After three days, the men were back to their old quarters. In June 1943, Allied aircraft bombed and strafed the camp, killing nineteen prisoners and injuring thirty others. Those divisions continued into the postwar period. Andras Tomas was 19 when he was captured by the Soviet Union in the fall of 1944. On 15 February Frank Christie of the 4th Anti-Tank wrote in his diary 'all over' and then added in capitals 'SURRENDER, CAPITULATE ... a terrible show'. AWM P02338.001, photographer: George Aspinall, Troops de-bugging their beds, Changi, by Murray Griffin, 1942–43: oil over pencil on softboard, 63 x 81.2 cm. He was placed in a POW camp east of Leningrad. Two, Lieutenant Charles Wagner and Sergeant Rex Butler, were killed fighting with the island guerrillas, and the other five were picked up by an American submarine early in 1944 and taken to Australia. A few days later, sixty officers and eighteen women—the civilian, mission and army nurses and Kathleen Bignold—were shipped to Japan on the Naruto Maru. The discipline was strict; slapping and sometimes more brutal punishment was imposed. By then, 182 of the 263 Australians who had gone to Hainan were still alive. It was a massive engineering task, and if it was to be of any strategic value it had to be built quickly. From Kokoda to the Battle of Britain, Australian servicemen and women had a variety of experiences, in battle and as prisoners of war. Over 500 civilians had died in the New Guinea islands and on the north coast of Papua and New Guinea, most after they were captured by the Japanese. The Perth and Houston kept firing until they had exhausted ammunition, and both were sunk with shattering torpedo blasts. Our collection contains a wealth of material to help you research and find your connection with the wartime experiences of the brave men and women who served in Australia’s military forces. There is one comprehensive bibliography: David Milne, POWs in Japanese camps: an annotated bibliography of books in English 1939–1999, (2002). It was to the credit of the training of the units and the good sense of men and officers that Australian units generally retained their discipline and cohesion through the tough years of imprisonment. As the Japanese could transport little machinery to the site, nearly all work had to be done by men and what they could carry. In his statement, Frank Forde, Acting Prime Minister, spoke of starvation and amputation of ulcerated limbs, warned that perhaps 2000 men had died on the railway, and said that conditions in other camps might not be as bad. None survived. Immediately, critical decisions had to be made. News had been spreading informally in Australia from late 1944, and the Australian and other Allied governments made public statements in November, saying what had happened on the Rokyu Maru and drawing on testimony from men who had worked on the Burma–Thailand railway. The prisoners from the navy and the Australian Army Nursing Service are included in Allan Walker, Medical Services of the R.A.N and R.A.A.F. Australian War Memorial, Canberra. Already hopes of repatriation had faded, and they disappeared as the ships went north to Burma. Armed with a carton of cigarettes as currency, Don Moore boarded trains and travelled the island of Kyushu. By the end of the war the men of Sparrow Force were widely dispersed. Only 4,044 members of the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) were taken prisoner across all theatres of operations between 1915 and 1918. On Timor, although the fighting had been brief, the Australians had fought well in the initial engagement before meeting an overwhelming force. AWM ART91848, Cholera tent at Hintok prisoner of war camp, Thailand, sketched by Jack Chalker, 1943. After two days in the water, 136 prisoners were taken on board Japanese ships, others were probably shot in their life boats, and more died of thirst and exposure. This sketch survived by chance when Chalker was caught by a guard, forced to tear up his sketches and beaten for two days. Weary Dunlop, byname of Sir Ernest Edward Dunlop, (born July 12, 1907, Wangaratta, Victoria, Australia—died July 2, 1993, Melbourne), Australian physician, one of the most famous Australian World War II veterans, remembered for the compassionate medical care and leadership he provided for fellow prisoners of war (POWs) captured by the Japanese. In the immediate post-war period, the prisoners of war remained in public consciousness as the trials of Japanese accused of war crimes continued into the early 1950s. The Sandakan 'underground' began to plan for a