Newcastle Morning Herald transcriptions and Hunter Valley death details for September 20-26, 1945.
760 SINGAPORE MEN AT DARWIN
The hospital ship Oranje is due to arrive at Darwin on Friday morning with the first big batch of freed prisoners of war to reach Australia. She is carrying 760 men, of whom about 130 are stretcher cases.
The Oranje will be followed in a few days by the Duntroon with 700 men, and eight or nine days later two big transports will reach Darwin each with 1000 men on board.
While the ships are in Darwin the men will be fitted out with new uniforms, medals, ribbons and service stripes, so that they may step ashore at their home ports as returning soldiers in every sense of the word.
AUSTRALIANS NOW FREED
Mr and Mrs J.Maxwell, of Everton Street, Hamilton, have received a cable from their son, Sergeant Gordon Mackenzie Maxwell, saying that he was safe in Australian hands, and hoped to be home soon. Sergeant Maxwell has been in Japanese hands since the fall of Singapore, and was in No. 4 camp, Thailand, until June, 1944, when he was transferred to Fukuoka camp, Japan.
Former representative cricketer Jim Donnelly, who enlisted with the Eighth Division, has advised a Newcastle friend, Mr James Cleary, that he is safe. Jim Donnelly, who played for Newcastle against a number of visiting teams, was a member of New Lambton Club, and then played with Stewarts and Lloyds. He said in his letter that he hopes to play with Stewarts and Lloyds this season.
Lance Bombardier Thomas C. Kellett is safe and well after having been a prisoner at Ambon for three years and a half. When he enlisted in 1940 he was on the staff of the Newcastle Electric Supply Department. He is a son of Mr and Mrs H.R. Kellett, of Merewether Street, Merewether.
Mr and Mrs Parkinson, of Toole Street, Cook's Hill, have been informed that their son, Corporal Len Parkinson, is now safe in Siam. Before enlisting he was employed by Mr Ted Thomas, butcher.
Mrs Nellie Robertson, of Cleary Street, Hamilton, has received advice that her husband, Private Allan J. Robertson, is in Singapore, safe and well. Private Robertson was taken prisoner with the full of Singapore. Before enlistment he was employed at Andrew Cook and Sons.
Mr H. Roberts, of Church Street, Newcastle, has been notified that his sons, Private Lewis Roberts and Private Albert Roberts, who were taken prisoners at the fall of Malaya, are safe in Singapore. In a cable they said they were both well.
Private Jim Stuart, of the 2/20th Battalion, has sent a cable to his parents, Mr and Mrs James Stuart, of Teralba, that he is safe in Australian hands. Taken prisoner when Singapore fell, he has been in Osaka camp, Japan.
Corporal Norman Malone has written to his wife, Mrs Edna Maloney, of North Street, Teralba, that he is safe in Singapore and fairly well, but his brother is in hospital suffering from malnutrition. Corporal Maloney is with the 2/20th Battalion, and word had not been received from him since the fall of Singapore.
DIED IN PRISON CAMPS
Mr E.G. Kennell, of Elizabeth Street, Wallsend, and formerly of Scone, has received advice that his son, Gnr. E. W. H. Kennell, who was a prisoner of war for three years and a half, died of illness at Ambon on June 12.
Gunner John Henry Kellett, son of Mr and Mrs H.R. Kellett, of Merewether Street, Merewether, died of illness at Ambon on August 3, this year, after having been a prisoner for three years and a half. Before he enlisted in 1940 he was on the staff of the Hunter District Water Board.
Mr and Mrs J.R. Smith, of Donald Street, Hamilton, have been advised that their son, Private Reg. Smith, died of illness while in Japanese hands. Pte. Smith was previously a member of Central Rugby League Reserve Grade and a member of Cook's Hill Surf Lifesaving Club. He was 26 and was employed at the Co-operative Store before enlisting.
SERVICES' MAIL LOST OVER SEA
The Postmaster-General (Senator Cameron) announced tonight that Army and RAAF mail being carried on a plane which left Darwin on Saturday had to be jettisoned because of engine trouble over the sea north of Darwin. The mail included letters sent from NSW on September 12 and 13 for RAAF personnel only.
Most of the mail was for Australian services on Morotai and Borneo, and included 700 registered articles.
Mr D. Mason, of Macquarie Street, Merewether, has received letters from his son, Gunner W.A. Mason, who has been in Changi camp, Singapore, for three years and a half. The letters which were written on September 6, 10, and 12, said he was reasonably well and should be home at any time. Gunner Mason received 83 letters, two cables and seven photographs from home while he was a prisoner.
Mr and Mrs S.D. Hewitt, of Neville Street, Mayfield, have been notified that their son, Pte. Allan John Hewitt, is safe in Singapore. In a letter to his mother he said he had worked in 1943 on the Thailand-Burma railway under appalling conditions. Pte. Hewitt was in the Army Medical Corps. He was holidaying in Brisbane when he enlisted.
Mrs F.E. O'Keefe, of Harrison Street, Maryville, has received a wire from her husband, Joe O'Keefe, stating that he has been liberated and is now at Manila. A Digger in the last war, O'Keefe was with the 2/19 Battalion at the fall of Singapore. He enlisted in 1940, before which he was employed by the BHP.
Mr and Mrs J. Cann, of Roxburgh Street, Stockton, have received a cable from their son, Sergeant R.J. Cann, who was captured at the fall of Singapore. Sergeant Cann stated that he had arrived in Rangoon from a prisoner of war camp in Siam.
