Mrs E.King, of Main Road, Cardiff, has received word that her husband, Gunner Robert Arthur King, 2/15th Battalion, died on May 12, 1945, while a prisoner of war at Sandakan. Gunner King, who leaves four children, was 40 years of age. Before his enlistment he was employed by the Lake Macquarie Shire Council.
Medical and force records recovered from the grave of an Australian soldier who was buried in Retpu cemetery, Burma, are among the valuable records in possession of Lieutenant-Colonel T. Hamilton, of Newcastle.
A prisoner of war in Japanese hands since the fall of Singapore, Dr Hamilton returned to Newcastle on Wednesday. He said Australian prisoners were determined to obtain all medical and force records possible, and kept notes containing that information.
He added that it was a colossal task to keep them from falling into the hands of the Japanese. Men and officers resorted to all sorts of schemes to hide the notes. They were secreted in the roofs of huts and in other places until they became too bulky, then tinsmiths among the men soldered them into tins and buried them - often in the graves of comrades.
Dr Hamilton's records were in Retpu cemetery, 60 miles south of Nouemein. A brother officer who unearthed them and sent them to him located two Japanese war criminals while on the job.
"From a medical point of view and for military purposes we consider these documents to be invaluable," Dr Hamilton said.
Among the documents was an address to war prisoners in the Thai camp, Thanbyuzayat, by the commander (Lieut.-Col. Y. Nagatomo). It was dated September 15, 1942.
"I shall strictly manage all of you," one paragraph read. "I shall manage you. Going out, coming back, meeting with friends, communications, possessions of money, etc., of course shall be limited. Living manners, deportment, salutation and attitude shall be strict and according to the rules of the Nippon Army because it is only possible to manage you all, who are merely rabbles, by order of military regulations."
Referring to the Thailand-Burma railway, the commandant said: "You shall have the honour to join in this great work. I shall check and investigate carefully about your non-attendance so all of you, except those who are really unable to work shall be taken out for labour.
"You are all only a few remaining skeletons after the invasion of East Asia for the past few centuries and are pitiful victims.
"Hereafter I shall require all of you to work, as nobody is permitted to do nothing and eat as at present."
One entry in the doctor's diary, dated September 12, 1942, told a brief story of nurses who were killed on Radji beach, Banka Island.
Dr Hamilton, who has been regaining weight since his arrival in Australia and is looking remarkably well, said the fortitude and courage of the AIF while captives was a great help and inspiration to medical people.
An Australian flag which flew over a prisoner of war camp in Burma and was sent home by Lieut.-Colonel T. Hamilton, will be dedicated in St. Philip's Presbyterian Church on Sunday. Repairs to be seen in the flag were the work of some of the nurses who were murdered on Radji Beach, Banka Island, on February 21, 1942.
Mr and Mrs T.Gentle, of Crescent Road, Waratah, have been advised that their sons, Privates D.J. Gentle and T.R. Gentle, died in Japanese prison camps.
Private D J. Gentle, who lived at Glennies Creek before the war, is reported to have died in Japan, on November 30, 1943. Private T.R. Gentle, who was employed by the Hunter District Water Board and later the Railway Department before he enlisted, is reported to have died in Borneo, on June 1, 1945.
Gunner Jack Richardson, second son of Mr and Mrs John L. Richardson, of Beaumont Street, Hamilton, was reported to have died on June 4 1945, in Sandakan, Borneo.
He was in the 2/15th Field Artillery and was taken prisoner at Singapore. Before enlisting he was employed at McIntyre's flour mills Hamilton.
Mr and Mrs Arthur Goodwin, of 71 Maitland Street, Kurri Kurri, have not received any further news of their only son, Flying Officer Arthur Gordon Goodwin, who was reported missing near Morotai on September 21. Flying Officer Goodwin was mentioned in dispatches.
Mrs A.M. Hartcher, 29 Raymond Terrace Road, East Maitland, wishes to hear from anyone who can give information about Gunner Frederick Charles Francis, BHQ, 29 Battery, 2/15 Field Regiment, who was last heard of at the fall of Singapore. He is believed to have been a prisoner of war at Sandakan, Borneo.
Only 335 members of the Eighth Division, captured in Singapore, have not yet been accounted for out of the 17,841 personnel involved in the surrender. A total of 3810 are known to have died, including 10 whose deaths occurred after their liberation.
These figures, released by the Army, covered the period to November 7.
Areas in which the Australians served or were imprisoned are still being searched by special recovery parties. No man will be presumed dead until officials are fully satisfied of the fact.
Sister V. Clancy, of Adelaide, who escaped the Japanese massacre of Australian nurses at Radji Beach, Banka Island, at the close of the Malayan campaign, was present at St. Philip's Presbyterian Church, Newcastle, on Sunday when an Australian flag was dedicated to the memory of the nurses by Rev. A. R. McVittie.
The flag had been flown over the 2/4th Casualty Clearing Station in Malaya, and was presented to the Church by Lieut.-Colonel T. Hamilton, of Newcastle, who commanded the station.