response to an Allied landing, but Japanese suspicions were aroused and through the torture of local Chinese and then others they gained evidence, made intensive searches of the camp and found radios and incriminating documents. The Australian Rules football matches may have been the first contested in Singapore. Towns such as Yass in New South Wales or Beechworth in Victoria with populations of 3000 could expect to have ten missing, and Rockhampton, with 30,000 people, might have 100 young citizens in the hands of the Japanese. Despite receiving some help from locals, Hackney was recaptured and interned at Pudu Gaol and later Changi Prison. Includes Changi, the Burma-Thailand Railway, Sandakan, Timor, Ambon, Rabaul and Japan, and the … The 'Selarang Barracks incident' was a more dramatic disruption to life in Changi. The Konyu Cutting, which became the site of the Hellfire Pass Memorial, was completed in August 1943, with the men working shifts of up to eighteen hours in the light of flaring bamboo fires. Within weeks, men were being taken from Changi to work around Singapore—cleaning up the debris of war, on the wharfs, and to build a shrine on Bukit Timah hill, the 'light of the south cenotaph', to commemorate the Japanese victory. At the Alexandra military hospital on the eve of the surrender on Singapore, the Japanese killed over 150 Allied soldiers. The Nationalists recaptured or killed the rest. After being in hospital in Delhi and convalescing in Colombo, he was flown to Australia, arriving in Melbourne on 26 July 1945. Through them—particularly Dr Jim Taylor—they bought medicines, began building up information about Japanese numbers and positions, and built a radio. This is a list of prisoner of war camps in Australia during World War II.. During World War II many enemy aliens were interned in Australia under the National Security Act 1939. Arthur Bancroft was one of the last to hear the welcome, 'Take it easy guys', as he was pulled on board. This list may not reflect recent changes (). At night, the Australian concert party put on a show, and under the watch of Japanese machine-gunners and before a vast crowd, gave one of their best performances. First published: ... Four of them were later transferred from Crete to a prisoner of war camp in Silesia. Most became victims of their captors’ indifference and brutality. The wave of Japanese victories, ending with the capture of the Netherlands East Indies in March 1942, left in its wake a mass of Allied prisoners of war, including many Australians. None of the Rabaul women died, but they too had suffered from malnutrition and medical neglect. The loss of 845 prisoners of war and 208 civilians was the greatest single disaster suffered by Australia in the Second World War. And it was, for Australians, a significant human investment—but in fact the force was small, being only about a third of what Australia had sent to north Africa and the Middle-East, and it had little support from Australian and Allied air forces and navies. In the end, the Japanese were also keen to remove all evidence of the Sandakan camp and its prisoners. Soon shortage of food and an ill-balanced diet led to the abandonment of most active sports. On 24 April 1998, to commemorate the experiences of the prisoners on the railway, the Australian Government officially opened the Hellfire Pass Memorial, which includes a three and a half hour walking trail that takes visitors to several of the cuttings and bridge sites. Aspinall disregarded the dangers and overcame technical difficulties to take photographs around Changi and film something of the horrors endured by 'F' Force on the Burma–Thailand railway. And a 'bore-hole' became the Changi term for rumour—doubtful news said to have come from talk overheard at the latrines. Within Changi, men could go for days without seeing a Japanese. In spite of the bashings, it broke the boredom of his month of solitary confinement. Eleven disappeared, presumably executed. We pay our respects to elders past and present. AWM 096887, Warrant Officer Leslie Cody, 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion, an ex-prisoner of war and member of the War Graves Commission survey party, lays paybooks and other documents out to dry after their recovery from the graves of prisoners of war at a camp on the Burma–Thailand railway, September 1945. Sparrow Force, comprising just over 1300 men, was near Koepang in Dutch Timor; Gull Force, of 1100 men, was on Ambon; and Lark Force, of just over 1400 men, was at Rabaul on New Britain in the Australian Mandated Territory of New