AWM 041107, A Japanese soldier stands on guard near the entrance to the prisoner of war camp at Thanbyuzayat, Burma, in late 1942 or 1943. (Tim Bowden, Changi Photographer, 1984). Several of the nurses joined the voice orchestra conducted by the English woman Norah Chambers, or sang in the choir that performed original material composed by the missionary Margaret Dryburgh. Lieutenant-Colonel FG 'Black Jack' Galleghan even drilled his 2/30th Battalion in the hope that they would be ready to assist the returning Allies and to instil in them that were still soldiers. 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. Hundreds of Australian civilians were also interned. Fearful that disease might break out, the senior officers decided that all should sign. 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. The Japanese had a large army in Burma, they thought it was essential to hold Burma to protect Singapore from counter attack, and both politically and militarily Burma was the base for any advance into India. (AWM P01180.001), RAAF Flying Officer Gerrard Alderton, soon after his release into the 'Bicycle Camp', Batavia, Netherlands East Indies, in June 1942. Changi, on the north-east of Singapore Island, was the largest prisoner of war camp. The revelations of the soldiers, and 24 surviving nursing sisters, also prisoners of war, are now part of Australian history. His words and illustrations appeared in his trilogy: Out of the Smoke (1960), Into the Smother (1963) and The Sword and the Blossom (1968). The Queen, carrying 5759 troops of the 8th Division, turned north and with one escorting cruiser ran at speed to Singapore. Of the dispersed Australian troops, Lark Force on Rabaul was the first to be attacked on 23 January. At first the work was not excessive, but as they moved south, the country became more difficult, supplies decreased, the hours of work lengthened and the speed increased. In April 1943 750 British prisoners arrived at Sandakan, and the Australians through their outside contacts learnt that another 500 Australians of 'E' Force had landed on the small island of Berhala, just off Sandakan. The men on Ambon always looked upon Allied aircraft with hope and fear. In Java, the Australians from Timor entered a major camp with senior Dutch and English officers in charge, but most were there for just three months before they were again on the move to the Burma–Thailand railway, many of them leaving with Dunlop's party and going to Thailand. Compared with most Dutch, British and Eurasian internees, the nurses were disadvantaged. AWM 116149, Aided by friendly natives following their escape from the Japanese prison camp at Ranau, having survived the Sandakan death march, Private Nelson Short, Warrant Officer William Sticpewich and Private Keith Botterill were flown out to the Labuan airstrip by RAAF Auster pilots on 20 September 1945. More than 8000 prisoners of war and many hundreds of civilian internees had died. Eleven disappeared, presumably executed. Murray Griffin, as he was known, had been born in Melbourne in 1903 and worked as a commercial artist and teacher. They also began contacting former members of the British North Borneo administration and local police who had served the British. At the end of the first fortnight, Arneil wrote in his diary that there had already been forty-seven deaths in his camp; the next day he noted another four, and the following, 1 June 1943, he wrote, 'Twelve deaths in the last 24 hours'. As on the Burma end, the first work sites and the quotas of earth to be moved could be managed by the fit. Held elsewhere in Rabaul were four civilians who had not been sent on the Montevideo Maru, one New Zealand pilot, one United States and one Dutch soldier, and eighteen British artillery men, the sad remnant of 600 British prisoners captured in Singapore and shipped to Melanesia as labourers. A Japanese float-plane strafed and bombed the Patricia Cam, sinking it. Department of Veterans' Affairs, Sharing Australia's military and service history through the experiences of our veterans, The funeral of a prisoner of war who died during the construction of the Burma-Thailand railway, c1943. The eighty Australians who were saved by the returning submarines were in Australia well before the end of 1944. Your generous donation will be used to ensure the memory of our Defence Forces and what they have done for us, and what they continue to do for our freedom remains – today and into the future. So too were women of the Australian Army Nursing Service who were sunk near Sumatra while trying to escape from Singapore in February 1942. With the Japanese crowding between twenty-five and thirty men into each cattle or goods wagon, about 600 prisoners packed each train, but it still took over ten trains to carry the largest forces. Pilot Officer Maxwell Gilbert, flying out of Tarakan on 7 July 1945, baled out of his Kittyhawk, was captured, and is thought to have died on 24 July, aged twenty, just three weeks before the end of the war. In June 1943, Allied aircraft bombed and strafed the camp, killing