The following information has been gathered from a 1983 self published book, based on his diary kept during his POW years, entitled “SURVIVAL AGAINST ODDS“, and notes from the family history.
Ern joined the Bendigo Militia in 1929.
Ern first enlisted as a bandsman in the 2/2nd Pioneers and undertook courses in first aid and chiropody. In November 1940 he was promoted to Lance Corporal and put in charge of the Regimental Aid Post. At this time he must have been part of the Australian Army Medical Corp assigned to the Pioneers.
In 1941 in Syria (where he saw action in Lebanon, and I believe, Palestine) he was promoted to Corporal and returned to the 2/2nd for the return to Java.
In Java he was part of “Black Force” and promoted to Sergeant in charge of the Regimental Aid Post.
He was taken prisoner in Java on March 9 1942, and his group was sent up the “line” after just 14 days in Changi, on January 23rd, 1943.
As far as I can tell he was at Hintok River, Hintok Mountain, Kinsaioke, Tasau, Tamuang and Pratchai camps – and maybe others. (His book has the dates on which they moved into these camps).
During the period of captivity he worked as a medical orderly with Colonel Dunlop’s team.
On the surrender of the Japanese, Ern returned to Australia as a medical orderly on one of the early flights bringing some of the sickest ex-pow patients back to hospitals in Australia.
He died on 17/04/1995 at the age of 86. He had continued an active life, despite numerous quite serious health problems as a result of his POW experiences, and maintained close contact with a number of ex POW’s including Colonel Dunlop.
His wife, Doris, (who he married in 1935) died in 1998 at the age of 90.
Ern and Doris had three sons Ian, Robert and Ronald.
Ron has several items of Ern’s that relates to his wartime experiences, including copies of the logs of the “Rover Scout” group established in the camps after the Japanese surrender.