It was a boring journey back which I’m sure everyone was grateful for. Sixty-six years ago today, Redfin pulled into Darwin to discharge her human guests.
Rounding the eastern side of Timor Island, they were finally in friendly ocean. Just after dawn, several planes flew overheard. Austin, knowing Redfin was supposed to receive aerial escort to port, didn’t dive as was standard practice, but rather gave a recognition signal, which was quickly responded to correctly. They were finally safe.
The refugees and Fliers were allowed out on deck to see the sun. A Redfin hand, whose name has been forgotten, had a camera, and started taking more photos. (I say more because if you look at the Redfin’s website, you’ll see a lot of photos taken aboard Redfin during the course of her WWII career.) The first photo was likely the photo taken on the aft bridge deck of the two sub commanders, Crowley and Austin, then the seven Flier survivors (Donald Tremaine was bedridden with malaria, so only seven were on deck) then all the survivors.
The Redfin was not met with the usual bands and other trappings of a victorious returning submarine. Her entrance to harbor was quiet, and in fact, the men soon found out that officially, their fourth patrol was not over, they were expected to leave on the new second leg of patrol in 24 hours, as soon as Redfin was refueled and resupplied.
There were jeeps on the dock. The non-Flier survivors were loaded up and whisked away, never to be seen again by the Fliers and most of the Redfins. For the rest of his life, Al Jacboson wondered what became of these people.
The Fliers were put up in a hotel in Darwin for the night. Captain Crowley and Lt. Liddell had to know that there would be an investigation into the loss of Flier and whether or not they were partially or wholly responsible for the loss of her crew. All of them faced the choice of whether or not they would want to continue on in the Submarine Force.