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.

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