nineteen prisoners and injuring thirty others. As elsewhere, the men were fed too little and compelled to work too hard. Dunlop wrote in his diary, 'I can't help feeling disgust at all the well-shod and clothed people here when contrasted with our ragged mob'. The Australian Military Forces World War Two Missing and Prisoners of War records provide information on the fate of servicemen in the Second World War. There they were paraded through town—what the men called a 'gloat parade'—and were installed in houses previously occupied by Dutch families. By the end of the war the men of Sparrow Force were widely dispersed. Within Changi, men could go for days without seeing a Japanese. Australians continued to be captured, but in small numbers. Already hopes of repatriation had faded, and they disappeared as the ships went north to Burma. There were also increasing signs that an Allied invasion might soon take place. That increased the logistic problems, because all food for workers had to be transported long distances by difficult river and road routes. Many thought they would not have survived another winter. 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. In Port Moresby there were another 3000 men and through the arc of New Guinea's outer islands of Bougainville, New Ireland and Manus were a few hundred men from the 1st Independent Company. After much shoving, shouting and slapping the men found themselves crouching on temporary decks with head room of about 1.2 metres. Within a year, over 15,000 Australians were on the move. The first of the men escaping from New Britain were interviewed in Port Moresby, and within a few days the scarred survivors were in Australia being photographed and interviewed: Driver Wilkie Collins told how he had 'seen his mates bayoneted before his eyes', and how some had not been killed outright and the Japanese had to go back into the jungle and 'finish off the wounded with rifle fire'. Soon after they arrived in Japan, the officers and the nurses from Rabaul were housed separately in the Yokohama Yacht Club. Both Parkin and Chalker were at risk of severe punishment had they been caught with their words and images of conditions on the railway (Jack Chalker, Burma Railway Artist, 1994). On 30 August it was announced that there might be 17,500 Australian prisoners of war coming home. Every night was spent in the open, and the wet season had begun. Accused of trading for food outside the camp, men were battered and tortured. On the Western Front battlefields from 1916-1918, 3,853 Australian troops were taken prisoner by German forces, most of them held in Germany. Their involvement has strengthened the celebrated Anzac legend in Australian culture. The Konyu Cutting cost the lives of at least 700 Allied prisoners of war. That farewell at sea, seen by 12,000 Australians, was a significant moment in Australian history: for the first time, Australia made a substantial commitment of forces to its near north. The bands of the 2/18th, 2/19th and 2/20th Battalions played on the deck of the Queen, soldiers and nurses on all the ships sang, waved, cooeed and cheered: 'It was a great sight'. Frank Christie noted in his diary on 26 April a 'test' match: 'we play English, win, Chums 125 we 7-184, Barnett 58'. The artists have partly compensated for the lack of photographs of the prisoners of war. Ken Harrison lasted over a month in the jungle before he realised that with the bullet wound in his ankle he was becoming a burden to his three companions. The men in the background wearing crossed white webbing are members of the Royal Papuan Constabulary band. The stress on relatives of prisoners of war and the long term impact on the prisoners is central to: Michael McKernan, This War Never Ends: The pain of separation and return (2001); Carolyn Newman, ed, Legacies of our Fathers: World War II prisoners of the Japanese – their sons and daughters tell their stories (2005); and Margaret Reeson, A Very Long War: The families who waited (2000). Pages in category "Australian prisoners of war" The following 108 pages are in this category, out of 108 total. Tragically, over a thousand died when Allied submarines torpedoed the unmarked ships carrying prisoners around Japan’s wartime empire. 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. In the long term, it was the Japanese demand for labour that took most Australian prisoners from the concerts, clubs and classrooms of Changi. The Australians, then pushed back into a tight perimeter near Singapore city, remember the sudden silence when the guns ceased fire, and their own incredulity. AWM ART91810, Australian prisoners of war carry sleepers along the line, approximately 40 km south of Thanbyuzayat, Burma, circa 1943. The last units and re-enforcements to arrive on Singapore had gone into a battle already lost. One of those diverted to Java in 1942, he was captured, survived working in Burma on the railway, came down into Thailand, and after recovering some of his health was sent to repair bomb-damaged rail lines. 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