Guinea. Throughout his imprisonment, Parkin was writing and sketching, recording both the 'physical agony' and the 'beauty' of what was around him. For the Australians, the main cause of death was starvation. After the officers had been shifted away, there were about 2500 British and Australian prisoners at Sandakan. The men at the middle and lower camps had the advantage of being able to trade with Thai food sellers, sometimes buying life-saving duck eggs. To get fluid into the desperately ill cholera patients, they made their own saline solution and injected it using 'needles' fashioned from copper taken from Japanese vehicles, and even bamboo. This is a part of the series, Australians in the Pacific War. Flight Lieutenant CH 'Spud' Spurgeon was in action on 8 December and saw some 'pretty damned magnificent flying'. In his drawings of the cooks, trailer parties collecting wood, theatre, and men listening to music, Murray Griffin documented the range of activities in Changi. AWM ART26497, Changi library, by Murray Griffin, 1943: pen and blue ink and brown wash over pencil, 50 x 36.8 cm. The optimists always hoped that the next camp would be better; they wanted to escape the boredom of Changi; there was often more food outside Changi; and there was always a chance to pilfer. Archie was the inspiration behind Flanagan’s bestselling novel, The Narrow Road to the Deep North, based on Archie’s experiences as a prisoner of the Japanese. The Japanese had said that while they had not ratified the Geneva Convention on the treatment of prisoners of war, they would respect its authority. Stan Arneil's group covered 300 kilometres in fifteen nights of marching, arriving at Shimo Sonkurai, close to the Burma border, on 17 May 1943. Several other prisoners had a facility with brush and pencil. All the surviving nurses spent a long time in the water before struggling ashore on Banka Island, off the east Sumatra coast, two spending seventy-two hours at sea. More than 8000 prisoners of war and many hundreds of civilian internees had died. In the foreground, left to right are: Mother Martha (Dutch), Sister M Flavia (Australian) and Sister Berenice Twohill (Australian). AWM P01344.001, Twenty-four members of the 2/10th Field Ambulance detachment, Rabaul, July 1941. Additives, such as cooking oil, sugar (or gula malacca), chillies and salt, which in small amounts could change the flavour and nutritional value of rice, became important. The next day he had some: some 'gallant fellows' had walked several kilometres up the line, climbed telegraph poles, smashed the insulators and taken out the sulphur. By the war’s end more than one in three of these prisoners – about 8,000 – had died. From left: Group Captain Jerrold Fleming, Pilot Officer John Thomas, Short, Sticpewich, Botterill, Flying Officer Ted Dowse. They had fought in hope—hope that re-enforcements would arrive, and hope that in a peculiarly British way they might escape as at Gallipoli or Dunkirk, and defeat would then look like victory. On the 17th they began the march to Changi on the north-west of Singapore Island. Malaria alone would have killed few men in the prime of life, but combined with malnutrition and its attendant ulcers, beriberi, dysentery and general weakness, it was lethal. Even in the prison camps close to Australia—Ambon and Rabaul—it was weeks before the men were located and liberated. Come and see why. While in most units cohesion and an orderly command structure was re-established, there continued to be some tension between officers and men. In a small town of 1000 where every one knew everybody, three or four were prisoners of war. In his diary, Doctor Rowley Richards recorded the deteriorating conditions of the camps: the 'soul-destroying sight' of the 55 Kilo camp hospital; the 70 Kilo was 'the foulest'; and the 80 Kilo 'was even worse' with the 'nauseating stench' of mud, slush and cow manure in the huts that had once been cattle shelters. The most famous wireless was built into the head of a broom, but in spite of Japanese searches, other receivers and spare parts were kept so that all the major groups of Australians leaving Changi had a wireless. Just how many romusha is unknown, but it could have been around 200,000, with the peak number at any one time of 80,000. Two more died before they reached Australia. Many of the deaths occurred because of events elsewhere; men died because they had been wounded in the fighting on the Malayan Peninsula and Singapore Island, or they returned debilitated from harsh labour camps. Harried into another shift in April, the women