The sinking of the Vyner Brooke

Built in 1928, the SS Vyner Brooke was a British-registered cargo vessel of 1,670 tons. She was named after the Third Rajah of Sarawak - Sir Charles Vyner Brooke.

Up until the outbreak of war with the Japanese, Vyner Brooke plied the waters between Singapore and Kuching, under the flag of the Sarawak Steamship Company. She was then requisitioned by Britain's Royal Navy as an armed trader.

On the evening of 12 February 1942, Vyner Brooke was one the last ships carrying evacuees to leave Singapore. Although she usually only carried 12 passengers, in addition to her 47 crew, Vyner Brooke sailed south with 181 passengers embarked, most of them women and children. Among the passengers were the last 65 Australian nurses in Singapore. Throughout the daylight hours of 13 February Vyner Brooke laid up in the lee of a small jungle-covered island, but she was attacked late in the afternoon by a Japanese aircraft, fortunately with no serious casualties. At sunset she made a run for the Banka Strait, heading for Palembang in Sumatra. Prowling Japanese warships, however, impeded her progress and daylight the next day found her dangerously exposed on a flat sea just inside the strait.

Not long after 2:00pm, Vyner Brooke was attacked by several Japanese aircraft. Despite evasive action, she was crippled by several bombs and within half an hour rolled over and sunk bow first. Approximately 150 survivors eventually made it ashore at Banka Island, after periods of between eight and 65 hours in the water. The island had already been occupied by the Japanese and most of the survivors were taken captive.

However, an awful fate awaited many of those that landed on Radji beach. There, survivors from the Vyner Brooke joined up with another party of civilians and up to 60 Commonwealth servicemen and merchant sailors, who had made it ashore after their own vessels were sunk. After an unsuccessful effort to gain food and assistance from local villagers, a deputation was sent to contact the Japanese, with the aim of having the group taken prisoner. Anticipating this, all but one of the civilian women followed behind. A party of Japanese troops arrived at Radji Beach a few hours later. They shot and bayoneted the males and then forced the 22 Australian nurses and the one British civilian woman who had remained to wade into the sea, then shot them from behind.

There were only two survivors - Sister Vivian Bullwinkel, and Private Cecil Kinsley, a British soldier. After hiding in the jungle for several days the pair eventually gave themselves up to the Japanese. Kinsley died a few days later from his wounds, and Bullwinkel spent the rest of the war as an internee. Of the 65 Australian nurses embarked upon the Vyner Brooke, 12 were killed during the air attack or drowned following the sinking, 21 were murdered on Radji Beach, and 32 became internees, 8 of whom subsequently died before the end of the war.

The stories of the Vyner Brooke and Vivian Bullwinkle are completely inter-connected. Lieutenant-Colonel Vivian Bullwinkel (Mrs Statham) AO MBE ARRC ED FNM, 18.12.1915 – 3.7.2000, the sole survivor of the Bangka Island Massacre Vivian Bullwinkel was born on 18 December 1915 in Kapunda, South Australia, to George Francis and Eva Bullwinkel (née Shegog). She had a brother, John. She trained as a nurse and midwife at Broken Hill, New South Wales, and began her nursing career in Hamilton, Victoria, before moving to the Jessie McPherson Hospital in Melbourne. In 1941, wanting to enlist, Bullwinkel volunteered as a nurse with the Royal Australian Air Force but was rejected for having flat feet. She was, however, able to join the Australian Army Nursing Service; assigned to the 2/13th Australian General Hospital (2/13th AGH), in September 1941 she sailed for Singapore. After a few weeks with the 2/10th AGH, Bullwinkel re-joined the 13th AGH in Johor Baharu. Japanese troops invaded Malaya in December 1941 and began to advance southwards, winning a series of victories. By late January 1942 they were advancing through Johore and the 13th AGH was to evacuate to Singapore.

A short-lived defence of the island ended in defeat, and, on 12 February, Bullwinkel and 65 other nurses boarded the SS Vyner Brooke to escape. Two days later, the ship was sunk by Japanese aircraft. Bullwinkel, 21 other nurses and a large group of men, women, and children made it ashore at Radji Beach on Banka Island. Others on board either went down with the ship or were swept away and never seen again. The group were joined the next day by others making a total of about 100 including about twenty English soldiers from another ship sunk earlier. They elected to surrender to the Japanese.

An officer from the Vyner Brooke walked to Muntok, a town on the north-west of the island, to contact the Japanese. While he was away Matron Irene Drummond, the most senior of the Australian nurses, suggested that the civilian women and children should start off walking towards Muntok. In an action that later became known as the Banka Island Massacre, Japanese soldiers came and killed the men, then motioned the nurses to wade into the sea. They then machine-gunned the nurses from behind. Bullwinkel was struck by a bullet which passed completely through her body, missing her internal organs, and feigned death until the Japanese soldiers left. She hid with British Army Private Cecil George Kingsley of the Royal Army Ordnance Corps for 12 days, tending to his severe wounds, only then realising the extent of her own wound, before being captured. They were taken into captivity, but Private Kingsley died soon after due to his having sustained such serious wounds, including a gunshot wound in his abdomen. Bullwinkel was reunited with survivors of the Vyner Brooke. She told them of the massacre, but none spoke of it again until after the war lest it put Bullwinkel, as witness to the massacre, in danger.

Bullwinkel spent three and half years in captivity. Another surviving nurse, Pat Darling died in 2007. Vivian retired from the army in 1947 and became Director of Nursing at the Fairfield Infectious Diseases Hospital. Also in 1947 she gave evidence of the massacre at a war crimes trial in Tokyo. She devoted herself to the nursing profession and to honouring those killed on Banka Island, raising funds for a nurses' memorial and serving on numerous committees, including a period as a member of the Council of the Australian War Memorial, and later President of the Australian College of Nursing. Bullwinkel married Colonel Francis West Statham in September 1977, changing her name to Vivian Statham. She returned to Bangka Island in 1992 to unveil a shrine to the nurses who had not survived the war. She died of a heart attack on 3 July 2000, aged 84, in Perth, Western Australia.

Australian Ex POWs return to Japan Over the years, the memories of the Burma Thailand Railway fade away with the passing of the survivors of the Railway. As part of the experience of coming to terms with the horrors of the Railway experience, a number of survivors returned over the years. The following is a description of one such visit.

Five Australian ex POWs and their family members (a total of ten people) visited Japan from 1st to 9th March 2011 at the invitation of the Japanese Government as part of the project "The Japanese/POW Friendship Programme". Few young Japanese know that Japan fought against Australia during the Second World War and fewer still knew of the atrocities which occurred.

About 22,000 Australians became prisoners of war (POWs) under the Japanese army after the invasion of the Far East. Most of the POWs were sent to Japan and Southeast Asia and the latter included Thailand, particularly the Thai-Burma railway, so called the "Death Railway". About 8,000 of them died of the harsh labour, starvation and diseases. The death rate was as high as 36 per cent. The total number of Australian deaths in WW2 was about 19,000. The fact that 40 per cent of them died as POWs under the Japanese army has put a dark shadow on Australian national history. Many survivors suffered from the scars on their bodies and hearts, and anti-Japanese feelings arose from time to time. With this historical background, the Japanese government invited personnel related to the Australian army to return to Japan. During a one-week stay by the ex-POWs, a sincere apology by the then Foreign minister, Maehara, was a highlight. There were assemblies in Kyoto and Tokyo and escorted trips to internment camp sites. All ex POWs were warmly welcomed in each region. Two days after the group left Japan (saying "It was a very fruitful trip"), an earthquake hit Japan.

Visiting members of the party were: Mr. Harold Ramsey, born 1921 (89 years old at the time) of Victoria. Joined the Australian army at the age of 18. Involved in the action in the Middle East. Before being sent to Java, captured by the Japanese army and was interned in Changi. Forced to work at the Burma-Thai Railway. On his way to Japan on the “Hell Ship” Rakuyo Maru, his ship was torpedoed by a US submarine and sunk in the South China Sea on 12 September, 1944. Rescued by a Japanese ship, he was interned in the Tokyo No.11 dispatched camp (later No.14 Branch camp, in Tsurumi ward, Yokohama city). Forced to work at Toshiba Tsurumi factory. After the camp was destroyed by American air bombing on 15 April, 1945, he was transferred to the Tokyo No.15 Branch camp in Niigata and worked at Niigata iron factory. Accompanied on the trip by Mr. Stephen Ramsey (son).

Mr. Norman E. Anderton, born 1921 (89 years old at the time) of Queensland. Signalman of 8th Battalion. Injured before the fall of Singapore on 13 February 1942 and became a POW at the hospital. Was forced to work at the Thai- Burma railway. The war came to the end while he was in Tambaya hospital camp in Burma (Myanmar). Accompanied by Ms Nichole (Nikki) Wood (niece).

Mr. Alfred John Simmonds (Jack), born 1922 (88 years old at the time) of Queensland. Became a POW in Singapore, interned in Changi POW camp and transferred from Singapore to Moji, Japan, on the Kyokko Maru in May 1943. Interned in the Osaka No.10 Branch camp (Taisho Branch in Shinchitose-machi, Taisho ward, Osaka city) and forced to work at the Osaka iron factory Transferred to the Osaka No.7 Branch camp (2 Kitago, Takefu city, Fukui) in May 1945 and forced to work for Shin-Etsu Chemical in Takefu. He had earlier visited Japan in 2004 with Australian ex- POWs, Mr. Neil MacPherson and Mr.Jack Boon courtesy of the Japan-Australia Society of Nara and visited the Commonwealth War Cemetery in Yokohama. Accompanied by Ms. Dawn June Steindl (partner). Dr. Charles Rowland Bromley Richards, born in 1916 (94 years old at the time) of New South Wales. Became a POW in Singapore, was sent to the Thai-Burma railway and instrumental in saving the lives of fellow POWs as a medical officer. Sent in Saigon and on the way to Japan on the Rakuyo Maru the ship was torpedoed by a US submarine and sunk. He was rescued by a Japanese naval frigate, interned in the Sendai No.9 Branch camp (Sakata city, Yamagata) forced to work at Sakata branch of Nippon Express. Accompanied by Dr. David Alexander Bromley Richards (the eldest son), Ms. Patricia Margaret Reed (partner), Ms. Maria Clare Richards (the wife of the eldest son). Ms. Lois Yvonne Richards (the wife of the second son). Published "A Doctor's War". Previously visited Japan in 1959 and had a reunion with two civilians who were kind to him in Sakata. Rowley had made a speech at a seminar held at th Australian National University in Canberra under the auspices of the University in 2006.

Mr. GF (Fred) Brett, born in 1925 (85 years old at the time) of Tasmania. Captured in Timor in 1942, interned in Changi POW camp and forced to work on the Thai-Burma railway. He was later transferred to Fukuoka No.13 camp (in Saganoseki, Oita) in September 1944, after a two-month journey on the Rashin Maru, the so called Byoki Maru (sick ship). He was forced to work at the Saganoseki refinery at Nihon Kogyo and later at the No.8 camp (later called No.5 Branch camp) in Kawasaki, Fukuoka. He was forced to work in the coal pit of Omine mine of Furukawa Kogyo. He was accompanied by Mr. Robert Bennett (registered nurse).

VALE Sergeant John Roy (Jack) Thorpe

VALE - Sergeant John Roy (Jack) Thorpe

WX10477 105 Australian Transport Company and British Commonwealth Occupation Force Enlisted 20/12/1940 and Discharged 17/9/1947

Jack Thorpe was born at Claremont WA on 9/11/1921 and died at Ellenvale, Busselton on 30/8/2016. Jack’s funeral took place at Busselton Funeral Centre on 7/9/2016. Jack was the eldest of four children and due to circumstances he played a large part in watching out for his younger siblings. He left school at fourteen years of age to work as an apprentice mechanic in his father’s bus service. After two years the apprenticeship was interrupted and he obtained a job as a “bowser boy” at a garage in North Fremantle. His father later arranged for him to recommence his apprenticeship as the bus service was sold to the Metro Bus Company and they needed an apprentice.

After the outbreak of World War Two, Jack wanted to enlist immediately with his mates Ron Gwynne and Gordon Page. There was a complication because of age and he put his age up by three years. He finally enlisted on 20th December 1940 and joined the Second Recruit Training Depot at Northam. He then volunteered for Mechanical Support Unit and after training at Puckapunyal in Victoria he left for the Middle East on 18th September 1941.

His unit travelled via Port Tufic to the Suez Canal and El-Kantara and then across the Sinai and on to Barbera. He then joined the 1st Australian Troop Carrying Column attached to the 7th Australian Division as part of the 105 General Transport Company. At Port Tufic, Jack joined the troopship Orcades which sailed on the 29th January 1942 en route to the Dutch East Indies where he became a Prisoner of War. After several months in Batavia he joined other Australians on a ship for Singapore and Changi Prisoner of War Camp and later on, a ship heading for Burma. He was part of A Force. Jack’s group commenced work on the Railway at the third camp, Kunknitway (the 25 Kilo Camp). He was later at the 105 Kilo, 75 Kilo and 55 kilo camps on the Burma end of the Burma Thailand Railway.

A feature of Jack’s POW experience occurred whilst in the 55 Camp. Jack met Basil Clark of the 2/4 Machine Gun Battalion from Cadoux who he had known previously. Basil had a bad ulcer on his leg. The bottom half of the leg below the knee was 75% eaten away with gangrene. Jack was talking to Basil when the Medical Officer (Lieutenant Colonel Albert Coates later Sir Albert Coates) said, “That leg will have to come off, Clark. If we leave it on you have got no chance, let me take it off and you have got better than 50% of getting home”. Basil said, “I’ll have it off”. The operation was done next morning when two orderlies arrived with the stretcher consisting of bamboo poles with two rice bags stretched over the two long poles. The operating theatre was nothing more than a lean to at the end of the hut, with a dirt floor. There was a 44-gallon drum outside with a fire blazing to burn the amputated limb. The Colonel explained that the anaesthetic would only last a few minutes and proceeded with the operation, Jack Thorpe holding the patient. One of Colonel Albert Coates’ students was Weary Dunlop. (Note: Basil Clark survived on returning to Three Springs and built a successful farming venture).

When the two ends of the Railway joined on the Thailand side of the border at Konkoita, Jack’s unit travelled by train to Tamarkan. Later the group went to Saigon and later still back to Singapore. On Christmas Eve 1944, Jack left Singapore on the Awa Maru to go to Japan where he was lodged at Camp 22 Iisuka and working in underground coal mines.

In August 1945 he was freed after the Japanese capitulation. Jack travelled home to Australia via Manila, the last leg in the HMS Speaker, an aircraft carrier, which called at Guam and New Guinea en route to Sydney. He finally reached Perth. Jack went on to transfer to the British Commonwealth Occupation Force in Japan. When he returned to Australia on an annual leave period he decided to take over his father’s hotel at Three Springs and was given a discharge from the BCOF. Post war, Jack was the President of the Three Springs Arrino RSL in WA for about 40 years and was awarded the OAM in 2002.

Over a period of 15 years he raised over $50,000 to assist with sending many young people (aged 14-16 years) from his District to the Burma Thailand Railway on Quiet Lion Tours.

Jack Thorpe was a bloody lucky man by his own statement. Surviving life as a POW on the Burma-Thai Railway, Jack lived a full life as a community leader in Three Springs. In 2006 he wrote a book on his life story called 'Bloody Lucky'.

VALE – Eric Herman Rosenberg Roediger

VALE - Eric Herman Rosenberg Roediger WX10710, 24.04.1910 – 25.09.2016'

At 106 when he died, Eric was one of the oldest soldiers surviving from World War 2.

Eric was born in South Australia and the family moved to WA in 1924 taking up a farm near Northam-Goomalling. After his father set up a butchering business in 1933, Eric decided to start his own milk round in Northam with a horse and cart. He later tried goldmining before going into share farming in Dowerin. In 1941 Eric joined the Army and was shipped to the Middle East. His brother Claude followed later and they wer allocated to the 2/3 Machine Gun Battalion. After service in the Middle East the Battalion were transported on the RMS Orcades, ostensibly to return to defend Australia after the Japanese entered the war. However, orders were changed and and they disembarked in Java without their machine guns and equipment. They were given old Dutch rifles and only a few rounds of ammunition and it was not long before they were forced to surrender to the Japanese when the Dutch capitulated.

Eric and his brother Claude were POWs in Java and Thailand together. Eric cared for his brother when he became gravely ill and under the care of Sir Edward “Weary” Dunlop. After completing the railway, the Japanese shipped the fittest POW’s on the “Hell-ship” ship Byoki Maru to Japan where Eric and Claude worked in coal mine at Ohama.

On returning from the war Eric bought a farm south of Cunderdin with another brother, Keith, and they ran a wheat and sheep property with Eric retiring at age 70. Faith was a major part of Eric’s life from an early age and he believed it to be a major factor in his survival as a POW.Both Eric and his brother Claude were Church of Christ elders for many years. Eric always attended the memorial services to represent his battalion.

He did not find his war experience as a defining part of life. To him his family came first, he was a devout Christian, and his great love was farming. These three segments of his life kept him mentally strong and tough as a POW.

A very large group attended the funeral at Fremantle Cemetery on 7th October 2016. The Burma Thailand Railway Memorial Association reveres the memory of Eric Roediger and our condolence and thoughts are with the family.

VALE – Milton (Snow) Thomas Fairclough

Milton (Snow) Thomas Fairclough OAM 28.08.1920 – 01.10.2016, died aged 96 years at Murdoch Hospital.

His funeral service was held at Karrakatta on 10.10.2016.

Snow was born at Perth on 28 August 1920, grew up on a farm in Moora and he was a “jack of all trades” working in rural areas of Western Australia prior to World War Two.

He was with a group of country boys who were members of the Militia in the 10th Light Horse and enlisted in the AIF on June 19, 1940, joining the 2/3rd Machine Gun Battalion which was mainly raised in Western Australian. In 1940 the battalion sailed from Fremantle on the Isle de France in a convoy with the Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth 11, Aquitania, Mauritania, Isle de France and the Andes.

The convoy called at Colombo and the battalion disembarked at Port Tewfik on the Suez Canal and later trained at Palestine and in Tel Aviv. The battalion saw action in Syria and later at Mrouj, near Beirut in Lebanon. In February 1942 the battalion traveled on the troop ship RMS Orcades via Durban, South Africa, to Oosthaven in South Sumatra. They disembarked at Batavia (Jakarta) before traveling by road to Bandung. On 9th March 1942 the Dutch surrendered, which inevitably included the Australians.

