and 402 pages. Available from Adventist Book Shops. $27.95. www.adventistbookcentre.com.au

Jack Radley went to the South Pacific and worked primarily for the Adventist Church from 1917 until 1955. Interspersed amongst this, he worked for W.R. Carpenter and joined the army in WW11, in ANGAU, running a mission boat as a medical facility for the local people in PNG. Following the war, he assisted the Church in replacing the Mission fleet and became the Mission fleet engineer, servicing the Mission boats,

Jack initially went to the New Hebrides (Vanuatu), then the Solomons and New Britain. He was in Rabaul on the 4th. January, 1942, when the first Japanese air raid occurred. He left Rabaul for the “western islands” on the 15th. January on the ex W.R. Carpenter’s boat, the Ambon and on hearing the news of the capture of Rabaul on the 23rd. January, he headed south, calling at places to see if there were any Europeans left to pick up. He called in at the Trobriands and at Samarai, where a large group of people transferred to his boat and he then went to Cairns where the army took control of the boat.

Jack then moved to Thursday Island where he repaired and serviced the W.R. Carpenter’s fleet of luggers to be used for the army then back to Cairns where he took the mission ship, the Diari and its local crew, down to his home on Dora Creek, Morisset. The Adventist Church offered the boat to the army and Jack modified it for medical work, enlisted in the army and took the boat to PNG in 1943. Jack was given the rank of Warrant Officer on enlistment, which had risen to Lieutenant by the time he was discharged in March, 1946.

After the war, the Adventist Church set about replacing the fleet as most of the boats were no longer viable or had been sunk during the war. Jack was intimately involved in this process, including ferrying them to the Pacific Islands. The Adventist Church became Lars Halverson’s, boat builders, biggest customer after the war. Jack built a house at Palm Beach, Rabaul, near W.R.Carpenter’s wharf and brought his family there to live. The family became good friends with their neighbour, Frank Holland, who many ex-Rabaulites would know. Jack then set the Mission boat service centre and slipway at Rugen Harbour (Put Put), some 45 miles South East of Rabaul. He serviced and maintained the boats fastidiously so they were extremely reliable until 1955 when he retired. His place was taken by Roy Masters and as the Church work gradually moved inland PNG and the boats became uneconomical to maintain and repair, the emphasis moved to Mission airplanes.

Jack Radley gave 38 years of his life to The Adventist Church and the people of the South Pacific. Truly a life to be remembered.

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