went to Lubuklingau, an isolated rubber plantation in western Sumatra. The English prisoners on 'F' Force, who were less fit initially, suffered twice the casualties. AWM 157859, Two working men, Konyu River Camp; verso: Study for 'Two working men', by Jack Chalker, 1942: pen and black ink, brush and wash on paper, verso pencil, 13.9 x 8.1 cm. World War II Allied . To the surprise of the prisoners, the Japanese asked them to write letters, which they then dropped during a bombing raid on Port Moresby. AWM 121114, photographer: Sgt RL Stewart, A memorial service on the beach at Rabaul on 23 January 1946 in memory of over 1000 civilian internees and prisoners of war who died when the Japanese transport MontevideoMaru was sunk off the Philippines four years earlier. The Reverend Kentish was captured in Australian waters; he was a civilian, and he was the victim of random, misdirected brutality. The first of the 'A' Force prisoners to arrive in Burma worked on airfield construction at Victoria Point, Mergui and Tavoy. The New Guineans themselves were divided: some delighted at the sight of the sweating mastas and others evaded guards to bring food and other goods to men they knew. Through all their time in Changi, the Australians had a wireless receiver. There they found just six survivors of the first march. Under pressure to 'entertain' Japanese officers, the nurses dressed as unattractive 'gaunt harpies' and successfully resisted all the offered riches of food and drink in exchange for sex. The returned prisoners felt that they had had three and a half years of their lives stolen, and many of them had been away for over four years. In spite of Olle's suspicions, a Thai pilot flew him to north Thailand, where he was transferred to an RAF aircraft and was in Calcutta by mid-June. In the main ulcer ward the patients were packed three deep, head to foot ... From 4851 Australians in 'A' Force, 771 died, a death rate of 15.8%. As the prisoners of war were to say, being an ex-prisoner was a life sentence. Picked up nearly a fortnight later by other Japanese, she was imprisoned in Muntok where she 'howled happily' when she met another thirty-one of the nurses who had landed at other points on the Banka coast. AWM 030261/19, Sister Jess Doyle, 2/10th Australian General Hospital, soon after her release with other nurses from a POW camp on Sumatra. AWM 157878, British and Australian prisoners of war, survivors of the sinking of the Rokyu Maru, are picked up by USS Sealion after 3 days adrift, 15 September 1944. Gunner Frank Christie, then on a work party in Singapore, wrote in his diary on 22 July that twenty-one nurses had been driven into the sea and shot and thirty were either in 'brothel or solitary confinement'. He found this sketch had survived undetected in a pile of rags. At the time of this photograph, the group had been flown from Japan via Okinawa and were to continue by air to Australia; they were among the first ex-prisoners of war and internees to arrive home. Embankments were built by men equipped just with a 'chunkel'—a large hoe—and lines of men carrying stones and earth in baskets or bag stretchers. The work of the doctors— Albert Coates, Weary Dunlop, Bruce Hunt, Rowley Richards, Roy Mills, Kevin Fagan, David Hinder and others—was praised by their fellow prisoners long before they returned to Australia. At great personal risk some Thais were prepared to sell medicines and food on credit, and even provide cash. Other officers captured in south-east Asia were also sent to Zentsuji, bringing the Australian total to about 100. There are several general histories or studies that raise broader issues: Joan Beaumont, Gull Force: Survival and leadership in Captivity 1941-1945 (1988); Gavan Daws, Prisoners of the Japanese; POWs of World War II in the Pacific (1994); Cameron Forbes, Hellfire: The story of Australia, Japan and the prisoners of war (2005); G McCormack and H Nelson, The Burma–Thailand Railway: memory and history (1993); H. Nelson, Prisoners of War: Australians under Nippon (1985); Lynette Silver, Sandakan: A Conspiracy of Silence (1998); Yuki Tanaka, Hidden Horrors: Japanese war crimes in World War II (1996). About May 1942 they might have received an official letter saying there no. Local police who had tried to make the best of their years in captivity as their stolen years, even. To torture by the Japanese southward advance had ended landing barges except for the bulk their! Morotai from an Australian corvette, HMAS Junee, 12 September 1945 knew that the ended! 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