After nearly a year in Bandung, the battalion went to Makasura before being shipped to Changi Prison on Singapore with Dunlop Force under Lt Colonel Edward Dunlop. In January 1943 Dunlop Force went by train on a five-day journey in cramped steel rice wagons from Singapore to Non Pladuk in Thailand and then to the Konyu River Camp, the Hintok River Camp and the Hintok Road Camp. Dunlop Force worked on the section of the Burma Thailand Railway between Konyu (Hellfire Pass) and Compressor Cuttings.

Members of Dunlop Force suffered similarly to all prisoners on the Burma Thailand Railway with diseases, inhumane and brutal treatment, starvation, overwork, lack of basic needs and terrible conditions. By the completion of the railway Milton Fairclough’s health was bad and when his group went to Tamuang where men were selected for virtual “slave” work in Japan he was unfit and was admitted to the Nakon Pathom Hospital. He was then on maintenance work and remained in Thailand until the Victory in the Pacific.

Snow Fairclough returned to Thailand on twelve occasions as a mentor to students sourced from High Schools and sponsored by the Burma Thailand Burma Railway Memorial Association, the Extremely Disabled War Veterans Association, various Community Service Clubs and the Retired Prisoners of War Association of Western Australia on Quiet Lion Tours.

Snow was the focus of the outstanding documentary titled “War, Hate and The Lizard” produced by the Town of Victoria Park to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Victory in the Pacific Day in 1945. The ‘Lizard’ was the name given to the most brutal of all the prison-guards who received a 20-year gaol sentence by the War Crimes Tribunal that ironically was ultimately reduced to five years.

A significant occasion for Snow was being invested with the Order of Australia Medal (OAM). The presentation took place in April this year recognising his service to veterans and the community. This was a proud moment for Snow, his family and the Battalion. Another very significant event in Snow’s life was his visit to Japan with his son, Dennis, in October 2014.

Snow and three other POWs participated in the Japan-Australia Grassroots Exchange Program aimed to: “deepen mutual understanding between the peoples of Japan and Australia by inviting former Australian POWs to Japan to foster reconciliation”.

Snow’s memoir written in 2002, “My Soldiering Days 13.11.39 – 14.1.46” shows classic Aussie defiance encompassing views of British and Dutch military attitudes.

The Burma Thailand Railway Memorial Association reveres the memory of “Snow” Fairclough.

RAMSAY MEDICAL GROUP. HOLLYWOOD PRIVATE HOSPITAL. PEEL HEALTH CAMPUS.

ACKNOWLDEGEMENT.

The BTRMA wishes to acknowledge the support of RAMSAY MEDICAL GROUP, HOLLYWOOD PRIVATE HOSPITAL and PEEL HEALTH CAMPUS over a long period of time. From the commencement of the Quiet Lion Tours in 1997 HOLLYWOOD PRIVATE HOSPITAL has assisted the Association with the provision of nurses on the tours and providing the use of meeting facilities at the hospital. Initially, CEO Kevin Cass Ryall and Director of Nursing Nola Cruikshank were very cooperative and latterly CEO Peter Mott and Director of Clinical Services Karen Gullick have maintained the valued relationship. Debra Taylor has been a constant help. PEEL HEALTH CAMPUS has assisted in sponsorship of Service Cadets on Quiet Lion Tours after commencing an arrangement with ex Prisoner of War, the late Wally Holding OAM, and the Mandurah RSL.  Peel Health Campus Chief Executive Officer Doctor Margaret Sturdy continued this arrangement after her appointment and the passing of Wally Holding. The Association values such support in addition to other support from donors and organisations.

ANZAC CENTENARY COMMEMORATED IN THAILAND

25 April 2015 On 25 April, Australians throughout the world commemorated ANZAC Day to remember those who have served in wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations. ANZAC Day marks the landing of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps soldiers – the ANZACs – on the Gallipoli Peninsula, Turkey, on 25 April 1915, a century ago. This year in Kanchanaburi province, Thailand, Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women and Senator for Western Australia the Hon Michaelia Cash; Chief of the Royal Australian Air Force Air Marshal Geoff Brown, AO; Australian Ambassador to Thailand HE Mr Paul Robilliard, and Defence Attaché Colonel Andrew Duff joined a gathering of around 2,200 at a dawn service at Hellfire Pass to pay tribute to the thousands of prisoners of war (POWs) who lost their lives in the construction of the Thai-Burma Railway in the Second World War. Later in the day, over a thousand of people participated in a memorial service and wreath-laying ceremony held at Kanchanaburi Allied War Cemetery. Australian former-POWs and war veterans were present at the ceremonies. Governor of Kanchanaburi Mr Wanchai Osukonthip and New Zealand Ambassador to Thailand HE Mr Reuben Levermore also attended the wreath laying service. “Gallipoli remains a place of great significance to Australians today because of the actions of those men both on that infamous first day as well as the eight month campaign that followed. More than 8,700 Australians lost their lives during the campaign, with over 2,000 killed or wounded on the first day of fighting”, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash said in her speech at the Wreath Laying service. “Let us never forget both the heroic feats and acts of mateship that created the legendary ANZAC spirit which we, as the sons and daughters of Australia and New Zealand, proudly honour and revere”, she added. Australian former Prisoner of War Mr Neil MacPherson OAM who travelled with the Quiet Lion Tour and once worked on the Thai – Burma Railway, delivered the ex POW Address and laid a wreath in memory of the fallen soldiers at Kanchanaburi War Cemetery on ANZAC Day.    

Vale Gordon Maitland Roberts, Survivor of the Burma Thailand Railway.

Gordon Maitland Roberts, WX 2625,  of Dandaragan, Western Australia, died at Hollywood Hospital on November 1, 2015 having reached the age of 96 years on 3rd March last. He served the Australian community by his outstanding achievements and contributions as a soldier (in particular as a prisoner of the Japanese) in time of war, as a very successful primary producer and as a good citizen in time of peace. He has assisted significantly in maintaining the morale of his fellow prisoners of war during World War 11 and in post war years in perpetuating the memory of the privations and sacrifices of Australian Military personnel and the selfless dedication of the medical personnel during the construction of the Burma Thailand Railway in World War II. He has also dedicated himself to service to the community since surviving World War !! and his incarceration by developing innovation and progressing primary industry in the Mid West of WA and with service and support of returned Australian prisoners of war of the Japanese. Gordon Maitland Roberts was born at Moora, Western Australia to a farming family on March 3, 1919 and was a “jack of all trades” working in rural areas of Western Australia prior to World War Two. He was one of a group of seventeen country boys from the town of Moora in WA who were members of the Militia in the 10th Light Horse and enlisted in the AIF on January 21, 1940, joining the all-Western Australian 2/3rd Machine Gun Battalion. The Battalion sailed from Fremantle in a convoy including the Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth 11, Aquitania, Mauritania, Isle de France and the Andes. The convoy called at Colombo and the battalion disembarked at Port Tewfik on the Suez Canal and later trained at Palestine and in Tel Aviv. The battalion saw action in Syria and later at Mrouj, near Beirut in Lebanon. In February 1942 the battalion traveled on the Orcades via Durban, South Africa, to Oosthaven in South Sumatra. They disembarked at Batavia (Jakarta) before traveling by road to Bandoeng.On 9th March 1942 the Dutch surrendered (including the Australians). After nearly a year in Bandoeng the battalion went to Makasura before being shipped to Singapore with Dunlop Force under Lt Colonel Sir Edward Dunlop. In January 1943 Dunlop Force went by train on a five day journey in cramped steel rice wagons from Singapore to Non Pladuk in Thailand and then to the Konyu River Camp, the Hintok River Camp and the Hintok Road Camp. Dunlop Force worked on the section of the Burma Thailand Railway between Konyu (Hellfire Pass) and Compressor Cuttings. Members of Dunlop Force suffered similarly to all prisoners on the Burma Thailand Railway with diseases, inhumane and brutal treatment, starvation, overwork, lack of basic needs and terrible conditions. At the completion of the railway Gordon Roberts went with his group to Tamuang in Thailand, followed by movements to various other areas on maintenance work and he remained in Thailand until the Victory in the Pacific. After discharge on January 31, 1946, Gordon Roberts, as with most ex Prisoners of War, confined any discussions and recollections of the Prisoner of War experience to meeting with fellow ex PoWs, usually in the confines of RSL clubs, but when it was decided in 2002 to form the Burma Thailand Railway Memorial Association, dedicated to ensure that the story of the “Railway” would not be forgotten, he became an active supporter. The Association arranges an annual pilgrimage to Thailand for Anzac Day, the Quiet Lion Tour, which is named for Sir Edward (Weary) Dunlop. A feature of the tours is that a large group of High School children and service cadets are taken to Thailand. During his war service and following his discharge from the Australian Army on January 31, 1946, Gordon Roberts was renowned for his “mateship”, resourcefulness and his compassion for his fellow prisoners.   During captivity he spent countless hours foraging for little extras for his mates who were ill, on light rations and unpaid. He would stay with men in their dying hours maintaining the tradition of “nobody must die alone”. Even when the dreaded cholera epidemic raged he still nursed cholera patients without any regard for his own health. He was a very robust man, raised in the country, and withstood the ravages of the prisoner of war experience to the point he often stood in for his mates who were too sick to work. A very notable aspect of the resourcefulness shown by Gordon Roberts was his ability to scrounge, barter and acquire by any dubious means food and medicine to help his mates. This ability may not be recognized generally but in the circumstances prevailing on the Burma Thailand Railway it was most important. One illustration of this is provided in the authenticated story involving close friend and POW “Snow Fairclough. “Snow” made his way most nights from the prison camp to the nearby Kwai Noi River to set improvised fishing lines and on one occasion snared a large fish. He took it to Gordon Roberts with a view to them sharing the extra rations with his mates. Gordon instead went to the adjacent English officer’s camp where he was able to sell the fish to an English officer and received what was regarded as a fortune. He in turn used the proceeds to acquire salt and fresh vegetables from Thai villagers and various medicines from Thai river traders. An interesting sidelight is that the English Officer was a Major named Swanton who transpired to be E.W. Swanton, the noted English cricket commentator. “Snow” Fairclough met Swanton post-war during a Test Match in Perth and Swanton recalled the exchange, adding that he got the fish for a “song” and out-bargained the Aussie POW. After discharge on January 31, 1946, Gordon Roberts immediately returned to farming and agriculture and with many years of hard work and good business practice he created a thriving business breeding cattle and sheep. When Gordon Roberts volunteered for the Australian Army the Mid-West area in Western Australia was just being developed with country previously regarded as being unsuitable for most forms of agriculture being utilized. Gordon Roberts’ elder brother was allocated a section of virgin country and he gave Gordon one thousand acres of the grant to start a farm on his return from the War. Gordon Roberts married on his return and with his new wife moved onto the grant of land. Together the cleared the land and established the nucleus of their farm. It is notable that the young wife operated a “General Grant” tank acquired from War Surplus auctions to clear the scrub. The property was named “Chelsea”. Over the years the farming business grew from one thousand to twenty six thousand acres spread over five different farms. The properties range across an area from Three Springs to Dandaragan and Badgingarra. The area had been regarded as “Sand Plain” country and required particular skills to become viable. Gordon and his wife Yaxley developed a breed of sheep to specialize in fat lambs and became a dominant force in that field. They also specialized in Aberdeen Angus cattle and, again, became leaders in the field. Further, they were able to use large areas for wheat and other grain on the country which theretofore had not been considered suitable for cropping. Gordon Roberts is a great example of those Australians who went through a terrible experience whilst serving their country.  They not only survived the experience but returned home to make a success of their lives and contribute to their country. It is of particular note that up until his death, Gordon Roberts and his friend Milton “Snow” Fairclough were the only remaining men of the seventeen from Moora who enlisted together and were all captured by the Japanese. Gordon Roberts was a life member of the Burma Thailand Railway Memorial Association and a strong supporter of the Second Third Machine Gun Battalion Association.

Eric Wilson APM OAM

The Association is delighted to confirm the recent award of an Order of Australia Medal to our Chairman and long time tour leader of the Quiet Lion Tour. Congratulations Eric.

Eric Wilson Eric Wilson first went to Thailand in 1999 at the request of an ex-prisoner of war friend, Mr. William Haskell, who had been returning regularly to Thailand from 1985 onwards with ex prisoners of war, including Sir Edward (Weary) Dunlop, identifying the location of many camps, cemeteries and other features of the Burma Thailand Railway, including Hellfire Pass. Due to advancing age and reduction in numbers of surviving Prisoners of War, assistance was sought from capable volunteers to further the cause of perpetuating the memories of the Burma Thailand Railway. After assisting with Quiet Lion Tours from 1999, in 2002 Eric Wilson played a role in creating the Burma Thailand Railway Memorial Association (Incorporated).  He was the inaugural Secretary. In 2004, he assumed the roles of sole organizer and leader of the Quiet Lion Tours to Thailand. Eric was able to search out, process and systematically record details of much of what took place during the construction of the Burma Thailand (Death) Railway, organize and lead tours and help to establish an incorporated Association to provide a base for the cause. During his career in the Western Australian Police Service, Eric had advanced to a prominent role in the senior administration of the Service with a substantive rank of Chief Superintendent and acting rank of Assistant Commissioner. He had completed tertiary studies as a mature aged student in Personnel Management and Public Administration. He retired in 1991 and was later awarded the Australian Police Medal for his distinguished service in the senior administration of the W.A. Police Force. In the Australia Day Awards 2015 it was announced that Eric had been awarded the Order of Australia Medal for service to veterans and their families.

2015 ANZAC DAY ADDRESS BY NEIL MACPHERSON WX 16572 AT THE WREATH LAYING CEREMONY, KANCHANABURI WAR CEMETERY, THAILAND.

Good Morning all, Once again I am honoured to represent the dwindling group of prisoners of war in addressing the dedicated people here today. Today we gather here at this sacred site to honour those who sacrificed their lives so that we today may enjoy our freedom, especially do we pay a tribute to those who worked on the railway, who survived the horrors but today still carry the burden of those years of suffering. Like many of my fellow POWs during those trying times we drew strength from the sure knowledge that the eventual result would see the enemy vanquished and our safe return to our families. Burma had been a British colony, most of the people were anti-Japanese, and so the villagers had been moved from their homes along the route of the railway which eliminated the possibility of us being able to trade with the Burmese. Our food was mainly watery soup with melons being the main ingredient meat was almost non-existent the few scraggy yaks walked long distances from base camp to meet the needs of hundreds of workers. The wet season arrived bringing with it all of the water borne diseases including Cholera, Malaria was rife with few preventative drugs available.  The main source of Quinine was in Malaya and in the hands of the Japanese which they issued in small quantities. A side effect was temporary deafness. Lt Colonel Edie a Collins Street Ear Nose & Throat specialist was our only doctor in Williams Force.  I probably owe him my life when he listed me as incapable of work due to continual bouts of malaria. Lt Colonel Edie was just one of magnificent group of doctors and medics who helped to ensure that an already dreadful toll was not as bad as could have been. They, more than anything else, are revered by surviving prisoners of war and appreciative Australians for their dedication and sacrifices. When the work force moved on from the 60 kilo camp I was sent back to the 30 kilo base hospital, which was evacuated when subjected to several air raids by Allied planes. We were sent to the 105 kilo camp close to the border with Thailand. It was here that most workers on the Burma side were concentrated before being trucked here to Tamarkan. We Burma workers were impressed by the variety if not the quantity of vegetables with some meat arriving in the camp. Thailand had for a long time been known as the food bowl of Asia. Apart from camp duties we started to recover some of our heath and strength I regularly volunteered for a small party that carted water in drums to the lookout up the mountain to qualify for double rations. Tamarkan along with Tamuan were staging camps from where the prisoners were dispersed to work sites throughout Asia.  It was my fortune to move to Singapore before being shipped to Japan in the Awa Maru (torpedoed a few months later with the loss of over 2000 Japanese senior officials with families). It was fortunate that I was to leave a disease ridden South East Asia for a small Japanese coal mining village, strangely divorced from the war, never bombed and just 60 kilometres from Nagasaki, the target for the second atomic bomb The Burma Thailand Railway Memorial Association was formed in Western Australia to perpetuate the memory of the privations and sacrifices of Allied Prisoners of War and the selfless dedication of the medical personnel during the construction of the Burma Thailand Railway and conducts the Quiet Lion Tours to Thailand each year. Bringing students on the tours is central to our objective. I and my fellow ex POW Milton Fairclough are accompanied on the Quiet Lion Tour by dedicated people wishing to honour the story of the Burma Thailand Railway including a number of High School Students who are assisting in the ceremony. The first organised group of West Australian School Students to participate in an Anzac Pilgrimage to Thailand took place in 1997 on the Quiet Lion Tour, the  first of my 15 personal pilgrimages. Since 1997 more than three hundred students (mostly from Western Australia) and many more adults, have been sponsored on the tours and they, in addition to many more adults from other States and overseas, form a group of people who will ensure that the terrible ordeal of our prisoners of war of the Japanese is not forgotten. On behalf of all present I acknowledge the generosity of the Kingdom of Thailand and the Kanchanaburi administration in hosting us. Thank you all and God bless. Lest we forget. Neil MacPherson

VALE BARRY MAY OAM

Father Barry John May OAM JP Th.Dip. SSC. Chaplain of the Btrma Thailand Railway Memorial Association Former WA Police Chaplain Father Barry May passed away on 20th March 2015 aged 77. A Requiem Mass was held at St George's Cathedral, 38 St Georges Terrace, Perth at 9.00am on SATURDAY 28th March 2015 and a Private Burial was held later. Born in Adelaide, Father Barry May was an Anglican priest who began his working career as a police officer serving in South Australia and Papua New Guinea. He was ordained in 1963 in Adelaide and began his ministry in the parish of Mount Gambier, did missionary service in P.N.G., then served in the parishes of Waikerie and Burra, in South Australia, then on to Dongara, Albany and Dalkeith in Western Australia. In 1976 he was appointed the Archdeacon of the Great Southern in W.A., before his appointment as the first full time chaplain to the Western Australian Police force in 1992. He had previously served as an Army Reserve Chaplain from 1978 to 1992. Fr. Barry was awarded the Centenary Medal, the Police Commissioner’s Medal of Excellence, and in 2008 the Order of Australia medal. He retired from full-time Ministry in August 2007, and then served as a Justice of the Peace and Honorary Chaplain to three organizations. Barry was married to Kath who pre-deceased him. They had four adult children and there were nine grand-children at the time of his death (with another due). He was a much loved father and father-in-law of Leanne and Tony, Craig and Melita, Michael and Natalie and Tim and Kristen. Devoted Grandfather of Declan, Ciara, Aidan, Owen, Louise, Bronwyn, Josh, Ben, Cameron and Bailee. Father Barry first travelled on the Quiet Lion Tour in 2006 and from then travelled each year until the untimely death of Kath. On the tours he conducted the religious component of the Dawn Services at Hellfire Pass and the Wreath Laying Services at Kanchanaburi War Cemetery, either alone or with a padre from the armed services or minister from Bangkok. On a number of occasions Father Barry was quite ill but still managed to conduct the services, with the assistance of Kath. Father Barry was elected to the Committee of the Burma Thailand Railway Memorial Association where his wise counsel was highly valued. Up until his death he was active with the Association. Father Barry John May will be sorely missed by his many friends in many fields.