Lieut.-Colonel Hamilton said it had been obtained, despite a great shortage of Australian flags at the time, by one of the nurses. He believed it had been given by an Australian tin mining engineer at Kuala Lumpur.
When the flag became tattered, it was repaired by nurses. Later it was replaced by the Blue Ensign, and Lieut.-Colonel Hamilton sent it to Australia for safe keeping.
Sister Clancy was with other nurses of the 2/4th C.C.S., and 10th and 13th Australian General Hospitals who were ordered to leave Singapore for Batavia aboard the ship Vyner Brooke two days before the fall of the city. They sailed on Friday, the 13th. The ship was bombed and machine-gunned by Japanese planes and sank later. Many of the nurses escaped on rafts. Sister Clancy, who could swim, gave up her boat station to one of her companions. She landed on Radji Beach, but not at the point where Japanese troops forced other survivors to line up and march back into the water. As they waded into the sea, the Japanese opened fire and massacred them.
With 60 others, Sister Clancy was sent to a prison camp in Sumatra. Only 32 of the party came out alive.
The flag will drape the pulpit at St. Philip's until a memorial, of which it will form a part, has been erected in the church in memory of those who lost their lives in the war.
At the dedication service, Mr. McVittie said it would always be revered as a token of remembrance of those who had given their lives in the cause of righteousness and freedom.
"There is evidence in Australia today of a spirit which is in strange contrast to the spirit of such as those in whose memory this flag has been dedicated," said Mr. McVittie. "It would appear that, though Australia has played a part in winning the war, she is in danger of losing the peace through lack of national character."
"There is evidence in Australia today of anarchy and disruption which is anything but Australian in origin and which cannot but mean disaster in the future. It seems that Australia, after having been saved from the enemy without, is in grave danger from the enemy within. It behoves every Australian to see that the forces of disruption are not allowed to imperil the national safety of Australia."
The total number of Australian soldiers still unaccounted for in all parts of the South-west Pacific area is 487. The amended figures released by the Department of the Army give the total of 8th Division men still missing as 340, and not 335 as stated earlier.
Figures for other areas are - Java 23, Ambon 13, Timor 107, and New Britain and New Ireland 4.
Total reported prisoners of war and now reported to have died, covering all areas, is 3708.
The Commonwealth quarantine authorities have announced that no animal or bird taken overseas for the war services will be allowed to return to Australia.
It is believed the authorities were influenced by reports of the danger of introducing rabies and other infectious diseases.
The Secretary of the RSPCA (Mr W.F. Painter) said: "We will fight the decision even if it means an Australian-wide campaign. It means many valuable dogs, horses and other animals are doomed to death or exile despite their outstanding service to Australia."
Mrs E.A. Asquith, of Ne!sons Bay, has been officially notified that her son, Pte. C. Archard, died on July 14, in Borneo. Before enlistment he was a fisherman at Nelsons Bay.
Mrs M. Pallister, of 53 Dixon Street, Lambton, has been notified that her husband, Private Robert Pallister, of the 2/10th Field Ambulance, died of illness in Sandakan camp, Borneo, on January 5, 1945. Pte. Pallister enlisted in June, 1940, and was taken prisoner at Singapore. Before enlisting he was employed as attendant at Morisset Mental Hospital.
News has been received by his parents that George B. Coote, of Merewether, died of illness in 1943 while a prisoner of war in Singapore.
Mr and Mrs C. Cheshire, of 90 Broadmeadow Road, Broadmeadow, are anxious for news from returned soldiers of their son, Signalman W. J. Cheshire, 2/20 Battalion, last heard of in Java, 1942, after escaping from Singapore. Signalman Cheshire was employed at Lysaght's before enlisting.
British and Australian officers have discovered six men who are the only known survivors of 1800 Allied war prisoners now known to have been murdered by the Japanese in Borneo, says the Singapore correspondent of the Daily Mail.
The correspondent adds that it is the blackest atrocity of the war in the Far East. One party of Allied war prisoners was massacred only two months after capitulation.
The men were all killed in a series of "forced marches" through the jungles and mountains of central Borneo. They were driven under the lash and at the point of the bayonet. Japanese guards shot, bayoneted, or beat them to death when they could not carry on, and left their bodies in the jungle. Every one of the Japanese involved are now in British hands in Borneo awaiting trial.
The motor ship Cheshire has arrived at Fremantle from Singapore and Balikpapan with 1000 members of the AIF from Borneo for demobilisation. Included in the passengers were some Australian serving personnel recovered from prisoner of war camps In Singapore, duty personnel of the 3/14th Australian General Hospital from Singapore, and duty personnel of the Second Australian prisoner of war reception group, also from Singapore.
This is the 35th and final weekly The Hunter Remembers WWII articles to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of the WWII in 1945. Thanks to the University of Newcastle's Special Collections for the wonderful images and The Newcastle Herald - David Dial
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