Mrs W. Rigby, of Power Street, Islington, has received letters from her husband, Pte. W. Rigby. He is well, and hopes to be home soon. Private Rigby was taken prisoner at the fall of Singapore. Before enlisting he was employed by the Railway Department.
Mrs A. Dewey, of Bolton Street, Newcastle, has been advised that her husband, Sapper William Dewey, has been liberated. Mrs. Dewey received a letter from Manila this week. Pte. Dewey was in a Tokio prisoner of war camp.
Sergeant Jack O'Donnell, well known in Newcastle tennis circles, has been located in Kranji camp hospital suffering from skin trouble. A letter to this effect has been received by his parents, Mr and Mrs H. O'Donnell, of Swansea. Sergeant O'Donnell is a member of the Education Department.
Mrs G. Redding, of Mathieson Street, Carrington, has received word that her husband, Private H. (Cliff) Redding, who has been a prisoner since the fall of Singapore, has been recovered. Private Redding enlisted from Carrington. He was employed at Rylands.
RAAF SQUADRONS DISBAND
RAAF squadrons would soon be disbanded said the Minister for Air (Mr Drakeford). This was part of the programme to reduce RAAF strength for the interim period before forming Australia's peacetime air force, he added. This would consist of six squadrons, one each of Mosquitoes. Beaufighters, Spitfires and Boomerangs and two of Beauforts.
Mr and Mrs J. Henderson, of Mitchell Street, Stockton, have been notified that their son, Private R.J. Henderson, has been recovered at a camp in Sumatra, He was in the 2/20 Battalion and was employed at Lysaght's before enlisting. He was taken prisoner at Singapore.
Mr and Mrs J.T. Dial, of Earl Street, Holmesville, have been notified that their son, Corporal Henry Dial, has been released from Changi camp. Corporal Dial was captured at the fall of Singapore.
Private M.V. Anderson has sent a cable to his mother, Mrs C. Anderson, of Dunbar Street, Stockton, advising that he is safe in Allied hands. He had been in a Japanese prisoner of war camp since the fall of Singapore.
Mr and Mrs Lewis, of Birmingham Gardens, have received word that their son, Private A.W. Lewis, 2/20 Battalion, who has been a prisoner of war for three years and a half, has been recovered at Singapore. In a letter to his mother, he said he was well.
LETTER GOT THROUGH
Among the messages received from liberated members of the Eighth Division this week were special greetings for a seven year old Hamilton girl, Kay Ashton. The greetings were from her uncle, Gunner J. Collins, of Weston, who was captured in Malaya. With them, came the climax to a story which began in 1943.
Mrs Collins was writing a letter to her husband when Kay, then five years old, asked for a pencil and paper so that she could write to him, too. Her request was granted. When she had finished the note, she placed it carefully in an addressed envelope. Then she slipped out of the house, and posted the letter - unsealed, and without a stamp.
It was delivered to Gunner Collins in a Japanese prison camp, and was the only letter he received between the fall of Singapore and the time of his liberation.
NEWS OF FREED MEN
Mr and Mrs H.Wilson, of Teralba Road, Broadmeadow, have been notified that their son, Sapper C.H. Wilson, has been recovered in Manila. He has been a prisoner of war for three and a half years, and was on active service in Libya and Syria before being captured at Java.
Mrs L. Boyce, of Main Road, Belmont, has received a telegram from her son. Private C. Boyce, saying he was safe, and hoped to be home soon. Private Boyce has been a prisoner since the fall of Singapore. He was held in Kranji camp.
Mrs D. MacLaren, of Carrington Street, West Wallsend, has been notified that her husband, Lance-Corporal D. MacLaren, is safe and in good health in Singapore. Corporal MacLaren was employed at the Mental Hospital, Morisset, before he enlisted in 1940.
AMONG LAST PRISONERS
Included in the last party of Australian prisoners of war to leave Korea were Sergeant J. Cattell, of Merewether, and Corporal M. J. McLean, of West Maitland.
EXPECTED HOME SOON
Mrs N. Shelly, of Lonus Avenue, Whitebridge, has received a cable from her son, Private G.T. Shelly, saying that he was well and would be home soon. Pte. Shelly was taken prisoner in Malaya and spent three and a half years in Japanese hands. His first camp was in Thailand. Four months ago he was transferred to Zentsuji camp in Japan. Mrs. Shelly received six cards from her son while he was a prisoner. Before he enlisted Pte. Shelly was employed at Burwood Colliery.
Word has been received that Pte. R.C. Abraham and Pte. S. J. Abraham, previously reported prisoners of war, are now safe. They are the sons of Mrs M. Abraham and the late Mr S. Abraham, of Westcourt Road New Lambton. Both have been in Osaka camp since the fall of Singapore.
Mrs C. Porter, of Young Street, Carrington, has received word from her sons, Private E.S. Porter and Private S.W. Porter, who were captured at the fall of Singapore. Both men said they were well and hoped to be home soon.
Mr John Wood, of Rose Street, Merewether, has received word that his son, Private Robert Wood, has been liberated from a prisoner of war camp in Singapore. Before he enlisted, Private Wood worked as a bread carter for an Adamstown bakery.
Mrs W.H. Shearman, of Crebert Street, Mayfield East, has been advised that her husband, Sapper Wallace Harold Shearman, 2/12 Field Company, AIF, who was taken prisoner when Singapore fell in 1942, has been liberated. As a prisoner, Sapper Shearman worked on the Burma-Thailand railway, and was later transferred to Fukuoka camp, in Japan.
Warrant Officer Arthur Jack Hunter, Lambton; Sapper James Francis MacDougall, Mayfield; Flying Officer Arthur Gordon Goodwin, Kurri Kurri.