Father Barry May

Father Barry May and Kathleen.  Final Concert Quiet Lion Tour 2006

PEEL HEALTH CAMPUS SUPPORTS LOCAL YOUTH TO ATTEND ANZAC SERVICES IN THAILAND

In keeping with the true Ramsay Health Care spirit, the team at Peel Health Campus have made a community contribution which has had a big impact on the lives of some local service cadets. Peel Health Campus’ sponsorship of the Burma Thailand Railway Memorial Association (BTRMA) has contributed to a total of 37 young Australian Defence Force cadets aged between 15 and 17 taking part in ten -day tours across Thailand over the years. The Quiet Lion Tour aims to perpetuate the memory of the privations and sacrifices of Australian and Allied prisoners of war and the selfless dedication of the medical personnel during the construction of the Burma Thailand Railway. As part of the tour the cadets attend a Anzac Day Dawn Service at the notorious Hellfire Pass in Thailand, the deepest and longest cutting along the entire length of the railway.  This area now symbolises the suffering and maltreatment of Australian prisoners of war, who were forced to cut through the rock terrain often suffering from illness and malnutrition. The Dawn Service is followed by a Wreath Laying Service at the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery. Rhiannon Mackay, a local army cadet who attended the 2015 Tour said the walk through Hellfire Pass was breathtaking. “You could sense the mixed emotions as you walked through; hurt, sadness, fear and hope. The torture the prisoners experienced can never be forgotten. Now that I have been on this tour the memory of this place will never leave me,” said Rhiannon. The cadets visited many historical sites including the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery where an estimated 6,980 Allied prisoners of war (1,362 Australians) who died building the railway are buried. They also visited the Chunkai Cemetery where 1,740 non-Australian prisoners are buried. In total 2,710 Australians died of the 13,000 who were captured. Hospital CEO Dr Margaret Sturdy said it’s been wonderful to be able to help these young cadets to experience the Quiet Lion Tour and enable them to visit historical sites creating life long memories. The tour is named after Sir Edward “Weary” Dunlop, who was an Australian army surgeon, a prisoner of war and who, with his men, was forced to work on the Thai Burma Railway.  He earned the title of the “Quiet Lion” through his selfless devotion to his men and courage in the face of his captors.   The aim of the BTRMA is to educate current and future generations about the self-sacrifice, courage and compassion that was displayed during the construction of the Thai-Burma railway. “I hope that through supporting our local cadets to participate in these tours we have helped them with this insight,” said Margaret Sturdy.

VALE – TOM UREN

TOM UREN 1921–2015 The Hon. Tom Uren AC has died at age 93. Tom Uren left school at 13, became a boxer, was fighting World War II in Timor on his 21st birthday, spent his next three birthdays as a prisoner of the Japanese in Timor, Singapore, on the infamous Burma-Thailand railway and at a copper smelting works Saganoseki in Japan. He saw the sky change colour over Nagasaki after the atom bomb was dropped. Early Years. Tom was born in Balmain on May 25, 1921 to Tom Uren Sen. and his wife, formerly Agnes Miller. He carried Cornish and Celtic blood from his father's family, and Jewish and English from his paternal grandmother. After the family moved to Harbord when he was five, Tom walked barefooted to the local primary school, before being made to wear shoes to Manly Intermediate High. He left school during the Depression, because his father, a former jockey and jack-of-all trades, was out of work. Young Tom helped classify rabbit and kangaroo skins, sold newspapers and caddied on golf courses. He gave all his earnings to his mother, a former barmaid, because they were poor. He became a surf lifesaver, rugby league forward and learnt to box at Jack Dunleavy's gymnasium, perhaps driven by the fact that one of his father's cousins, Tommy Uren, was anotable boxer. War Years. Tom had applied to join the army in May 1939 and was accepted soon after World War II broke out in September, but took leave to fight for the Australian heavyweight title in 1940, aged 19. (He had been suffering from the flu and, although he knocked Billy Britt down inthe sixth round, was beaten in the seventh). Tom went to Darwin, then to Timor in December 1941 with the 2/1 Heavy Battery. He had heard the stories of Australian courage at Gallipoli and in France in World War I, but what he saw in Timor was confusion. As the Australian force was being over-run in February 1942, Tom volunteered to go forward in a vehicle armed with a single Bren gun to support a Tasmanian battalion, the 2/40th, which was making what has been described as the last bayonet charge in Australian military history. Witnessing the Australian advance up Oesaoe ridge under machine-gun fire marked the 20- year-old for life. Forced to surrender, the prisoners were in prison camps in Timor for some time before being taken early in 1943 to Singapore, from where Tom was loaded into a railway goods truck and ended up at Konyu River camp, where the surgeon Lieutenant Colonel Edward "Weary" Dunlop was commanding officer of the men slaving to build the Burma-Thailand railway for the Japanese. Tom moved later to the Hintok camps. He worked on the Hammer and Tap cutting among other sites. One man is said to have died for every sleeper laid on the railway. Tom prayed every day, frightened that cholera would take him, as it had so many others. Yet he rejoiced in the Australian egalitarianism. He believed that the British officers cared above all for themselves, while Dunlop and other officers funded what passed for a hospital. At completion of the railway work, Tom was transported on a Hell Ship in 1944 to work in a copper smelting plant at Saganoseki, Japan, owned by the Nippon Steel Company. Conditions were terrible with the basic huts located on the slag heaps of the smelting works. ”Beds” were mats full of lice. Toilets were pits which had to be cleaned out every ten days. Food was very scarce for both prisoners and the local population. Despite the conditions and strict discipline there was little of the brutality that characterised the Burma- Thailand railway and earlier camps. The prisoners were eventually moved to a POW camp at Omuta in the Fukuoka group of prison camps to work in coal mines. With the dropping of the Nagasaki bomb a form of freedom came. Tom never forgot the colour of the sky over Nagasaki after the atom bomb was dropped: "We didn't hear any noise, just witnessed that vivid crimson sky." Liberation. Tom had an American friend in the camp who was part of a group appointed to set up an authority to administer and run the city of Omuta, looking after courts, police and administration building. After a period Tom joined a group of Americans travelling by train to Kagoshima and by plane to Okinawa and then to Manila in the Phillipines. From there he travelled on the HMS Formidable to Sydney. Post War. Tom met Patricia Palmer (her brother had shown him her photograph when they were prisoners) and they married in 1947. (Patricia died of breast cancer in 1981). They moved to Port Kembla where Tom worked at the steel works. He later attempted to resurrect his boxing career including a trip England, working his passage by ship as a stoker. After limited success (wartime malaria had left effects) he returned to Sydney by sea working as a donkey-greaser. He came home, worked as a labourer, then as a trainee executive at Woolworths. He decided to join the Labor Party in 1951 on the way from Lithgow, where he managed the Woolworths store, to Bathurst for the funeral of Ben Chifley, the former Labor Prime Minister. His political views were founded on his mother's sense of social justice, Weary Dunlop's example of leadership and F.D. Roosevelt's New Deal. He was to add Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Ho Chi Minh and Nelson Mandela to his list of influences. Living in Guildford, he won the western Sydney seat of Reid in 1958. When he retired from Parliament in 1990, he had been father of the House for eight years. Tom quietly married Christine Logan, a singer in the Australian Opera, in 1992. They lived in Balmain, with Christine's daughter, Ruby, in a house designed by Richard Le Plastrier. The house cost so much in the end, with timber from Western Australia, that Tom lived for some years in the basement, with lodgers upstairs. Tom Uren was made an Officer in the Order of Australia in 1993, then a Commander in 2013. On Anzac Day 2011, near his 90th birthday, he returned to Hellfire Pass, on the Burma Thailand railway, with the Governor-General, Quentin Bryce and her party of exPOWs. Then Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced at that time that the government would meet Uren's long campaign for a supplementary payment to Australia's 900 surviving prisoners from World War II and the Korean war. Tom Uren, a Life Member of the Burma Thailand Railway Memorial Association, is survived by Christine and Ruby, and his adopted children, Michael and Heather.

Meg Pearce’s address to Wagin Lions

Good evening. For those of you I haven’t met personally my name is Meg Pearce and I was the Wagin Lions 2014 representative for The Quiet Lions tour. I would like to begin by acknowledging and saying a huge thank you to the Wagin Lions Club for giving me the opportunity to go on this journey to Thailand. With the exception of my little brother Jack, all my immediate and extended family have been on this trip and I had heard many moving and wonderful stories of courage, humor and mate ship and I was very excited to go and experience it for myself. My Grandad, Joe Pearce (now deceased) survived the Railway and only passed away two years ago. Growing up, I was taught of the bravery and sacrifice of the men and women who fought for their country in wartime and the hardships that they endured. As I got older, I learnt about the huge impact wars had on globalization and our world economy. However, it’s quite evident in today’s youth that the knowledge of wars and the impact they have, still does not go beyond the basics taught in History class. It is in the understanding and hearing of the stories of war heroes that truly helps to develop an even greater appreciation for those men and women who fought and continue to fight in all wars. I do see it as my responsibility to pass on what I have learnt and the stories I have heard, so that we will never forget. When reflecting back, I tried to think about key moments of the tour that really resonated with me. Each place told a different story and taught me something new. The dawn service itself was haunting and beautiful. It produced such mixed feelings. I had feelings of overwhelming pride for our country, a great sadness for man, yet also great joy that we can come together to share those stories and to remember. But, for me, the highlight would have definitely been the walk along the remnants of the Railway line to Hellfire Pass. I don’t know what surprised me more; ex POW from the line Snowy Fairclough, power walking straight past us through that first cutting (putting us all to shame) or, how beautiful the scenery was. Seeing it made it hard to picture or imagine the haunting stories about what the men working on the railway endured. I found walking through those cuttings and embankments on your own very moving. It gave me a better understanding and perspective. I mean, I was sweating just strolling along with my 1.5L bottle of water and damp towelettes. It’s truly remarkable that these men were working 12 to 18 hours every day in those conditions. The bravery, ingenuity and resilience the men showed in dealing with their circumstances and the mate-ship between the prisoners must truly have been a bond that is beyond our imagination. A huge mention must go to ex POWs Snow Fairclough and Neil MacPherson. Meeting and having them on this trip made it very special and I was honored to meet them both. You can hear the stories and the facts about the war, from a third party, but being able to talk to them and hear direct recounts, was truly incredible and will always be with me. They teach us all a great life lesson. They faced and witnessed unimaginable horrors yet their love of life and kind and caring natures are so evident. With some being a little cheekier than others – Snow, his diet of Singha and Ice cream at any time of the day still amuses me - but I say let the man do what he wants, he definitely deserves it. It truly is the people that made this trip the remarkable experience it was. I absolutely loved getting to know everyone, and the different stories that they had to share about their families and friends. Anzac Day and this trip, means something different to everyone, but we were all united by the desire to learn and experience. We were a smaller group this year, which really gave us the opportunity to get to know each other and to create new friendships. I have a natural tendency to just talk at people most of the time, so a small group meant everyone had to put up with me. My only regret was getting sick just before the talent show, but then again I heard everyone singing the national anthem every morning, so perhaps it was my body’s way of saying “enough”. I would especially like to thank David Piesse. From my first conversation with him, it was obvious that he had so much knowledge and passion to share on this trip. He sparked everyone’s interests with his facts and stories, and passed on that passion to anyone he spoke to. You were such an integral part of my learning, so for that I would sincerely like to thank you. Granddad was always so fond of you, and I can see why. As a child, you see your grandparents as people who love you, spoil you and feed you all the things you aren’t allowed at home and in my case that was a never ending supply of shortbread creams and ice-cream. But as you grow, you begin to see them differently and to understand them more. My Grandfather, Joe Pearce is very special to me and has been integral in my growing up. His values and outlook on life were simple and admirable. My brothers and I could not be more proud of the person we got to know. It is such a credit to him and other POWS like Snow and Neil that they experienced such an unforgiveable part of humanity, but still managed to be the kind and caring people we all love. It was always Granddad’s wish for all his family to go to Thailand on this trip and to learn more of Australia’s history, and of his own. He would have loved to hear about everything I experienced, and all the cheeky stories; and I’m just sorry that I didn’t have to opportunity to share it with him. It was fantastic having my Dad on this trip as well. Having already gone back to Thailand with Granddad, what he could share with me was invaluable, especially when walking through the Hintok cutting where Granddad had worked. So, thank you Tombo for coming, and supplying the Pringles when we were no longer able to eat anything sweet and sour. This 2014 Quiet Lion Tour to Thailand was such a meaningful and special trip. I would like to again say thank you to the Wagin Lions Club for the opportunity and to everyone who helped organize the tour. I learnt so much and met so many wonderful people; this experience was a memory for life. Thank you.

KEN WOOD AND THE WEARY DUNLOP BOON PONG EXCHANGE FELLOWSHIP

Kenneth Walter Wood, WX 7433 passed away on 26th August 2014. Ken enlisted on 6th August 1940 and became a member of the 2/3rd Machine Gun Battalion. After initial training he went with his Division to the Middle East. When the Japanese invasion of South East Asia commenced, Australian forces were ordered back to defend Australia but their ship was diverted to Java where the Australian troops became Prisoners of War with the Dutch capitulation. It was here that Ken and his group had their first experiences with “Weary” Dunlop. After a period of detention in Java the Dunlop Force were returned to Singapore and almost immediately on to Thailand to work on the Burma Thailand Railway. Following discharge Ken Wood forged a successful career in rural commerce, married and raised a family. A bond was forged with the other members of the 2/3 Machine Gun Battalion, particularly with those in captivity from Don Company, and Ken was an active member of the 2/3 Machine Gun Battalion Association until his passing. Probably one of the most notable post-war achievements of Ken was his involvement with the formation of the Weary Dunlop Boon Pong Exchange Fellowship. The following is the description of the Association in the records of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons:- “The establishment of the Weary Dunlop Boon Pong Exchange Fellowship was a collaborative effort between the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (the College) and the Royal College of Surgeons of Thailand (RCST). This scheme started from the initiative of Keith Flanagan, Bill Haskell and Ken Wood (returned prisoners-of-war on the Burma Thailand Railway) in Western Australia. Forty years after their return from prison camps in and around the Thai-Burma railway, they wished to create a memorial for those of their colleagues who did not return. An exchange scheme for surgical training was decided upon. As money became available, young Thai surgeons were brought to Australia for further experience in surgical fields in which they had a special interest. The Fellowships are intended to provide valuable training experiences and increase the cordiality of Thai-Australian relationships. The first surgeons were appointed in 1987. The Fellowship provides opportunities for Thai surgeons to undertake clinical attachments in Australian hospitals, in their nominated field of interest. The goal is to develop the expertise and improve the capacity of Thai specialists to provide specialist surgery in Thailand. The specific objectives of the Fellowship are to provide opportunities for promising young Thai surgeons to: • obtain further exposure in general or specialist surgery • gain experience in clinical research and the applications of modern surgical technology • develop management skills in a multi-disciplinary environment. The program also aims to establish, increase and nurture the linkages and interactions between Australian and Thai health personnel to promote relationship building and regional collaboration at the levels of leadership, health structure, administration, surgical practice and research. The College recognises that there is a shortage of trained and skilled local specialists in many developing countries in the Asia-Pacific region. This shortage severely reduces the country's capacity to deliver surgical care to their populations. The overarching goal of the International Scholarship Program is to improve the health outcomes for disadvantaged communities in the region, by providing appropriate training opportunity to promising individuals who will contribute to the development of the long-term surgical and medical capacity in their country”. The Fellowship has now put over ninety Thai surgeons through the program. Ken Wood passed away on 26th August 2014 and his funeral took place on 3rd September 2014. With the passing of Ken Wood the three ex prisoners of war are all now deceased. Vale Ken Wood.

Funeral of Khun Kanit Wanachote OAM of Home Phu Toey Resort, Tarsau, Thailand.

The late Khun Kanit Wanachote OAM died in Bangkok, Thailand, on 1st April 2014 at the age of 86. After a memorial service immediately following his death a series of Buddhist ceremonies were held at Wat Makutkasattiyaram in Bangkok and at Home Phu Toey, Thailand, between the 19th and 21st July 2014. Burma Thailand Railway Memorial Association Chairman Eric Wilson and Quiet Lion Tour Leader David Piesse travelled to Thailand for all the ceremonies. Australian Ambassador to Thailand James Wise attended the cremation service which featured an honour guard of 40 Boy Scouts. ‘Weary” Dunlop’s son John and Senator John Williams sent apologies. This venerable gentleman was born on 15th February 1928 in Surajthanee Province, Thailand. He married Oonjai Wanachote in 1951 (she pre-deceased him) and they had children (Mrs Oonnirun Wanachote, Mr Kanate Wanachote,Mr Kunakone Wanachote, Mrs Aunirun Sittipon and Mrs Araya Wanachote) followed by a number of grand children. Khun Kanit Wanachote’s association with Australian Prisoners of War and Sir Edward “Weary” Dunlop and the Burma Thailand Railway Memorial Association commenced when ex POWs Keith Flanagan OAM and Bill Haskell OAM decided in 1985 to organize the 'Weary Dunlop Tour" to retrace the course of Surgeon and Commander Colonel (Later Sir) Edward Dunlop and his Force from Java through to Thailand (in World War Two) and having his exploits recognized. Khun Kanit was prominent in the scouting movement in Thailand (a Baden Powell Fellow presented by The King of Sweden) and a member of the Senior Counci1 of the National Scout Assembly of Thailand. He was readily receptive to the concept of youth perpetuating the story of Weary Dunlop and the Burma Thailand Railway and he always insisted the Quiet Lion Tour stayed as his guests at Home Phu Toey Resort, a 190-hectare estate set in beautiful tropical gardens, eighty kilometers upriver from Kanchanaburi and four kilometers from Hellfire Pass. All this is possible due to the generosity of a great man whose attributes were instantly recognized by a great Australian, Sir Edward (Weary) Dunlop. Khun Kanit Wanachote was considered eminently suitable for conferral of the Order of Australia Medal under the Australian Honours and Award system. The award was presented to him by His Excellency Paul Grigson, Australian Ambassador to Thailand, on Australia Day 2010 at the Australian Embassy, Bangkok. The late Bill Haskell and Burma Thailand Railway Memorial Association Chairman Eric Wilson attended the award ceremony.

CREMATORIUM AT WAT MAKUTKASATTIYARAM IN BANGKOK, THAILAND

 

2014 ANZAC DAY ADDRESS BY NEIL MACPHERSON

2014 ANZAC DAY ADDRESS BY NEIL MACPHERSON WX 16572 AT THE WREATH LAYING CEREMONY, KANCHANABURI WAR CEMETERY, THAILAND. Good Morning all, In the early months of 1942 Japanese forces advanced right to the northern doorstep of Australia and in the process overran many islands to our north where heavily outnumbered ill equipped Australian troops were stationed. This resulted in some 22,000 Australians being captured over a period of 6 weeks. They were to face 3 ½ years of brutality, torture, malnutrition, diseases and long hours of work and 8,000 were to die, their deaths were as heroic as those who died in battle. Many of these prisoners were transported to the Burma and Thailand to construct a railway joining Thanbyuzayat in Burma with Non Pladuc in Thailand In June 1942 British prisoners based at Ban Pong camp started work on preparing the rail trace at Non Pladuc for the start of the railway construction. In October 1942 Australian prisoners started work on the Burma end of the railway. Green Force under Major Green came from Tavoy and Colonel Williams & Black Force came from Java, the first Australians to work on the railway. We were not to know what lay in store for us, many of us were still young and care free, at 19 years of age one lives from day to day. The pressure of the Speedo period had not yet started, our physical condition was generally good despite our poor diet. The horrors of deaths from malnutrition, tropical diseases, ulcers and extended work hours lay ahead of us. Initially Williams Force were camped at Tanyin known as the 35 Kilo camp and Black Force were camped the 40 Kilo camp. We were given a set allocation of work, so we hurriedly finished this work to return to camp little knowing that our cunning captors were setting a trap for us, the daily tasks were gradually increased until we were toiling well into the night to achieve our quota. Initially we worked on building embankments and digging cuttings, when this work was completed we built bridges over streams and gullies. In March 1943 the Japanese formed a Mobile Force to lay the sleepers and the rails, as the railway was behind schedule it was a desperate group of Japanese Engineers that decided to sacrifice prisoners to ensure that the work was done. Long hours on minimum food soon reduced the work force numbers. Of the 800 prisoners in Williams Force that commenced work at Tanyin only 300 skeleton like-wrecks remained on the railway when it was joined in October 1943. Our doctor Captain Rowley Richards was successful in obtaining anti cholera vaccine and our entire group received the injection which reduced the deaths from cholera considerably. Strict hygiene rules were enforced, before lining up for our meagre rice ration we were made to dip our eating utensils in a drum of boiling water. The first organised group of West Australian School Students to participate in an Anzac Pilgrimage to Thailand took place in 1997 on the Quiet Lion Tour. They were from the Carnamah Three Springs District, Jack Thorpe an ex POW living in the area helped organise and sponsor the students. It was also my first Quiet Lion Tour of the railway, I had however made personal pilgrimages with family members in 1994 and 1996. In 1997 nine ex POWs were in attendance including the originators of the tour Bill Haskell and Keith Flannigan. Weary Dunlop’s son Dr John Dunlop his wife and daughter were on that tour. Construction of the railway commenced in June 1942,

2014 ANZAC Day International football match report

ANZAC DAY INTERNATIONAL – THAILAND TIGERS V ISLAMABAD MAKHORS For nine years the Quiet Lion Tours have attended the ANZAC Day International football match arranged by the Australian ex-pats in Thailand. Each year a visiting team from a variety of far-eastern countries provides the other side. The emphasis each year is on the memory of the prisoners of war who worked on the Burma Thailand Railway and the guests of honour are surviving prisoners of war. On Saturday 26 April 2014, players, support staff and helpers of the Thailand Tigers Football Club, converged on for the greatest weekend on the Tiger calendar. Starting with the ANZAC commemorative activities at Hellfire Pass and Kanchanaburi War Cemetery on the Friday Saturday featured two great games watched by former POWs Milton ‘Snow’ Fairclough and Neil MacPherson together with 37 other members of the Quiet LionTour. These two gentlemen had been to a number of previous ANZAC Day games, and it was once again an honour for all the teams to play in front of them as a way to show their support and appreciation. The Austraian Charg’e d’affeires Mr Jonathon Kenna represented the Australian Embassy and Mr Steven Reid the Military Attache. The curtain raiser saw a 9-a-side domestic match between reserve players and included some of the visiting Quiet Lion Tour party.. The main game pitted the Tigers against the Islamabad Makhors from Pakistan in their first international. Led by the irrepressible Marzio ‘Muzza’ Da Re, the Makhors were always going to struggle against the stronger Tigers. In true spirit, Tigers players helped out with numbers by slipping on the black and green guernsey – but when both sides stood in a line for the anthems in front of ex POWs Snow and Neil, they all felt like they were on the same team.         Final scores – Tigers 18.15 (117) Makhors 3.0 (18). In the post-match activities Tiger’s Chairman Brendan Cunningham acknowledged the continued support from the Quiet Lion Tour groups over a period of nine years. BTRMA Chairman Eric Wilson acknowledged the welcome and introduced BTRMA Vice Chairman Ian Holding who proceeded to present the ‘Chicken Smallhorn’ Award (see the separate story on this award) to “best on ground” Aggotts (selected by Snow Fairclough). Captain Paddy accepted the ANZAC Cup from Eric Wilson. Snow and Neil used eloquent words in summing up the feelings from both sides – it was much more than just a game of ‘footy’, and all should be commended for the spirit shown both on and off the field. It was a true club effort with everybody making a contribution – from the patience shown by the many Tigers who were only on the field for a quarter, to the many helpers off the field who made the day a memorable one for all. Photo of assembled group after the match (courtesy of Robert Brewer) The tradition will continue in 2015 when the ANZAC Day International football match will be held in the afternoon of ANZAC Day following the commemorative activities at Hellfire Pass and Kanchanaburi Cemetery and the post-match barbecue hosted by the Australian and New Zealand Governments.

2014 – AUSTRALIAN RULES FOOTBALL

When discussing the place of recreation, sport, entertainment and study as part of the Prisoner of War experience there has been comment on how these activities were possible in a time of war and particularly for prisoners of war. The question is often posed in the context of prisoners of the Japanese in Asia. The reality is that circumstances vary quite widely depending on the phase of the conflict. In the case of the Burma Thailand Railway it was not possible during the railway construction phase but prior to that and to some degree, after, after, it was. The playing of Australian Rules was significant regardless of location. Australian Rules football, a uniquely Australian sport, and more significantly, a Victorian state sport, identified players in terms of locality as well as class and nationality. Australian POWs from other states who identified themselves as rugby union and/or league players put aside former prejudices to the sport, reflecting that they too wanted to be part of the one game that linked them integrally to nationhood. Evidence suggests that wherever Victorians were held as POWs, in either Europe or South East Asia, Australian Rules football was played. In the absence of suitable equipment they often had to use rugby balls to play and records indicate that 'Aussie Rules' became well known as the Australian sport in Europe and in particular one of 'the leading body and character building sports of Stalag 383'. In Stalag 383, Australian POWs were particularly keen to get a competition going and it was up and running just one month after the first Australians had entered the camp on 15 September 1942. Corporal Ryan recorded the early beginnings of these matches in One Year: ‘When, in 1878, a Victorian, H. C. A. Harrison, formulated the rules of a new code of football to be known as Australian Rules, he doubtless nourished hopes that the game might spread beyond Australia, but I'll lay a shade of odds that Bavaria did not enter into his calculations. It did not enter into ours either, but after events unforeseen had landed us secure behind the barbed wire boundaries of Stalag 383, the possibilities of a game dawned in more minds than one. There did not appear to be much stopping us. These first games in Stalag 383 were twelve-a-side matches, and played on a soccer pitch of 100 x 50 yards. By the following year, in March 1943, when the weather once again made football possible and numbers of Australians in the camps had swelled, a larger and more official body was set up. A committee was formed and a general meeting called to select the four sides that would form a competitive football league. They were named 'Kangaroos', 'Emus', 'Kookaburras' and 'Wallabies', and a further two teams known as 'Snakes' and 'Crows' were formed to look after the less familiar players of the game and to provide opportunities to any man in the camp 'wishing to know his capabilities'. Australian POWs started what would become a yearly event, a game between 'Eastralia' and 'Westralia'. Jerseys were screen-printed and manufactured from old Army singlets, black swans for Westralia, and a marked V for Eastralia. Betting began on the sidelines at the ever-present totalisator, and the first game kicked off on 29 March 1943. According to One Year, 'All but three of the"Sandgropers" were members of the 2/11 Bn., and of the opposition, fifteen were Victorians. Westralia won with 10 goals 8 behinds (68 pts) to Eastralia, 8 goals and 19 behinds (67 pts)’. R. L. Hoffman summed up what this game and quite possibly what most sports meant to Australian POWs in Stalag 383: The game was dedicated to 'Bluey' Truscott, whose brilliant star, with tragic splendour, flared across the sky as a symbol of sportsmanship in its best traditions. There are others like Wing-Commander Truscott, of whom we involuntary exiles have not yet heard, but we salute them all in this reproduction of the national game played in these alien surroundings. It was an Australian occasion — flashback to sunnier days of the past, a pre-view of sunnier days to come: and for the brief exciting while of a football game Australians here in Stalag 383 existed between the warm familiar parallels of latitude south of the equator. Australian POWs in Changi were also keen followers of Australian Rules football and despite the lack of food, and the increasing incidence of ill health, were determined to play and to follow all the rules and traditions of the game, forming a league in late 1942. They adopted the names of their favourite teams and inter-club rivalries extended to buying and selling players who could be traded for the sum of four ounces of rice. Footballs were obtained from the Chinese and POWs also made some themselves 'using old boot leather and bladders from wild pigs some of the blokes sneaked into the jungle and killed'. Les Green, a former POW interviewed for Football Life in 1969, told the story of 'Football Behind Bamboo': ‘For the first six months we were more or less confined to barracks in Changi. Then the Japanese allowed us to play sport. By that time the football season in Melbourne was underway so we decided to run our own. Names chosen for the teams were Melbourne, Collingwood, Geelong, St. Kilda, Essendon and Richmond ... There were three matches every week - sometimes two on Saturday and one on Wednesday ... Believe me, they weren't picnic matches. It was very serious football. And the standard wasn't bad considering the difficult conditions we had to play under. Occasionally there were fights on the field. The umpires had the power to report players and an independent tribunal heard any reports of misconduct, on or off the field, just as it would in the VFL. The Japanese guards would watch our games. They would laugh at us, and think we were silly to be bashing ourselves. For each match the umpires cast three votes for the best and fairest player award, which we called The Changi Brownlow Medal’. These six teams ran a hard-fought competition that culminated in an end of- season final — Australia versus the Rest in January 1943, when a Victorian eighteen played a team representative of the rest of the Commonwealth. Les Green also mentions the thrill for Australian players and spectators alike when champion footballer, and 1933 Brownlow medallist for Fitzroy, Wilfred 'Chicken' Smallhorn, ran on to the field to umpire this memorable game. Even though Smallhorn did not actually play football, his presence certainly inspired other POWs to achieve their best by getting involved in the organisation of their games. At the end of this match, team captain Peter Chitty, a former St Kilda player and captain of the Changi Victorian team, was awarded the 'Changi Brownlow Medal'. Back in Australia, the award of the Brownlow Medal was suspended between 1942 and 1945 so this medal has special significance for Australian sporting history as well as for the Australian Rules followers in Changi in 1943. The medal was, and remains, a symbol for Australian footballers, representing fair play and good sportsmanship. The medal and its recipient represented an ideal that went beyond sport and was played out in the wider POW experience. Chitty carried his Brownlow with him throughout his fifteen months on the Thai-Burma railway, where his leadership and bravery resulted in his also being awarded the British Empire Medal for carrying a dying mate some 50 kilometres on his back through the jungle. In an interview in 1994 before his death, Chitty stated, 'It was a great honour to lead that side ... A lot of great careers were cut short by the war. They were good sides that played that match in Changi'. This final match of the season would be the last formal football game that POWs in Changi would play and indeed that some would ever play or see again, for work parties were already beginning to be taken to the Thai-Burma railway.

2014 Quiet Lion Tour report

2014 tour party …………………………………………………………………………………………

The Quiet Lion Tour 2014 tour group outside Home Phu Toey after the Dawn Service at Hellfire Pass. Ex POWs Milton Fairclough, Neil MacPherson OAM and Harold Martin seated at the front with Thai Agent Vivatchai Wongusthat.

On 17th April a complement of thirty four travellers assembled at Perth International Airport for the 2014 Quiet Lion Tour to Thailand and arrived at Suvarnabhumi Airport at 3:30pm. The group then proceeded to the Royal Benja Hotel where the party met the other five members. On tour were ex POW s Neil MacPherson (accompanied by his son Alan MacPherson, granddaughters Krishna Vanderwiede and Gypsy O'Dea and three great grandchildren) and Ex POW Milton (Snow) Fairclough (accompanied by his niece Sue Sheridan). Committee members on tour included Eric Wilson, chairman BTRMA, Neil MacPherson, Alan MacPherson, Krishna Vanderviede, Ian Holding and David Piesse. Owing to the media reports of the Thailand political situation the Western Australian Department of Education withdrew their approval for school groups travelling on the tour. Some junior members were able to come accompanied by parents. This gave us a small group of twelve juniors which were able to participate in the Wreath Laying Service at Kanchanaburi War Cemetery, accompanied by students from Kings College, Auckland, New Zealand. Esperance was represented by Olivia Morris and her father Steve, Jamie Shaw and his father Jason. Mingenew was represented by Hannah Poultney and Wagin was represented by Meg Pearce accompanied by father Tom Pearce. On Day Two, we travelled to the Summer Palace at Bang-Pa In, then on to Ayuthaya, an ancient Thai capital before cruising back into Bangkok on the Chayo Praya River with lunch served aboard. It was a good chance for all to get to know one another. This was followed by a short foray by some to try retail therapy in Bangkok City before dinner. Day Three, with fun and niceties done we headed to Nakhon Pathom , Nong Pladuk, Ban Pong, Tha Muang and Kanchanaburi, learning the Railway Story as we progressed into western Thailand. After lunch we visited the Thai-Burma Railway Centre and had a brief visit to the War Cemetery. We arrived at Pung Waan Resort for an enjoyable swim, dinner and an overnight stay. Day Four saw our group back at Kanchanaburi Cemetery and the Railway Centre before catching the train to travel over the Bridge over the River Kwai and later over the remaining "Death Railway" to Wampo, including crossing the infamous Wampo Viaduct. After lunch we visited the site of the Tarsao prison camp and hospital (Now a resort). Returned to Home Phu Toey at 5:00pm. The next five nights were spent at the Home Phu Toey and everyone had a chance to get comfortable and not have to get bags out to move on for the next phase of the tour. It is a very convenient base from which to visit the Kanyu- Hintok section of the railway. Day Five, we went to the site of the Takanun camps with particular reference to F Force. From there we went to Khao Laem Dam, an irrigation and hydro-electric supply built by the Snowy Mountain Authority under the Colombo Plan and completed in 1985. Lunch at the Dam staff club, courtesy of EGAT. Visited Wat Takanun overlooking the site of the Australian POW camp, Returned via Brankassi and Hindato camps. Walked the Railway Heritage Memorial Trail through Hintok Cutting, the Three Tier Bridge site, the Seven Metre Embankment, the Hammer and Tap Cuttings, several trestle bridge sites, over shelving into Kanyu Cutting and on to Hellfire Pass Museum. Day Six we had the Buddhist Ceremony in Weary Dunlop Park followed by a ceremony to mark the passing of Khun Kanit Wanachote, a long term friend and creator of Home Phu Toey. Visited the site of the Hintok Mountain Camp, Kinsayok Camp area and Sai Yok Yai Waterfalls followed by lunch served on a houseboat whilst travelling down the River Kwai Noi, terminating at Konyu River Camp. Returned to Home Phu Toey via the Hintok River Camp which is now an “eco” camp.   On day seven visited Tarsau (Nam Tok) town area, the Sai Yok Noi Waterfalls and the site of Tonchan South Campsite, and Thadan Bridge and the Elephant Park (also a POW camp site). From there we travelled to Lat Ya Shinto Peace Park and on to lunch on a raft on the Kwai Noi and Kwai Yai rivers. Back to Home Phu Toey via Chungkai Cemetery and Chungkai Cutting. We had our farewell dinner and concert night as guests of Khun Suparerk. Day Eight, free day with passive activities, a chance to visit Weary Dunlop Park, Jack Chalker Gallery and other displays. A small group travelled to the camp sites of Shimo Songkurai, Songkurai and Kami Songkurai (the main camps of F Force) and on to Three Pagodas Pass. Returning to Home Phu Toey at 3:30pm in time for a run through with the juniors for the Wreath Laying Service, Media interviews for ex POWs and dinner for special guests and the Quiet Lion Tour group.   Day Nine, ANZAC Day, early morning call for the Dawn Service, bags to the lobby and on the bus by 3:15am, arrived at Hellfire Pass in good time to find good positions around the cenotaph. The service began at 5:30am with dawn breaking and birds starting to chatter in the trees making for a memorable and emotional time. After a gunfire breakfast at Hellfire Pass Museum we returned to Home Phu Toey for breakfast then off to Kanchanaburi for the Wreath Laying Service at 10:00am. This is also an emotional service among the nearly seven thousand graves with our Quiet Lion traveller ex PoW Neil MacPherson giving the address for the POWs. The Junior Members of the Quiet Lion Tour joined with the student members of the Kings College Auckland, New Zealand, to carry the wreaths and present them for laying by the dignitaries from the various embassies stationed in Bangkok. It was great to see the NZ component of ANZAC take part in the ceremony. We enjoyed a couple of drinks courtesy of the NZ Embassy and departed to Tida Loa Riverside Restaurant for lunch at the Bridge over the River Kwai then back to Pung-Waan Resort for swimming and dinner and an early night. Day Ten, to Kanchanaburi Stadium for the ANZAC Cup, an AFL football match, hosted by the Thailand Tigers AFL Football Club versus the Pakistan Markhors. The match was won by the Tigers. Back on the bus again, this time for a lunch appointment at Sampran Riverside, formerly known as the Rose Garden. Lunch was followed by an Elephant show and a Thai cultural show. Back into Bangkok for our last night. Day Eleven, breakfast and a free day in Bangkok for sightseeing, shopping, riding trains and lunch out. Final dinner and wrap up of Quiet Lion Tour 2014. Left for Suvarnabhumi Airport at 8:30pm. A very successful tour completed despite the smaller than usual number that travelled with us. The plane left at midnight and the Perth contingent arrived home safely at 8:00am on Monday morning. David Piesse Tour Leader.    

VALE KHUN KANIT WANACHOTE OAM

The Burma Thailand Railway Memorial Association regrets to advise the death of a good friend and supporter of the association.

Khun Kanit Wanachote (Centre) with exPOWs Neil Macpherson and Milton (Snow) Fairclough at Home Phu Toey.

Khun Kanit Wanachote’s association with Sir Edward “Weary” Dunlop commenced when ex POWs and Thailand Burma Railway survivors Keith Flanagan OAM and Bill Haskell OAM decided in 1985 to organize the 'Weary Dunlop Tour", a tour retracing the course of Surgeon and Force Commander, Colonel (Later Sir) Edward Dunlop and his Force from Java through to Thailand (in World War Two) and having his exploits recognized.

A chance meeting occurred between Sir Edward Dunlop and Khun Kanit Wanachote when the touring party met Khun Kanit whilst traveling up the Kwai Noi River hoping to locate the Kannyu and Hintok River Camps, which were in the region of Hellfire Pass.

Khun Kanit was developing his Home Phu Toey Resort down river from the camps.

With the proximity of Hellfire Pass to his development, Khun Kanit had constantly thought of there being some association between the Burma Thailand Railway and his project and here were a group of Australian ex POWs who had actually been in the area, including the revered Doctor/Surgeon, Sir Edward (Weary) Dunlop, who was already well known. Weary Dunlop and Khun Kanit struck a chord, which was the genesis of an enduring association.

Khun Kanit dedicated a large section of his resort into a Weary Dunlop Park which includes the Weary Dunlop Pavilion.

Khun Kanit Wanachote of Home Phu Toey Resort, Tarsau, Thailand, was nominated for an honorary OAM (General Division) in the Honors and Awards system of Australia.

The nomination submission suggested that Khun Kanit Wanachote, a had served the Australian Community by his contribution to the preservation of Australian/Thailand history. In particular, he had assisted significantly in perpetuating the memory of the privations and sacrifices of Australian Military personnel and the selfless dedication of the medical personnel during the construction of the Burma Thailand Railway in World War 11.

Further, that at the same time he had assisted in reinforcing the establishment of the repute of Australian of the Year, Sir Edward Dunlop.

Khun Kanit had been prominent in the scouting movement in Thailand. He was a Baden Powell Fellow (presented by The King of Sweden) and a member of the Senior Counci1 of the National Scout Assembly of Thailand. Accordingly, he was readily receptive to the concept of youth perpetuating the story of Weary Dunlop and the Burma Thailand Railway and he has always insisted the Quiet Lion Tour stay as his guests at Home Phu Toey Resort, a 190-hectare estate set in beautiful tropical gardens, eighty kilometers upriver from Kanchanaburi and four kilometers from Hellfire Pass.

In excess of 1100 people have been on Quiet Lion Tours and stayed at Home Phu Toey. The number includes 400 juniors as of the 2013 Tour.

Home Phu Toey Resort has become the focus of the Quiet Lion Tours and is central to the annual Anzac Day Dawn Service at Hellfire Pass.

Following are some examples of the contributions of Khun Kanit Wanachote to the success of the Quiet Lion Tours.

After Weary’s death some of his ashes were taken back to Thailand during a tour. A part of the ashes were spread in Hellfire Pass. The balance was floated down the Kwai Noi from Home Phu Toey Resort in a ceremony devised and overseen by Khun Kanit Wanachote.

First the ashes were blessed as those of an “enlightened soul” in a Buddhist ceremony organized by Weary’s medical friends. As they floated down the river on a candle-lit boat at dusk, ten others followed, five launched by Thais and five by Australians. The night finished with fireworks and Weary’s name spelt out in letters of fire on the hillside.

The dominant feature of Home Phu Toey is the Peace Park where Sir Edward’s statue has pride of place. Perched on rails on a ledge on the side of the hill and floodlit, an old locomotive and wagon overlook the scene. There is also the replica of a POW camp.

The Weary Dunlop museum, dedicated by Khun Kanit to his friend “Weary”, overlooks the park guarded by a huge carved wooden statue of “Weary” Dunlop. Sir Edward’s son and other relatives formally opened the Dunlop Museum on 24 April 1997.

The Jack Chalker Gallery is an integral part of Home Phu Toey Peace Park. It was opened on 20 October 2000 by Her Royal Highness Princess Galyani Vadhana.On the eve of each Anzac Day, Khun Kanit caters for the large crowd of visitors and provides the Sound and Light Show where a model "Bridge on the River Kwai" crosses a small stream.

The story of the bombing of the bridge on 24 June 1945 is narrated, combined with the music of the times, sound effects and a miniature train, ending in shattering explosions, gunpowder flashes and the collapse of the central spans of the model bridge. The show sets the tone for the Hellfire Pass Dawn Service and Wreath Laying Ceremony. Sir Edward later referred to "the remarkable" and "rather mysterious" Kanit who was something, he said, of a modern Kublai Khan.When the Quiet Lion Tour party arrived for a five-night stay, Khun Kanit (and before her passing, his wife Khun Oonjai) hosted a welcome dinner and the sound and light show. The tour party dines variously in the Peace Park, the main dining room, on the lawns outside the dining room and on the “Green Beach” by the river and the swimming pool. Khun Kanit provides a farewell dinner in the Weary Dunlop Park and hosts the now famous talent quest concert where Quiet Lion juniors entertain their friend and benefactor. Due to Khun Kanit’s good offices, a Buddhist ceremony is held each year during the Quiet Lion Tour. This ceremony pays homage to those who died in WW11 but in particular to the POWs who died during the construction of the Burma Thailand Railway.On a recent tour where an extra large number of persons were on the tour, Khun Kanit temporarily converted a Conference Centre to a dormitory to accommodate sixteen schoolboys and two housemasters. Without the generosity of Khun Kanit Wanachote it would have been difficult to achieve the objective of the Burma Thailand Railway Memorial Association.

It is not only the history of the Burma Thailand Railway that can be taught to Australian youth by the generosity of Khun Kanit Wanachote. Ex POWs are able to revisit areas where they were incarcerated and thus obtain some closure. The relatives of the POWs are able to also achieve closure by visiting graves and participating in the ceremonies. Being able to visit and experience the Dawn Service at Hellfire Pass and the Wreath Laying Ceremony at Kanchanaburi is a most moving experience. All this is possible due to the generosity of a great man whose attributes were instantly recognized by a great Australian, Sir Edward (Weary) Dunlop.

It was proposed that Khun Kanit was eminently suitable for recognition by the Australian Honors and Award system, notwithstanding by an honorary award. He was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia (OAM) medal in 2010.

The decree stated that Khun Kanit Wanachote, had served the Australian Community by his contribution to the preservation of Australian/Thailand history generally. In particular, he had assisted significantly in perpetuating the memory of the privations and sacrifices of Australian Military personnel and the selfless dedication of the medical personnel during the construction of the Burma Thailand Railway in World War 11. At the same time he had assisted in reinforcing the establishment of the repute of Australian of the Year, Sir Edward Dunlop.

Khun Kanit’s award was presented to him by His Excellency Paul Grigson, Australian Ambassador to Thailand on Australia Day, 2010 at the Australian Embassy, Bangkok. The late Bill Haskell and Burma Thailand Railway Memorial Association Chairman Eric Wilson attended the ceremony.

Without the generosity of Khun Kanit Wanachote it would have been difficult to achieve the objective of the Burma Thailand Railway Memorial Association.

He was born on 15th February 1928 in Surajthanee Province, Thailand. He married Oonjai Wanachote in 1951 and they had three daughters and two sons followed by a number of grand children..

He was educated through external studies at institutions in Thailand England and the United States. He became a teacher, book reviewer and translator and later established a chain of English language schools under the name Home of English.

This venerable gentleman passed away in Bangkok on 1st April 2014 after a lingering illness. Khun Oonjai pre-deceased him.

On the 19th, 20th and 21st July 2014 a series of funereal functions will be held in Thailand concluding with a Loy Unkarn Ceremony where his ashes will be floated down the Kwai Noi River from Home Phu Toey.

 

Tour Information 2017

QUIET LION TOUR 2017

ANZAC DAY DAWN SERVICE AT HELLFIRE PASS

WREATH LAYING KANCHANABURI CEMETERY

Itinerary Click here for itinerary Bookings are now being accepted for QUIET LION TOUR 2017 which departs Perth on 17th April 2017 and returns on 28th April 2017. The Quiet Lion Tours have always featured High School students from around Australia who are sponsored by various charitable and service organisations. The focus on students is to celebrate the work done by the Doctors on the railway and to perpetuate the message that “we may forgive but we will never forget” the horrific story of the Burma Thailand Railway. The tour normally includes survivors of the railway construction, but this is subject to the health of the POW’s and is not guaranteed. The Tour is for 12 days (11 nights) and the focus is on the story of the Australia PoWs, their camps and the Australian doctors culminating in the ANZAC Day Dawn Service in Hellfire Pass and the Memorial Service in the Cemetery at Kanchanaburi. Many sites of Prisoner of War camps, the Bridge on the River Kwai, hospitals sites and other areas of interest are visited as part of the tour. Descendants of exPOW, Experts on the Thai Burma Railway travel on the tour and provide commentaries in addition to English speaking Thai Guides. The Quiet Lion Tours commenced in 1985 and travels to Thailand to honour Sir Edward “Weary” Dunlop, all other Doctors who tended the sick and all the Prisoners of War who were on the Burma Thailand Railway. The tours are operated by the Burma Thailand Railway Memorial Association, a non-profit group dedicated to preserving the memory of those who toiled on the Death Railway as Prisoners of War of the Japanese. Several days are spent in Bangkok for tourist, shopping opportunities and to acclimatise to the local weather conditions.  Accommodation comprises of 4 nights at a top hotel in Bangkok, 1 night at a riverside resort in Kanchanaburi and 6 nights at the Home Phu Toey Resort (on the River Kwai near Hellfire Pass) which includes the Weary Dunlop Peace Park. Arrangements can be made for travel from any State in Australia. Interested people should contact Tour Organiser Ian Holding on M 0418832281 email: iholding@sinosteel.com.au Tour Leader David Piesse on     Tel 9447 7505    email:djpiesse@gmail.com See Booking Conditions here and Application to Travel here Three Tier Bridge Site

NEW WEBSITE CAPTURES MEMORIES OF HELLFIRE PASS

Some of the experiences of Australian Prisoners of War (POWs) at Hellfire Pass during the Second World War are featured in a new website that will help commemorate their plight and raise public awareness. The Burma Thailand Railway Memorial Association has played a part in ensuring that Hellfire Pass in Thailand on the Thai-Burma Railway has become synonymous with the Australian POW experience in Asia. The experience of Australian prisoners at Hellfire Pass and at other locations on the railway was horrendous. More than 13,000 Australian prisoners of war were forced to work on the Thai-Burma Railway. Work commenced on Hellfire Pass in April 1943, with prisoners working grueling 18 hour shifts, day after day, removing large amounts of earth from the cutting. They were forced to live in terrible conditions, often starving, with no medical supplies resulting in a very high death rate with more than 2,800 Australians perishing... Working in partnership with the Australian National University, the Australian Government through the Department of Veterans Affairs have develop a unique website to take visitors on a ‘virtual tour’ through the Hellfire Pass area today and as it was during the Second World War. In 2011 The Chairman of the Burma Thailand Railway Memorial Association Eric Wilson accompanied Professor Joan Beaumont and photographer/graphics specialist Kim McKenzie of the Australian National University on a tour to identify significant sites and places of interest along the Burma Thailand Railway. The completed website gives all Australians the opportunity to explore and learn about the Australian experience at Hellfire Pass. It will allow them to compare what it is like today to how the prisoners experienced it almost 70 years ago. The website uses modern footage as well as historical photographs and GPS referencing to form a ‘virtual tour’ that will include the current walking trail and old camp sites located within the vicinity of Hellfire Pass. Historian, Professor Joan Beaumont of the ANU College of Arts & Social Sciences has said, “The site will provide a wealth of information about the prisoners who lived and died on the pass, with oral histories, eye witness accounts and personal profiles including that of renowned doctor Sir Edward ‘Weary’ Dunlop.” The Australian Government supported this initiative with $91,000 in funding. The website will become the first in a series of websites highlighting significant places for Australians along the Thai-Burma Railway. The ‘virtual tour’ complements the already available Hellfire Pass online audio guide. developed by the Office of Australian War Graves and available on the DVA website www.dva.gov.au/audioguides.htm. It also complements the Burma Thailand Railway Memorial Association website BTRMA.org.au.. It is recommended that interested people, particularly those intending to embark on Quiet Lion Tours, to look at The Hellfire Pass Commemoration Site There are many links on the site.

CHAIRMAN’S REPORT TO BTRMA ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING 9TH SEPTEMBER 2013.

GOVERNMENT REPRESENTATION AT HELLFIRE PASS AND KANCHANABURI WAR CEMETERY. The association continues to press the Department of Veterans Affairs to ensure the Government recognises the importance of the Burma Thailand Death Railway in Australia’s War History by having senior representatives at the Hellfire Pass Dawn Service and the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery wreath laying ceremony. In 2013 the Minister for Defence Stephen Smith and the President of the Senate John Hogg attended with a team from DVA and four ex POWs from the Eastern states. 2014 QUIET LION TOUR. Itinerary has been modified to cater for changing needs. The necessity to ensure juniors do not miss too much school will prevail. Available places will be limited to maximum of 90 persons including 35 juniors. There will be a complete free day at Home Phu Toey. Apart from essential early starting times there will be a relaxing of these start time. Travel agent Karen Branch (principal of Allied Travel) will fill the role of booking arrangements. Secretary Krishna Vanderweide, Tour Leader David Piesse and Ian Holding will liaise with the Chairman in Tour Organization. The numbers of interested parties is high and a full list is very probable. We are confident there at least two ex POWs will be 2014 on tour New operators of Home Phu Toey, Serenata Group and Khun Supererk, will have completed the improvements of the resort but it is likely the tariffs will be increased. The tour cost will remain the same and the Association will make up any shortfall. WEB SITE. Administration changes have been completed and the new format adopted. Roland Lockhart continues to carry out the technical side of managing the website. The web site plays a large part in generating and maintaining interest in the BTRMA and we now have regular queries which we answer or refer to a source of information. A Committee member will be appointed to liaise with the Web Site Manager. NEWSLETTER. Ian Holding continues to do a great job in looking after the formation, printing and distribution of the newsletter. The newsletter has played a very important part in maintaining interest in the Association and the Quiet Lion Tours. The newsletter distribution is becoming increasingly wider and as a result there has been a pleasing increase in the number of donations made. These donations help in subsidizing juniors. KNUN KANIT HEALTH. Our long time host in Thailand has continued to improve, is now feeling quite well and his prognosis is good. TOUR MARKETING. As a result of the active marketing we have at least three large groups considering their options for the next tour. Kunnunurra High School had 23 students and four teachers on the 2013 Tour. Mingenew/Carnamah/Three Springs had two adults and eight juniors and Esperance had eleven juniors and two carers. The Vance family group of nine and nine Eastern States people participated. WORKING WITH CHILDREN. David Piesse and I have Working with Children accreditation. FIRST AID. David Piesse has a St John’s First Aid Course. There were two nurses travelling on the last tour. There were was no medical problems apart from tummy upsets. COMMITTEE. I look forward to remaining as Chairman for a further year. Thanks to all Committee members for their contribution to another successful year. It is pleasing that all members have agreed to remain as a team for another year. Ken Bladen has now ceased his role as a Committee member but will be regarded as an ex-officio member. Ken and Stephanie have provided great service to the BTRMA and we are grateful for their help and wise counsel. Hugh Warden is reducing his involvement and will not nominate for the Senior Vice President position but continue on the Committee. Hugh has been an active and astute participant from the inception of the BTRMA and we are indebted to him. As part of our succession planning Ian Holding will assume the role of Senior Vice President with a view to assuming the role of Chairman (depending on work commitments). Neil MacPherson OAM has always been available as Vice Chairman. Arthur Anstis has continued as a worthy custodian of our funds as Treasurer, Krishna Vanderweide has moved easily and efficiently into the position of Secretary whilst also acting as membership registrar, David Piesse has been the co-tour organiser, tour leader and country liaison officer, Peter Winstanley OAM continues his role of researcher, Wally Holding OAM has helped with his long experience and Alan MacPherson has helped on tours. Our two ex-officio members – Past Chairman Ken Bladen AO and Chaplain Father Barry May OAM - have been very valuable assets, either in our deliberations or being a valuable backstop. We are fortunate to have such worthy people available. Karen Branch of Allied Travel has offered to take a role to complete the cooperation between the BTRMA and the Travel Agent and will be an ex-officio member of the committee. An addition to the committee will be Georgina Wallace, a member of the Holding family. Georgina has volunteered to act as a liaison with our web site custodian Roland Lockhart. SUCCESSION PLANNING. Our dedication to constant rejuvenation and succession planning is proving effective and the long term success of our Association is assured, particularly the popularity of the Quiet Lion Tours which are the cornerstone of our existence. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS. To all committee members, office bearers and former POW’s, thank you for your ongoing dedication and support. I would also like to acknowledge with thanks the ongoing support from the management and staff at Hollywood Hospital in providing us with these facilities to conduct our meetings and functions. Our Association remains committed to the objectives of the BTRMA which were enunciated at our very first Annual Meeting and have been at the forefront of our every endeavour since. Our concentration on our objectives and our reluctance to move outside of their scope has stood us in good stead. We have constantly developed and improved the Quiet Lion Tours to the point where they are recognised by all as historically accurate military tours with the addition of a measure of cultural and tourist experience. The extensive knowledge gathered by our tour team and our Thai guides, plus the presence of exPOWs provides a level of authenticity not generally available. I wish all members and their family’s good health for the coming year and another successful Quiet Lion Tour in 2014 and thank you all for your continued support. My sincere thanks to you all. ELECTION OF COMMITTEE OF MANAGEMENT 2013-2014 Eric WILSON APM CHAIRMAN Ian HOLDING SENIOR VICE CHAIRMAN NEWSLETTER EDITOR Neil MacPHERSON OAM VICE CHAIRMAN Kris VANDERVELDE SECRETARY, MEMBERSHIP REGISTRAR Arthur ANSTIS TREASURER David PIESSE CO/ TOUR ORGANISER/LEADER COUNTRY LIAISON OFFICER Hugh WARDEN (PAST CHAIRMAN and SENIOR VICE CHAIRMAN) Alan MacPHERSON TOUR DUTIES Peter WINSTANLY OAM RFD SPECIAL RESEARCH Georgina WALLACE WEB SITE LIAISON EX OFFICIO COMMITTEE OF MANAGEMENT. Rev. Barry MAY OAM ASSOCIATION CHAPLAIN Wally HOLDING (Sen.) OAM. Karen BRANCH TRAVEL AGENT

CHAIRMAN’S REPORT TO THE 2013 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING (12TH) OF THE ASSOCIATION BY E. WILSON APM.

2013 QUIET LION TOUR. As Chairman I wish to thank all those who helped make it a success. The numbers were up this year. Fifty seven adults & 47 juniors formed the party, a total of 104 persons. Neil MacPherson, David Piesse and Arthur Anstis each co-ordinated a bus. Krishna Vanderweide, Alan MacPherson and Joyce Wilson assisted with general matters. The presence of ex-POWs Neil MacPherson, Snow Fairclough and Wally Holding provided a great presence. Having many members of their families was a great asset The tour went very smoothly. This was due to the detailed planning prior to the tour, the combination and co-operation of the BTRMA personnel, the patience and tolerance of the members of the touring party and the efficiency of the Pacific Horizon Travel staff. Sponsors of juniors were again Wagin Lions, Wally Holding Family Trust, Mandurah RSL, Neil MacPherson and the Peel Health Campus. The Esperance Juniors had sponsorship contributions from a number of local service organizations as did Carnamah-Three Springs-Mingenew. A large group (including 19 students) from Kununurra District High School was a welcome addition. Included in the juniors were youngsters sponsored by the Polly Farmer Foundation which was founded to assist the development of indigenous people. A special variation was made to accommodate the nine member family group from Queensland led by David and Chris Vance. Their father had died at Sonkurai and was initially buried there before being interred at Tanbuyziat (Burma). This group together with a number of families and individuals who had relatives in F Force were taken on a special one-day tour to Three Pagodas Pass including visits to the camp sites of Sonkurai, Kami Sonkurai and Shimo Sonkurai. This was a once-off and appreciated by those concerned. There was the traditional Anzac Cup Australian Rules football match at the Kanchanaburi Stadium hosted by the Thailand Tigers. On this occasion the teams were comprised of Australian ex-pats and youngsters from the Quiet Lion Tour contingent. Members of the Quiet Lion Tour party contributed both on-field and off-field. Thai agent Vivatchai and his staff at Pacific Horizon Travel, the staff at Home Phu Toey and Mick Clarke and the staff at Hellfire Pass Museum were great assets. Particular mention must be made of the excellent behavior of our juniors, the great impression created by the cadets, the dignity of our ex PoWs, the work of our Committee members in general and the great camaraderie of our tour party. Anzac Day this year was notable for the attendance at the Hellfire Pass Dawn Service and the Kanchanaburi Wreath Laying Ceremony by Minister of Defence Stephen Smith and Leader of the Senate John Hogg, with three Eastern States exPOWs. 2014 TOUR PLANNING. Bookings are now being accepted for the 2014 Tour. The numbers will be limited to 90 included a maximum of 35 juniors. Land costs and airline charges could be higher in 2014 but we will keep the adult prices at the 2013 level but increase the Junior’s price by $100.00 (The Association will carry the cost of any deficit with help from our members who add donations to the membership subscriptions. The Association will also again bear the cost of gratuities to the Pacific Horizon staff and automatically make all travelers financial members of the Association.

OFFICE BEARERS OF BTRMA 2016-2017

CHAIRMAN/ ENQUIRY RESEARCH ERIC WILSON APM OAM
SENIOR VICE CHAIRMAN / NEWSLETTER EDITOR /TOUR ORGANISER IAN HOLDING
VICE CHAIRMAN NEIL MacPHERSON OAM
SECRETARY/ TREASURER / MEMBERSHIP REGISTRAR KRISHNA VANDERWEIDE
WEBSITE LIAISON / NEWSLETTER COMPILER ELIZABETH BRENNAN
SPECIAL RESEARCH PETER WINSTANLY OAM RFD
COUNTRY LIAISON OFFICER/TOUR LEADER DAVID PIESSE
(PAST CHAIRMAN and PAST SENIOR VICE CHAIRMAN) HUGH WARDEN OAM
PAST TREASURER ARTHUR ANTSIS
TOUR DUTIES ALAN MacPHERSON

EX OFFICIO COMMITTEE OF MANAGEMENT

KEN BLADEN OA (Past Chairman)

ADVISERS

STEPHANIE BLADEN.

LIFE MEMBERS

NEIL MACPHERSON OAM,KEN BLADEN OA, HUGH WARDEN OAM.

DECEASED LIFE MEMBERS

KEITH FLANAGAN OAM, BILL HASKELL OAM, JIM ALLPIKE, KEN WOOD, PHILLIP BEILBY, ERNIE REDMAN, GEORGE WISEMAN, WALLY HOLDING OAM , BILL MONKS, GORDON ROBERTS, CHARLIE CHAPPLE, JACK BOON, MILTON FAIRCLOUGH OAM, ERIC ROEDIGER AND JACK THORPE OAM.

Address by Her Excellency Ms Quentin Bryce AC Governor-General – Kanchanaburi 2011

ADDRESS BY HER EXCELLENCY MS QUENTIN BRYCE AC GOVERNOR-GENERAL OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA. ON THE OCCASION OF ANZAC Day COMMEMORATIVE SERVICE KANCHANABURI WAR CEMETERY, THAILAND 25 APRIL 2011.

Friends, I am honoured to join you at the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery.

Here we commemorate the lives of those men who gave their today for our tomorrow 1 .

Our hearts break as we remember their courage, in the face of extreme torture.

Our brave heroes – many so young.

Their sacrifices enshrined in these graves; in this serene place that echoes with their suffering.

“Speedo! Speedo! Speedo! 2

Frenzied beatings followed barked orders.

They toiled in misery: drilling, blasting and digging through solid rock, in disease ridden and formidable terrain, shivering uncontrollably with malaria, dysentery, cholera, beriberi.

Ugly ulcers wept through filthy rag bandages . 3

In the huts, bedridden patients languished three deep, head to foot on unforgiving bamboo slats.

There was no medical equipment.

No drugs, no bedpans, no soap, no disinfectants.

But wonderful dedicated care by Australian doctors, skilled and ingenious.

The best known was ‘Weary’ Dunlop.

“His simple, gentle, tenacious leadership still dominates my life today,”

Tom Uren told me yesterday.

Dr Mike Kelly, who sits in our Federal Parliament and whose grandfather, Gunner Joseph Kelly, was at Hellfire Pass, says: “All that kept them alive was the mutual support they gave each other…their enduring bonds of mateship ”4; a smile, a laconic laugh, a gentle whisper. They clung to those special bonds of brotherly love.

Affection, that made the unbearable bearable.

They risked their lives: fleecing guard’s vehicles for tubing to use as cannulas, scrounging for scraps of cloth, leather, rubber, string, wire, nails, screws, tins, to build artificial limbs 5

By October 1943, more than 12,300 soldiers had died from illness, overwork, beatings or accidents.

I am privileged to have travelled with four of our countrymen: Mr Alexander Arthurson, Mr Cyril Gilbert, Mr William Schmitt, The Hon. Tom Uren.

And I know others who may also be here today.

All fine, courageous veterans who carry the physical and emotional scars of their own time on the railway.

They join us to honour the 1,362 Australians who rest in peace, in this place; to remember our British, Dutch and other allies, and the labourers from China, India, Malaya, Indonesia and Burma who suffered alongside them.

In the words of Pericles: The whole earth is the tomb of heroic men.

Neither is their name graven only in stone which covers their clay, but abideth everywhere wrought in the stuff of other men’s lives 6.

For many who survived, their recollections are “so clear they almost frighten 2 ” –

“It was a blur of continuous work, mates dying, guards bellowing, heavy loads carried, fever in tides of heat and cold, dysentery and hunger.”

A debt of gratitude, respect and love is owed.

Lest we forget.

      References Inscription on the memorial at the War Graves Cemetery at Thanbyuzayat, Burma. Savage, R. A guest of the Emperor. 2004 Australians on the Burma-Thailand Railway 1942-43. P. 49. Department of Veterans’ Affairs. 2003. Dr Mike Kelly. Personal diaries. Walker, Allan S. Middle East and Far East ‘Clinical problems of war’. 1962. Pericles honouring the Athenian dead 430 BC      

Address by Her Excellency Ms Quentin Bryce AC Governor-General – Helfire Pass 2011

ADDRESS BY HER EXCELLENCY MS QUENTIN BRYCE AC GOVERNOR-GENERAL OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

ON THE OCCASION OF ANZAC DAY DAWN SERVICE HELLFIRE PASS, THAILAND 25 APRIL 2011

Friends, thank you for travelling to Hellfire Pass to see in this Anzac dawn.

Today is a pilgrimage. Alongside one another here, and with countless others throughout the world, we journey to the places that war has etched and scarred.

The theatres of conflict.

The graves and cenotaphs.

The shrines and memorials.

Our minds and memories.

Here, in the Thai jungle, standing on the bones of the “Death Railway” at the withered heart of darkness 1 .

Our silence begs the relentless hammer and tap of our soldiers’ tools; the Last Post’s haunting final wail as another succumbs to the brutal toil.

Our torchlight recalls the long-lit, gruelling nights of work, the days that never gave way to nourishment and sleep.

Our soldiers’ strange and gruesome battlefield.

Not the sort they’d imagined: bullets, bayonets, mortar blasts; hand-to-hand combat on the front line; courage under fire.

The fire here was from hell, they said.

It needed a different kind of courage 2 .

Exiled from the Allied war effort, and held captive to advancing its defeat our soldiers braved a battle fought in the shadows.

In the shadows of the hell fires. In the shadows of their captors’ torture and menace.

In the shadows of their ravaged frames and private anguish.

It was in this impenetrable, malarial jungle of monsoon deluges, saw-toothed mountainous rock, crocodiles, scorpions, snakes and mosquitoes,that our soldiers built a railway with a few crude pulleys, derricks and mixers, and their mighty bare hands.

In ten months: four million cubic metres of rock was shifted, 14 kilometres of bridgework constructed.

Our soldiers, prisoners-of-war, among an extraordinary slave-labour force: 30,000 British; 18,000 Dutch; 13,000 Australians; 700 Americans; and with them, 250,000 Asians 3 .

As the aggressors grew anxious to expand their offensive, so the toll grew, on our soldiers’ lives and wellbeing.

Abject cruelty and neglect, increasingly signified their treatment.

Inevitably crippling fatigue, starvation, horrific sickness, disease and death gouged their ranks.

Just about everything was filthy: the miserable rations, the water, the men’s bodies, their loin cloths, their rotten wounds and ulcers, the brazen inhumanity.

But there were some things that transcended the filth.

The feisty dictum that the path home is an empty mess bowl, no matter what was dished up 4 .

The miracle workers in the makeshift hospitals.

The men’s spirits: somehow impossibly sustained by faith and hopes and dreams; the poetry of Keats and Arnold; their own quiet lullabies; a budding Plumbago flower; a decent, gutsy laugh.

Their deep, generous, tender friendships.

The fires that burned in their starving bellies.

The home fires they burned for one another.

Long after the war, when Chilla Goodchap nursed his wife before her death, he thought of his dead mates:

In Burma we would link up in a group of say four or five, and work as a family.

You’d know every mortal thing about them.

They’ve told you every one of their stories of home, and their upsets and their pleasures. With those five fellows, no matter what you get you’d share, and if one bloke is crook, you stand with a bloke, in his dying moments, his bloody awful bloody death, and you’re holding his bloody hand 5 .

Friends, let this new day, this Anzac sunrise, blaze in the deeds and memories of the tens of thousands of soldiers who suffered and died and rest here now.

In those who survived the filth and rallied to rebuild their bodies and lives, find their families, and hold onto their mates. In those who are with us today to affirm the injustice, the pain and the torment, and the long, slow road back to healing and living well.

I sincerely thank my fellow countrymen, my companions, for showing me the way today.

Mr Lex Arthurson

Mr Cyril Gilbert

Mr Bill Schmitt

The Hon Tom Uren

And with us, Mr Neil McPherson.

Fine, courageous, knowing veterans of this place, who join all of us here to honour the wartime sacrifice of those we love and respect.

In the aftermath of such atrocity, let us be thankful for the lessons of war; for what Anzac Day offers every year in growing our wisdom; and for the mutual sense and compassion of our governments in preserving this memorial to honesty, peace and understanding.

The fires will always burn here, as they should, in rightful remembrance of all they destroyed and all they nurtured.

The fires from hell.

The fires in the bellies.

The home fires of mates who made their terrible way together here, who built a railway in the jungle by hand – our soldiers of the Hellfire battle. Friends of Australia and Thailand.

Lest we forget.

References

Cameron Forbes used this metaphor in his book, Hellfire, Pan Macmillam Australia, 2005, Chapter 17 “Hearts of Darkness”, p 279

Ibid, Chapter 1 “A Different Courage”, p 1

Ibid, p 263

Ibid, p 299

Ibid, p 289

Bill Haskell (OAM) Obituary

Bill Haskell was born at Fremantle on 9th May 1920 and died just short of his 91 st birthday on the first of May 2011. Bill was one of nine children. His father Bernie came with his parents to the Eastern Goldfields and later to Fremantle. Bill’s dad Bernie married Vera Sullivan in 1910 and the family home was established in Gill Street, East Fremantle.

Bill had his formative years in the pre-depression and depression period. He attended the Richmond Primary School and Fremantle Boys High School where completed his Junior Certificate.

His first job was as a lowly paid messenger boy in Fremantle followed by general and junior clerical work at the Robbs Jetty Meatworks. He commenced part time studies in accountancy.

When World War 11 broke out he tried without success to join the Navy. At 19yrs he joined the 16th Battalion Cameron Highlanders and completed a three month camp at Northam.

In November of 1940, after enlisting in the AIF, he went to the Woodside Camp in South Australia until in April 1941 he sailed away the 2/3 rd Machine Gun Battalion after pre-embarkation leave.

Bill was the first of his family to enlist but before the end of the war his Mum had seven of her nine children overseas.

He was on the Isle de France in a convoy with the Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth 11, Aquitania, Mauritania and the Andes which called at Colombo and terminated at Port Tewfik on the Suez Canal. They later served in Palestine and in Tel Aviv.

The 2/3 rd Machine Gun Battalion then saw action in Syria and later were in Mrouj, near Beirut in Lebanon.

In February 1942 they traveled on the RMS Orcades via Durban, South Africa, to Oosthaven in South Sumatra. They disembarked for a short time before returning aboard and sailed to Batavia. (Jakarta) and then by road to Bandoeng.

On 9 th March 1942 the Dutch surrendered (including the Australians).

Life in the Bandoeng prison camp was not good but better than what was experienced later on in Thailand. Food, clothing and medical supplies were between non-existent and very short.

After nearly a year in Bandoeng, Dunlop Force went to Makasura before being shipped to Changi Prison on Singapore for a short time.

In January 1943 they went by train to Thailand and to the Konyu River Camp, the Hintok River Camp and the Hintok Road Camp. Bill later worked on the Thadan Bridge over the Maeklong River before transferring to a river transit camp at Tamuang.

Conditions in the camps on the Railway were dreadful; starvation, ill-treatment, brutality, disease and no clothing, medical supplies or even the most basic of personal requirements. Only mateship and valiant Doctors and medical staff got some of them through. In the “speedo” period when the Japanese tried to accelerate the building of the railway it got worse. Every disease known to man was prevalent with cholera, dysentery, malaria, beri-beri, vitaminosis and lethal ulcerated legs rife.

Their work was moving dirt, timber, rock and other materials by hand and carving through solid rock with only hand-tools. Terrible accidents were frequent.

All this time they had no news of home and very little knowledge of the outside world.

After the construction phase of the railway, Bill travelled from Tamuang Camp to Singapore in the primitive rail-cars before sailing, on 4 th July 1944, with 3,000 other prisoners, to Japan in one of the “Hell” ships, the Byoki Maru. The voyage lasted ten weeks.

Bill spent almost 12 months at the Ohama Coal Mine under the Sea of Japan.

Conditions there were again dreadful with the heat replaced by the cold and having to work in narrow tunnels under the sea. Food was as scarce, as it had been in Thailand, due to the overall conditions in Japan.

After the atomic bombs were dropped the POWs were liberated.

Bill always remembered the parachuted supply drops in 44 gallon drums, some of which burst.

In the drums were many supplies but Bill remembered most of all the Hershey’s Tropical Chocolate and the Campbell’s Pea Soup because he sat next to the broken drums and ladled soup into his mouth at the same time having bites of chocolate.

The Prisoners of War were then able to also assist the local Japanese, particularly the kids. The locals had had a pretty tough time and were as deprived of food and clothing as the prisoners.

Liberation was wonderful but it took Bill and his mates a long time to get home by various ships. They travelled via Osaka to the port at Wakayama where Bill was overawed by the number of naval ships at anchor. As with the soup and chocolate, Bill always remembered the hot showers and the Lifebuoy soap. The next joy was being kitted out with “T” shirts, trousers and boots. (His first experience of denim jeans). Then there was the next piece of heaven. Ice cream, fresh bread and plenty of butter.

It was at Wakayama that Bill first heard of the Atomic bomb.

From Wakayama, Bill’s group boarded the hospital ship “USS Consolation. Another new experience; white linen sheets and pillow cases…. and nurses.

From the USS Consolation, Bill and his group were transferred to a Liberty Ship, the USS Haskell and taken to Okinawa and then Manila where they boarded the escort carrier the Speaker and travelled to Sydney. After a short stay at Ingleburn Army Camp Bill then travelled on the Dominion Monarch to Fremantle.

It had not been until Bill arrived in Manila that he that he was officially acknowledged as being recovered. His Mum had been very ill in hospital. The war had just about caught up with her, all her children were overseas, one had been killed in New Guinea and Bill had not been heard of for three and a half years.

Bill’s sister Emily was a nurse serving in New Guinea and returned home on compassionate leave. She and Bill’s dad were the only people at home the day a telegram boy arrived on his bike at the house. The worst was feared. Bill’s dad opened the telegram and on getting the great news gave the telegram boy ten bob (a fortune in those days) and ran down the street yelling “it’s Bill, its Bill”.

Emily was unaware of what was happening because she had been in the shower when Dad answered the door and she was the last in the street the last to know. Bill’s mum received the news at the Mount Hospital and recovered to be at the wharf for the family welcome to the homecoming POWs.

After a period in the Point Walter Camp through to Christmas 1945, Bill resumed his pre-war work at Robbs Jetty as quick as possible and re-established his life. An opportunity arose to obtain a position in the Commonwealth Public Service and although it would mean a drop in income, the prospect of security was inviting as he had met his future wife Dulcie Neave. He accepted a position as a base range clerk with the Taxation Department and then found out that his military service entitled him to tax free status for two years. All the tax paid on the overtime at Robbs Jetty was thus returned.

Through long hours of part time study Bill qualified as an accountant and had a life-long career with the Taxation Department.

Bill married, built a home and raised a family. He also resumed his pre-war sport of lacrosse (representing his State) and later commenced his early morning swimming.

Bill always mentioned his delightful wife Dulcie and how she was able to cope with his post-war problems, particularly stomach ulcers and the effect on his diet.

Bill returned to Hellfire Pass with Weary Dunlop on a special tour via Jakarta and Singapore in 1985 and again in1987. He has returned to the area many times since with Quiet Lion Tours and other special visits such as Keith Flanagan’s Loi Kratong and Khun Kanit Wanachote’s OAM award. One special visit was after our “Grand Tour” in 2009 when we visited Jack Chalker and many other friends in England. Bill’s joy at meeting his friends and touring Somerset, Devon, Dorset, Cornwall and Hampshire was palpable.

Bill Haskell joined with Keith Flanagan in convincing Weary Dunlop to publish his war diaries and they then worked together to keep the story of Weary Dunlop and the Burma Thailand Railway alive. They commenced the Quiet Lion Tours to Thailand for Anzac Day and were later co-founders of the Burma Thailand Railway Memorial Association.

The BTRMA has now conducted 18 Quiet Lion Tours. There have been in excess of 1,300 people taken on Quiet Lion Tours including over 300 High School Students and other juniors.

Bill, together with Keith Flanagan and Ken Wood, played a major part in establishing the Boon Pong-Weary Dunlop Medical Foundation which has been responsible for training in excess of 60 young Thai Doctors in specialist surgical fields under a mentoring scheme.

In the Australia Day Honours List for 2004 Bill Haskell, together with his long-time friend Keith Flanagan, was awarded the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for “Service to the community, particularly through establishing public educational tours to the Burma Thailand Railway”.

Bill died at home of 1 st May 2011. His wife Dulcie, with whom he shared a deep devotion, pre-deceased him by a number of years.

Bill Haskell was a man of many interests and amassed a large group of good friends from all over the world, particularly Thailand. Bill was a devout Christian, a life-long early morning swimmer with the Port Beach Polar Bears, had an abiding interest in history, particularly military history, was an active participant in Probus and was a life-long supporter of the East Fremantle Football Club.

More than any of this, Bill Haskell was a great family man and his principal legacy is a fine group of children, grand-children and great grand children who have an exemplar beyond comparison on whom they can model their own lives.

He was a loved father of June, Douglas and Errol, father in law of Steve, Maureen and Barbara, “Pop” of Christabel and Matthew, Andrew, Mark and Leah, Marcia and Nathan, Carla and Nicco and Great Grand Poppy of Zane, Casey, Cody, Noah and Oliver.

  AS THE SUN SLOWLY SETS……………… DAWN WILL SEE IT ARISE FOR SERVICE ABOVE SELF……………… DEMANDS ITS OWN PRIZE YOU HAVE FOUGHT THE GOOD FIGHT… LIFES RACE HAS BEEN RUN AND PEACE YOUR REWARD…………….. FOR ETERNITY BEGUN AND WE ARE THAT LEFT ………………… WILL NEVER FORGET REST IN PEACE FRIEND AND COLLEAGUE…….. FOR THE SUN HAS NOW SET.    

Descendants of POWS on the Burma Thailand Railway return.

The Burma Thailand Railway Memorial Association, a group of veterans and supporters who have resolved to perpetuate the memory of the Burma Thailand Railway and the ordeal of Prisoners of War of the Japanese, once again took a tour to Thailand for the 2011 Anzac Day Dawn Services at Hellfire Pass and the Wreath Laying ceremony at Kanchanaburi.

The Association has conducted annual pilgrimages to Thailand in the form of Quiet Lion Tours (named for Sir Edward “Weary” Dunlop regularly since 1997. High School students have always been a priority in order to perpetuate the story. The numbers of juniors have increased each year, partly due to a number of generous sponsors and contributing groups.

The 2011 Quiet Lion Tour to Thailand was significant due the attendance of the Governor General Australia, Her Excellency Quentin Bryce, who was accompanied by a group of survivors of the Burma Thailand Railway; the Hon. Tom Uren, Lex Arthurson, Cyril Gilbert and Bill Schmitt. Another survivor present was Neil MacPherson who traveled with the Quiet Lion Tour. Regular ex POW travelers Bill Haskell and Milton Fairclough were unable to travel due to illness.

Over the years a host of people who had kin on the Railway have achieved closure on the tours. This was the case in 2011 when the following traveled:-

Richard and Sally Steel of Toowoomba Queensland . Richard's father was John Hart Steel VX24121 of 2/2 Pioneers who died at Tamarkan;

Ron and Bronwen Walker of Mildura Victoria . Ron's father was Harry Walker VX 22708 of 2/2nd Pioneers. Harry went to coal mines in Japan after the railway was finished and survived).

Jenny and Peter Caddy of Port Pirie, South Australia . Jenny’s uncle was Edward Thomas Sorrell, 2/3MGB Dunlop Force. Ted died at Tarsau Hospital on 11/11/43 after time at Hintok. (Bill Haskell knew him well from Java on);

Jan and Phillip Burbury of Woodbury, Tasmania . Phillip’s kin was Claude Samuel Iles, TX4214 CCS.

John and Francis Kennedy of Arcadia, Victoria and their daughter Bronwen Stewart and grandson Matt of Sebastopol, Victoria . John Kennedy’s uncle (Crocodile Kennedy) was a padre and prisoner captured in Java. and later sent to Mukden (Manchuria).

Max and Sue Cunnington . Max’s father was Sandy Cunnington of the 2/3MGB.

David Piesse . His father was Ron Piesse of the 2/3 MGB.

Susan Harrington was part of a large contingent from the Harrington family. Her father was Frank Thaxter. Frank Thaxter was also a member of the 2/3 rd Machine Gun Battalion. Frank Thaxter and Susan returned on an earlier occasion to the Railway on a Quiet Lion Tour before Frank passed away.

Jan and Phillip Hawkins and Jan’s brother, Terry Cant, of Melville . Jan and Terry’s father was Albert Ronald Cant 2/7th Field Battery.

Neil MacPherson of the 2/2 Pioneers has been a member of the Burma Thailand Railway Memorial Association and travels each year. His son Alan and grand-daughters Gypsy O’Dea, Krishna Vanderweide, Shannon Pearce and Jemima Butterworth toured.

Emma Egerton-Warburton . Her Grand Father is Wally Holding of the 2/4MGB who is a member of the Burma Thailand Memorial Association management committee.

At the traditional Concert held on the final night of the stay at the Home Phu Resort all of the above performed a joint item as direct descendants of prisoners on the Railway.

 On 17 th April 2012 the Quiet Lion Tour will again take many such travelers to the Railway.

     

Eddy Sorrell Story

SOUTH AUSTRALIAN POW REMEMBERED

The 2011 Quiet Lion Tour to Thailand for the Anzac Day Dawn Service at Hellfire Pass and the Wreath Laying ceremony at Kanchanaburi (both attended by the Governor General Quinton Brice) was significant to a South Australian couple from Port Pirie; Jenny and Peter Caddy.

Jenny’s uncle was Edward Thomas Sorrell, SX8795 of the Second Third Machine Gun Battalion and Dunlop Force on the Burma Thailand Railway. For many years the family only knew the basic details of Eddie’s service and the manner of his death on the Railway. They knew he died at Tarsau Hospital on 11/11/43. It was a source of much pain that they though he may have died from cholera as the date of death coincided with the latter end of the cholera epidemic.

The Burma Thailand Railway Memorial Association from Western Australia has for many years conducted their Quiet Lion tours to Thailand and has also assembled an extensive data base on prisoners of war of the Japanese. They also have a strong working relationship with the Thai Burma Railway Centre in Kanchanaburi which has become an authority on the Railway under the management of Australian ex-pat Rod Beattie.

Jenny contacted the Association regarding Eddie Sorrell and within days had comprehensive details of Eddie’s service and the manner of his death. Not only that but one of the founders of the Burma Thailand Railway Memorial Association and an originator of the Quiet Lions Tours, the late Bill Haskell, personally knew Eddie. They became friends from the early days of the formation of the 2/3 Machine Gun Battalion and their course was parallel through to the Hintok Mountain Camp near Hellfire Pass.

Eddie was much older than most of the rest and became critically ill at Hintok. He was transferred to Tarsau Hospital camp where he died of dysentery. (This news afforded some relief to the family because of the fear that he died of cholera). Eddie was buried at Tarsau but his remains were recovered after the war and interred at Kanchanaburi Hospital.

Jenny and Peter then decided to travel with the Quiet Lion Tour and were able to visit the camps where Eddie had worked, travel the majority of the remaining railway and lay a wreath on Eddie’s grave after the ceremony at Kanchanaburi War Cemetery. They were able to spend time at the sites of both the Hintok Mountain Camp, the Kinsayok Camp and the Tarsau Hospital camp as well as walking the Heritage Trail from Hintok Cutting to Hellfire Pass (Konyu) Cutting.

Unfortunately Bill Haskell had to pull out of the tour due to illness and he died as the tour finished. Jenny and Peter did get the chance to speak with Bill by telephone before the tour.

Jenny and Peter Caddy have expressed their deep gratitude for the help of the BTRMA and for the experience of the Quiet Lion Tour. Excerpts from their summary of the tour and their observations follow.

“THOUGHTS ON THE QUIET LION TOUR 2011

We were first time participants in a Quiet Lion Tour and returned home from the 2011 tour enriched, extended and satisfied. Eric Wilson’s summary of the tour in a BTRMA newsletter reignited these feelings. Through our initial contact with Eric Wilson and the BTRMA, we learned of the mission of the Association, “to perpetuate the memory of privations and sacrifices of Allied Prisoners of War and the selfless dedication of the medical personnel during the construction of the Burma Thailand Railway by informing current and future generations through all forms of education and particularly with Quiet Lion Tours” ... idealistic and admirable aims.

These aims were achieved with excellence on the Quiet Lion Tour 2011. From our first enquiry of Eric Wilson regarding the tour, it was obvious that we were dealing with both a person and an association possessing exceptional passion for their cause. Then, as soon as we met Eric Wilson, David Piesse, ex POW Neil McPherson and all the group members we knew we had made the best decision of our lives and that we were in for a memorable time. These wonderful people gave their all to make our tour worthwhile, well organised, enjoyable and unforgettable.

We marveled at the knowledge of Eric and David and their success in ensuring that all group members gained the utmost from each session. Neil MacPherson supported Eric and David as they told the story of the Railway.

Bill Haskell and ex POW Snow Fairclough was referred to frequently. We heard of Bill’s death at the end of the tour and we mourned with those who knew him personally. We rejoiced for the remarkable person that Bill was. There were so many truly memorable moments for us on the tour, not the least of which was unraveling so much of the story, with Eric’s help, of an uncle who died on The Line and whom we discovered was not only in Dunlop Force, but who was also a good friend of Bill Haskell. Finding Ted Sorrell’s grave at Kanchanaburi Cemetery was a particularly poignant moment. So very memorable, too, were the Anzac Day services, the Heritage Walk, the train journey along The Line, the Hellfire Pass Museum, beautiful and serene Home Phu Toey, Chungkai Cemetery and the gradual piecing together of the puzzle through sites at Nakom Patom, Non Pladuk, Banpong, Tamuan, Kanchanburi, Tamarkan, Chungkai, Wampo, Tarsau, Konyu, Hellfire Pass, Hintok, Kinsayok and Takanun.

The whole tour was a highlight for us. We feel greatly privileged to have been given this opportunity to learn at first hand the rigours and hardships of the POWs and medical teams on The Line, the beauty yet the challenges of the Thai jungle, the selfless contributions of wonderful local people such as Kun Kanit Wanachote and Boon Pong Sirivejaphan, and, last but not least, the inspiring life of Weary Dunlop and his fellow medicos such as Arthur Moon and Ewen Corlette.”

Jenny and Peter Caddy Port Pirie SA

Hellfire Pass Museum Journal

After the location of the original rail trace and the creation of the Heritage (Walking) Trail along the section of the Burma Thailand Railway between Konnyu Cutting (Hellfire Pass) and Compressor Cutting, the above museum and interpretive facility was established. The Australian Thai Chamber of Commerce played a significant part in the early work and the Museum was built by the Australian Government with the cooperation of the Thai Government and the Thai Military Development Command. An information booklet was inaugurated by Ken Bradley of AustCham and over the years many editions have been revised and issued. In 2010 Rod Beattie, Bill Haskell and Eric Wilson combined to bring the publication up to date with new photographs, revised articles and a brighter appearance. The new issue has now been printed and will be officially launched to coincide with Anzac Day 2011. Genuine copies are available through the Hellfire Pass Museum, the Thailand Burma Railway Centre and the Burma Thailand Railway Memorial Association.

Stan Herron’s Shirt

Stan Herrons Shirt

Shirt Front

Stan Herrons Shirt back

Shirt back

This Japanese issue unbleached calico undershirt belonged to POW NX48180 Private Stanley Herron. It was on display at the POW gallery at the Australian War Memorial Canberra for many years.

The entire body of the shirt and part of the sleeves are covered in indelible pencil signatures and addresses, most of which have been over embroidered in red, blue, green, yellow and mauve stem stitch. Those signatures on the sleeves which have not been embroidered are now illegible. The name of the owner of the shirt has been machine embroidered on the left sleeve in the 1970s, 'STAN HERRON 2/20 Bn'. There is a brown and green embroidered cartoon on the back of the shirt with the caption '"Who called the cook a b_?" "Who called the b_ a cook!". The drawing was made by Leon Leon Leleux a very gifted artist.   Stan’s story NX48180 Private Stanley Herron was born in England in 1914, later emigrating to Australia. He enlisted for service in World War 2 in Sydney on 24 September 1941 and served first with 2/19 Battalion. The battalion was posted to Malaya with the 8th Division and Herron later transferred to 2/20 Battalion. He escaped from Singapore on a Chinese boat shortly before the surrender to the Japanese and reached Java, where he joined an Australian-bound ship. It was bombed by the Japanese and Herron ended up in a lifeboat. After drifting for five days he landed on Java again, escaped to the hills and joined a guerrilla group but was forced to surrender to the Japanese when they threatened to kill local villagers. He was taken to Singapore and then sent to work on the Burma-Thailand railway. He avoided a double amputation of his feet due to tropical ulcers, after doctors applied maggots to clean them out and eventually returned to Singapore Changi - River Valley Road Camp. From here he was sent by sea on the Hell Ship Awa Maru to work in the coal mines at Senryu in the mountains of Japan and it was there that he was issued with the calico undershirt. Herron did not wear the shirt but kept it under the floorboards taking it out for fellow prisoners to sign in indelible pencil, after the Japanese surender. The shirt eventually had about 200 names on it, some of them added immediately after his release, before he was repatriated to Australia. The signatures include those of fellow 8th Division prisoners of war and those of survivors from HMAS Perth and USS Houston who were sunk in Sunda Strait in 1942. The cartoon about the cook refers to Herron's experience as a cook in the mines.   Herron was evacuated through Nagasaki 5 weeks after the atomic bombing, by US Carrier Chenango to Okinawa, B24 Bomber to Manilla and HMS Formidable to Sydney, was discharged from the army on 3 December 1945. His wife Betty embroidered over the names after the war when she noticed that the pencilled signatures and addresses were fading. Before she donated the shirt to the Australian War Memorial she realised that her husband, who had died in 1967, has never signed the shirt, so she had his name machine embroidered on the left sleeve. The names of the following Australians have been identified on the shirt: After pains taking work by fellow prisoner Neil MacPherson VX45260 Corporal Ian James Cameron, 2/29 Battalion QX14696 W O Class Two John Michael Collins, 2/10 Field Regiment NX72294 Sapper Robert Davis, 2/12 Field Company B3093 Able Seaman Charles Arthur Goodchap, HMAS PERTH QX13325 Gunner Charles Edward Helmhold, 2/10 Field Regiment NX49013 Sergeant Colville Duffy, 2/20 Battalion NX26885 Driver Vincent Joseph Augustine Leonard, 2/30 Battalion VX56830 Private William Douglas Rhook, 2/2 Pioneer Battalion WX7355 Sapper Harry Roy Ribbins, 2/6 RAE NX25602 Driver James Hynd Richardson, AASC QX14246 Signalman Robert Francis Rolfe, 8 Corps of Signals VX47141 Private Harry Victor Rooke, 2/29 Battalion NX42406 Sapper Thomas Sisson, 2/12 Field Company NX37543 Lance Sergeant Oswald Victor Skinner, 2/30 Battalion VX56184 Private Kenneth James Swanson, 2/2 Pioneer Battalion VX24166 Private Kenneth Cicil Tingate, 2/29 Battalion VX34519 Corporal Richard Lloyd Trewin, 2/2 Pioneer Battalion NX58037 Sergeant Ronald Lawrence Tulloch, Headquarters 8 Division NX49365 Private Donald Leo Walker, 2/18 Battalion NX28436 Gunner Kenneth William Wills, 2/15 Battalion NX33605 Signalman Noel Frederick Adamson, 8 Corps of Signals NX72557 Private Frederick James Asser, 2/19 INF NX67807 Sapper Noel Robert Baker, 2/12 Field Company VX55245 Private Frederick James Barnstable, 2/2 Pioneer Battalion VX61315 Private George Gregory Beavis, 4 Australian RES MT NX65921 Corporal Frederick Joseph Bentley, 2/6 Field Company NX59568 Sapper Stanley Charles Booth, 2/6 Field Company NX35494 Driver Stanley Brodie Cannon, 2/19 Battalion S5930 Able Seaman Francis Charles Chattaway, HMAS PERTH VX47817 Corporal Charles Edward Clark, 2/29 Battalion NX45053 Private John Arthur Cooper, 2/19 Battalion 22886 Able Seaman Ronald Frederick Crick, HMAS PERTH NX35317 Private Robert Henry Darling, 2/19 Battalion QX15584 Gunner Victor Robert James Drane HMAS PERTH NX35317 Private Robert Henry Darling, 2/19 Battalion QX15584 Gunner Victor Robert James Draney, 2/10 Field Regiment NX66461 Sapper Duncan Campbell Ferguson, 2/6 Field Company VX19538 Corporal William Finch, 2/2 Australian Pioneer Battalion NX23295 Private Fred Gilbert, 2/18 Battalion VX56017 Private Richard Gill, 2/2 Pioneer Battalion QX10431 Lance Corporal Robert Leslie Gourley, 2/26 Battalion NX48180 Private Stanley Heron, 2/20 Battalion NX54516 Sapper Arthur George Holloman, 2/12 Field Company NX4734 Driver William Thomas Hudson, 105 General Transport Company NX29972 Corporal John Robert Israel, 2/18 Battalion NX26566 Gunner Eric John Jenner, 2/15 Field Regiment NX69341 Driver William Killian, 2/3 Reserve M T Company NX30981 Gunner Timothy Bayton Lee, 2/15 Field Regiment WX16572 Private Neil Ormiston MacPherson, 2/2 Pioneer Battalion VX45047 Corporal Ernest Marson, 2/2 Pioneer Battalion WX13285 Private Jack Maude, 2/4 Machine Gun Battalion NX71593 Driver James Patrick McCraw, 2/3 MT VX38580 Gunner Keith Ross McKenzie, 4 Anti Tank Regiment NX31833 Lance Corporal John Harold McQuire, 2/12 Field Company NX52577 Private John Stevenson Meek, 2/20 Battalion VX22505 Private Michael Norton, 2/2 Pioneer Battalion X19734 Corporal William George Nutt, 2/2 Pioneer Battalion NX16288 Sapper Thomas Victor Phillips, 2/6 Field Company QX12254 Private George Albert Pill, 2/26 Battalion VX23691 Lance Sergeant William John Reilly, 2/2 Pioneer Battalion VX8241 Private William Alfred Simpkins, 2/2 Pioneer Battalion.

TBRC Honoured . – Rod Beattie by Neil MacPherson

At a function in Kanchanaburi on 15th Jan 2010 the Queen of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (via her Ambassador in Thailand) bestowed an honour on Rod Beattie for his years of work in researching and helping all families connected with the Thai-Burma Railway, including the 17,000 Dutch PoWs involved, 2,700 of whom died. Rod has been made a "Knight in the Order of Orange-Nassau". (The "Order of Orange-Nassau" can be considered approximately equivalent to the "Order of the British Empire" in the UK) This award is a Royal Honour in the Netherlands, conferred on people who deserve recognition and high appreciation from society for the special way in which they have carried out their particular activities. We feel this is a very fitting personal tribute to Rod who has devoted a significant number of years of his life to this work and it is also wonderful recognition of the role of TBRC and its team. This is great celebration coming after the end of a highly successful research year for TBRC and on the eve of the 7th Anniversary of our opening (20th January 2003).

Order Of Australia Medal (OAM) – Khun Kanit Wanachote

By decree of the Governor General of Australia, Khun Kanit Wanachote of Home Phu Toey Resort, Tarsau, Thailand, was recently awarded an honorary Order Of Australia Medal (OAM) in the Honors and Awards system of Australia.

Khun Kanit Wanachote, a citizen of the Kingdom of Thailand, has served the Australian Community by his contribution to the preservation of Australian/Thailand history generally. In particular, he has assisted significantly in perpetuating the memory of the privations and sacrifices of Australian Military personnel and the selfless dedication of the medical personnel during the construction of the Burma Thailand Railway in World War 11. At the same time he has assisted in reinforcing the establishment of the repute of Australian of the Year, Sir Edward Dunlop. Khun Kanit Wanachote’s association with Sir Edward “Weary” Dunlop commenced fortuitously when exPOWs and Thailand Burma Railway survivors, the late Keith Flanagan OAM and Bill Haskell OAM, decided in 1985 to organize the 'Weary Dunlop Tour", a tour retracing the course of Surgeon and Commander Colonel (Later Sir) Edward Dunlop and his Force from Java through to Thailand (in World War Two) and having his exploits recognized. A chance meeting occurred between Sir Edward Dunlop and Khun Kanit Wanachote when the touring party met Khun Kanit whilst traveling up the Kwai Noi River hoping to locate the Kannyu and Hintok River Camps, which were in the region of Hellfire Pass. Khun Kanit was developing his Home Phu Toey Resort down river from the camps. With the proximity of Hellfire Pass to his development, Khun Kanit had constantly thought of there being some association between the Burma Thailand Railway and his project and here were a group of Australian exPOWs who had actually been in the area. Weary Dunlop and Khun Kanit struck a chord, which was the genesis of an enduring association. In 1987 there was a further tour of Thailand when the touring party visited the scene of Hellfire Pass where Sir Edward dedicated a memorial in the pass, predicting that the area would become as well known as Gallipoli. Messrs Flanagan and Haskell laid the foundations for the annual Quiet Lion Tours, which continue to this day. In 2003 the Burma Thailand Railway Memorial Association (Inc) was formed to conduct the tours. From 1997 a concerted effort was made to include (and later concentrate on) High School students on the tours in achieving the Association’s objective. Khun Kanit has been prominent in scouting. He is a Baden Powell Fellow and a member of the Senior Counci1 of the National Scout Assembly of Thailand. Accordingly, he was readily receptive to the concept of youth perpetuating the story of Weary Dunlop and the Burma Thailand Railway and he has always insisted the Quiet Lion Tour stay as his guests at Home Phu Toey Resort, a 190-hectare estate set in beautiful tropical gardens, eighty kilometers upriver from Kanchanaburi and four kilometers from Hellfire Pass. Since 1997 in excess of 1100 people have been on Quiet Lion Tours and stayed at Home Phu Toey. The number includes in excess of 430 juniors as of the 2009 Tour. Home Phu Toey Resort has become the focus of the Quiet Lion Tours and is central to the annual Anzac Day Dawn Service at Hellfire Pass. Following are some examples of the contributions of Khun Kanit Wanachote to the success of the Quiet Lion Tours: After Weary’s death some of his ashes were taken back to Thailand during a tour. A part of the ashes were spread in Hellfire Pass. The balance was floated down the Kwai Noi from Home Phu Toey Resort in a Loy Krathong ceremony overseen by Khun Kanit Wanachote. First the ashes were blessed as those of an “enlightened soul” in a Buddhist ceremony organized by Weary’s medical friends. As they floated down the river on a candle-lit miniature boat at dusk, ten others followed, five launched by Thais and five by Australians. The night finished with fireworks and Weary’s name spelt out in letters of fire on the hillside. The dominant feature of Home Phu Toey is the Peace Park where Sir Edward’s statue has pride of place. Perched on rails on a ledge on the side of the hill and floodlit, an old locomotive and wagon overlook the scene. There is also the replica of a POW camp. The Weary Dunlop museum, dedicated by Khun Kanit to his friend “Weary”, overlooks the park guarded by a huge carved wooden statue of “Weary” Dunlop. Sir Edward’s son and other relatives formally opened the Dunlop Museum on 24 April 1997. The Jack Chalker Gallery, opened 2000 is an integral part of Home Phu Toey Peace Park. On the eve of each Anzac Day, Khun Kanit caters for the large crowd of visitors and provides the Sound and Light Show where a model "Bridge on the River Kwai" crosses a small stream. The story of the bombing of the bridge on 24 June 1945 is narrated in English, combined with the music of the times, sound effects and an operating miniature train, ending in shattering explosions, gunpowder flashes and the collapse of the central spans of the model bridge. The show sets the tone for the Hellfire Pass Dawn Service and Wreath Laying Ceremony. Sir Edward later referred to "the remarkable" and "rather mysterious" Kanit who was something, he said, of a modern Kublai Khan. When the Quiet Lion Tour party arrives for a five-night stay, Khun Kanit hosts a welcome dinner and the sound and light show and introduces guests to aspects of Thai culture. The tour party dines variously in the Peace Park, the main dining room, on the lawns outside the dining room and on the “ Green Beach” by the river and the swimming pool. Khun Kanit provides a farewell dinner in the Weary Dunlop Park and hosts the now famous talent quest concert where the Quiet Lion tour party, particularly the juniors, entertain their host. The experience encourages self-confidence for the young Australians and provides an opportunity for them to display those new attributes they have adopted, the values they have experienced and the examples of dealing with adversity - during the Tour. Due to Khun Kanit’s good offices, a Buddhist ceremony is held each year during the Quiet Lion Tour. This ceremony pays homage to those who died in WW11 but in particular to the POWs who died during the construction of the Burma Thailand Railway. Khun Kanit accommodates the Quiet Lion Tour party at a huge discount and the juniors are his guests with no charge levied for their accommodation and food. On two recent tours, where an extra large number of persons were on the tour, Khun Kanit temporarily converted a Conference Centre to a fully equipped dormitory to accommodate sixteen schoolboys and two housemasters, all at no charge. Without the generosity of Khun Kanit Wanachote it would be difficult to achieve the objective of the Burma Thailand Railway Memorial Association. It is not only the history of the Burma Thailand Railway that can be taught to Australian youth by the generosity of Khun Kanit Wanachote. Ex POWs are able to revisit areas where they were incarcerated and thus obtain some closure. The relatives of the POWs are able to also achieve closure by visiting graves and participating in the ceremonies. Being able to visit and experience the Dawn Service at Hellfire Pass and the Wreath Laying Ceremony at Kanchanaburi is a most moving experience. All this is possible due to the generosity of a great man whose attributes were instantly recognized by a great Australian, Sir Edward (Weary) Dunlop. This man was eminently suitable for recognition by the Australian Honors and Award system, notwithstanding by an honorary award due his non-Australian nationality.. For the Governor General's web site published record click here

Bill Haskell and Khun Kanit Wanachote

Address by Dr Brook Barrington, at Kanchanaburi War Cemetery on Anzac Day 2009.

Veterans, Families of Veterans, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen. Good morning. On ANZAC day we honour all New Zealand and Australian men and women serving in the armed forces today, and we remember with thanksgiving those who served their country in time of war, and those who died. These are familiar words. Too familiar, perhaps.  I have said them before.  You have heard them before.  It is a hot day, too hot for speeches.  And what could I, who have never experienced war, really know of the suffering and the anguish we are  commemorating here. So let us cut to the heart of things.  In this cemetery there are just under 7000 headstones.  7000 lives lost.  7000 loves lost.  7000 men, young and old, sons and fathers, artists and poets and plumbers and farmers, dead.  7000 futures gone, rubbed out.  And of those who died toiling on the Thai-Burma railway, perhaps as many as 100,000.  Malay. Burmese. British.  Javanese. Australian.Dutch.  American.  And that cruellest of words:  “others”, including a small handful of New Zealanders. More than 230 deaths for each day the railway was under construction. More than 240 deaths for every kilometre of track laid.  And how many lives back home, how many hearts back home, were broken by the deaths of these men? A million? More, surely. Many more. A human tragedy beyond counting. We are not here to listen to speeches.  We are here to call to mind, to call to heart, the suffering of those who died and those who mourn.  We are here to be counted amongst those who believe that the values of courage and loyalty and service and grit and mate-ship and honour continue to be true, continue to matter.  We are here because it is the least we can do for those who sacrificed so much.  We are here to remember. On this day we remember ordinary people from many different lands, united by a most extraordinary thing: they gave up their lives, they were robbed of their promise, so that we who came after them might live in peace. Their sacrifice stands as a silent witness to the enduring values of faith and hope and love, and to the desolation of war. It is right indeed that we should remember them.

Address by Dr Brook Barrington, New Zealand Ambassador

ADDRESS BY DR BROOK BARRINGTON, NEW ZEALAND AMBASSADOR TO THAILAND AT HELLFIRE PASS DAWN SERVICE ANZAC DAY 2009.. Author: DR BROOK BARRINGTON Veterans, Families of Veterans, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen. ANZAC Day is a day when trans-Tasman cousins stand shoulder to shoulder, just as they did ninety-four years ago. That is true enough, and important. But in the midst of that ANZAC solidarity I want to acknowledge that this is hallowed ground for Australia. The far off echoes you hear when you sit here quietly in the dark come from Australian pain. The distant cries you hear come from Australian hearts. Whether you are religious or not, this cutting represents something which goes beyond our ordinary lives. Men – many of them no more than boys – lived and suffered and fell and died here. Where we stand. Memories of home – of shimmering heat and cicadas and cold beer – sustained life here, and were lost here. Where we stand. The best of what it is to be an Australian – tough, generous, laconic, quick to laugh, to lend a helping hand, decent, unflinching – these values were tested here. Where we stand. And they were not found wanting. Australian and Dutch POWs from the Thai Burma Railway The victims of the Burma-Thailand Railway came from many lands. They, and all those others who have served their country in time of war, remind us that the peace we now enjoy has been paid for in blood, and in sorrow. As dawn breaks, full of hope and renewal, we especially remember all of those Australians who sacrificed their lives for their friends, and for peace. There can be no greater gift. This New Zealander, honoured to be in this place, thanks them for it.

Anzac Day and the Burma Siam Railway – Bill Haskell

Bill Haskell Ex WX3279 2/3RD Machine Gun Battalion. In Australia and New Zealand the 25th April is known as Anzac Day. It is a day on which the two Nations pay tribute to our Servicemen and Servicewomen who lost their lives in defence of freedom. We are therefore grateful to the Governments of the Kingdom of Thailand  and  the  Union  of  Myanmar  and  their  people  for permitting us to honour those who died in their countries and have their remains interred in this cemetery and that at Thanbuyazat. These men died as Prisoners of War of the Japanese in World War 11 during or as a result of working on the Burma Siam Railway. They died, in the main, through the sheer negligence of the Japanese in  not  supplying  the  basic  food  and  medical  supplies,  in  their inhumane and brutal treatment and in subjecting the prisoners to the absolute extreme of forced labour. The  prisoners  were  starved,  overworked,  exposed  to  diseases, harassed and brutally assaulted at the work place. The established rules of warfare in relation to prisoners of war were abandoned completely in the frenzy to push the railway through. We remember these men with great affection and deepest respect. The  sole  purpose  of  locating  Prisoners  of  War  in  Thailand  and Burma  was  to  work  on  the  railway  and  the  Japanese  made  it abundantly clear from the outset that there would be no respite until the task was accomplished. During the monsoonal months of July and August 1943 the country was deluged with continuous downpours of rain. At the same time Cholera  and  Ameobic  Dysentery  reached  plague  proportions  and the Japanese engineers introduced their dreaded  “Speedo” tactics. The combination of these factors resulted in deaths and disablement thereby  cutting  the  workforce  considerably  and  placing  a  huge burden on the remaining workers. The engineers showed no compassion, on the contrary, continually increasing the working hours. Despite the enormous pressure many prisoners survived the ordeal until the rail link was completed. They received wonderful support from the Doctors, medical orderlies and camp  staff  who  supported  them  admirably.  All  of  these  people deserve to be acknowledged for playing their part in a triumph over adversity. Upon completion of the rail link the war was till twenty-two months from finishing and the POWs were moved around a great deal. Some men were retained on the railway doing maintenance work and  cutting  wood  for  locomotive  fuel  whilst  others  were  spread around  the  country  working  on  roads,  railways,  and  bridges damaged by Allied bombing and monsoonal rains. The men of “F” Force, whose introduction to Thailand was a 260-kilometer  march  to   the  disease-ridden  camps  at  and  around Sonkurai  were  eventually  returned  to   Singapore,  missing  over  a thousand of their number who had perished. The  fittest  of  the  Prisoners  of  War  survivors  were  sent  to  other areas of Asia as forced labour. A large number of the Australians went to Japan to work in coalmines and other industrial areas. They sailed  in  decrepit  unmarked  ships  and  unfortunately  some  of  the ships in the convoys were sunk by Allied submarines resulting in a further heavy loss of life. The  inhumane  treatment  meted  to  the  Prisoners  of  War  had reduced  a  third  of  the  “railway”  survivors  to  a  state  where  they were incapable of further manual labour. They were transferred to (so called) hospital camps in Tarsao and Chungkai. They were later consolidated in a vast hospital camp at Nakon Pathom. After the Japanese surrender, much to the relief of the Prisoners of War who were well into their fourth year of captivity, thousands of them were repatriated to Australia to be nurtured back to health by their loved ones. Many, of course, were beyond complete recovery. After  a  period  of  convalescence  and  retraining,  those  who  had recovered  sufficiently  were  returned  to  society  and  assisted  in rebuilding a country that had been on a full wartime footing  for over six years. Notwithstanding  the  dreadful  conditions  in  Thailand  and  Burma, the  subsequent  ordeals  in  “hell-ships”  and  coalmines  and  the inhumane  treatment,  many  of  the  Australian  POWs  displayed  a resilience, a fortitude and a will to survive which allowed them to re-establish themselves after the war. Many moving accounts of the fortitude displayed by the Australian prisoners in enduring great adversity have emerged. I would like to refer to just one which gives some idea of this magnificent trait. Basil Clark was a member of A Force in Burma and had his right leg amputated at the mid section of his thigh in September 1943. The amputation was carried out at the 55 Kilo Hospital Camp by the renowned  surgeon,  Lieut.  Colonel  Albert  Coates,  whose  skill  and expertise surely assisted Basil Clark’s recovery. In due course Basil was transferred to the Base Hospital at Nakon Pathom in Thailand and repatriated after the war to Perth, Western Australia, where he very quickly resumed civilian life. In June 1946 Basil  married  the  young  lady  he  was  courting  when  he  enlisted. They were blessed with a son in 1947 and a daughter in 1948. Basil was fitted with an artificial leg that had an articulated knee and a rigid ankle. The leg was supported by a waistband and strapping which enabled comparative freedom of movement. The Department of Postwar Reconstruction interviewed Basil and suggested  that  because  of  his  handicap  he  should  take  up  a sedentary occupation. Basil rejected this proposal out of hand and stated he was returning to his pre war occupation of farming. In 1949  he  moved  onto  a  medium  sized  wheat  and  sheep  farm  at Wongan Hills in Western Australia and single-handedly carried out all  the  normal  farming  operations  such  as  ploughing,  cropping, harvesting and sheep husbandry. At the same time he took a lively interest in community affairs such as Rotary, Freemasonry, Parents and Citizens Clubs and general sporting activities. In due course his son Noel continued farming the property and his daughter  Lois  qualified  as  a  nurse  in  which  capacity  she accompanied the Quiet Lion Pilgrimage in 2007 This  is  the  story  of  a  survivor  who  triumphed  over  enormous difficulties  as  a  Prisoner  of  War  and  on  return  to  Australia distinguished  himself  as  a  family  man  and  in  farming  and community affairs. Truly the type of person who inspires a nation. Basil was representative of a host of Australian ex Prisoners of War who  displayed  those  great  traits  of  resilience,  fortitude  and  an enduring will to survive. He and the rest of the Prisoners of War were truly representative of their predecessors who collectively led to the coining of the description “Anzac” and the perpetuation of Anzac Day. We, those who are left, salute those who are no longer with us. God bless them and God bless you all.