Photos

At Sea

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Informal group portrait of Australian survivors (all but one) from the Sakata prisoner of war camp in Japan (north-west Honshu). All survived the sinking of the Japanese hellship Rakuyo Maru and were subsequently rescued by other Japanese ships to continue their journey from Singapore to Japan. Here they are on board the aircraft carrier H.M.S. Formidable on their repatriation to Australia in October 1945. From left to right; back row: VX61564 Craftsman Stanley J. Manning, 2/10 Field Workshop; VX12548 Geoffrey MacAulay, 1 Australian Corps Petrol Park; said to be W. R. Smith; NX32933 Ernest J. Wade, 2/15 Field Regiment; NX26519 John Wade, 2/15 Field Regiment; QX13145 Sergeant Arthur W. Hall, 2/10 Field Regiment. Front row: SX13426 Private Alick A. Robinson, 2/10 Ordnance Workshops; VX17827 Private Harold G. Ramsey, 2/2 Australian Pioneer Battalion (with the Kawasaki group); NX70273 Captain Charles Rowland (Rowley) B. Richards, medical officer, 2/15 Field Regiment; NX68567 Warrant Officer Class II Keith H. H. Martin, 2/3 Motor Ambulance Convoy; VX32162 Driver Francis A. 'Titch' Lemin, 2/2 Motor Ambulance Convoy and QX10108 Gunner Kitchener 'Kitch" M. Loughnan, 2/10 Field Regiment. AWM id no. P03651.011

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At sea. October 1945. Former Nagasaki prisoners of war (POWs) on their way home aboard H.M.S. Formidable. Those marked (X) were survivors of the atomic bomb at Camp 14, Nagasaki, Japan. Back row, left to right: QX14889 Lance Bombardier Frederick Stuart Murray, 2/10 Field Regiment, not identified, QX17410 Gunner Charles Frederick Hancock 2/10 Field Regiment, QX13595 Lance Bombardier Garnet Johnson 2/10 Field Regiment, not identified. Middle row, left to right: QX9907 Gunner Allan Richard Sidney Beitz, 2/10 Field Regiment, VX45894 Private William Cecil Reed (X), 2/3 Machine Gun Battalion, TX3914 Private Colin James Gleeson (X), 2/40 Infantry Battalion, NX47101 (246705) Lance Sergeant Ernest Roy Snowden (X), 2/12 Field Ambulance, VX53494 Private Bernard Daniel O'Keefe (X), 2/40 Infantry Battalion, NX38456 Lance Bombardier Francis William Fitzmaurice (X), 2/1 Heavy Battery, VX23630 Private Eric Ernest Hooper (X), 2/2 Pioneer Battalion, TX4878 Gunner Charles Edward Howard (X) 2/1 Heavy Battery. Front row, left to right: QX17307 Bombardier Hugh Vincent Clarke, 2/10 Field Regiment, next three not identified, NX38462 Gunner Reginald McConnell (X), 2/1 Heavy Battery, VX41147 Private Leslie Prendergast (X), 2/40 Infantry Battalion, VX25701 Private Philip Joseph Smythe (X), 2/3 Machine Gun Battalion. AWM id no. 045208

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At sea. 1945-10-10. Officers and men of 2/2nd Pioneer Battalion, ex-POWs of the Japanese, on the deck of the British troopship MV Highland Brigade on their way home to Australia. Identified personnel : top row 3rd from right (with beret) VX18670 Private Gilbert Forrest. AWM id no. 117832

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At sea. 1945-10-10. Officers and men of 2/2 Pioneer Battalion, ex-prisoners of war of the Japanese, on the deck of the British troopship MV Highland Brigade on their way home to Australia. Identified personnel : top row 3rd from right (with beret) VX18670 Private Gilbert Forrest. AWM id no. 117833

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At sea. 1945-10-10. Officers and men of 2/2nd Pioneer Battalion, ex-POWs of the Japanese, on the deck of the British troopship M.V. Highland Brigade on their way home to Australia. AWM id no. 117834

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At sea. 1945-10-10. Warrant Officer W. Peeler VC (Broodseinde, France. World war 1 - 1917.) 2/2nd Pioneer Battalion, an ex-POW of the Japanese, playing with little Ferne Pope, three yrs old, (who has been in Japanese hands since she was six weeks old) on the deck of the British troopship M.V. Highland Brigade during the journey home to Australia. AWM id no. 117835

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At sea. 1945-10-10. Warrant Officer W. Peeler VC (Broodseinde, France. World war 1 - 1917.) 2/2nd Pioneer Battalion, an ex-POW of the Japanese, playing with little Ferne Pope, three yrs old, (who has been in Japanese hands since she was six weeks old) on the deck of the British troopship M.V. Highland Brigade during the journey home to Australia. AWM id no. 117836

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At sea. 1945-10-10. Personnel of 2/2nd Pioneer Battalion, ex-POWs of the Japanese, on the deck of the British troopship M.V. Highland Brigade during their journey home to Australia. Shown: left to right: Lieutenant (Lt) J. H. Walters (1); Lt C. J. Mitchell (2); Staff Sergeant H. Black (3); Lt A. A. Mitchell (4); Warrant Officer 2 W. Peeler VC (5). AWM id no. 117837

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Darwin, Northern Territory. September 1945. Returning prisoners of war (POWs) aboard M.V. Highland Chieftain at Darwin. Gunner J. M. Wakeling (2/15 Field Regiment) (on right) of Dee Why, NSW, and VX17622 Corporal F. R. Meddings (on left) of Carnegie, Vic, watch their friend Driver A. C. Butt (8 Division Provost Company) of Crows Nest, NSW, drink his beer issue. AWM id no. 019416


Burma (Railway)

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1945-10. Evacuated prisoners of war from the Burma Thailand Railway. Left to right: back row: J. G. (Tom) Morris (Headquarters 22nd Brigade), Jack Baker (2/4 Machine Gun Battalion), Clem Dickenson (Headquarters 22nd Brigade), E. Bailey (Headquarters 22nd Brigade), F. Morrison (2/20th Battalion); third row: Tom Beenie (2/10th Ordnance Workshop), Jack Dickenson (Headquarters 22nd Brigade), Tom O'Brien (2/2nd Pioneer Battalion); second row: Steve Siers (2/26th Battalion), Ken Oliver (Motor Ambulance Convoy); front: Jack Farmer (2/19th Battalion). (Donor T. Morris). AWM id no. P01538.004


Japan (Osaka)

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1945. Osaka, Japan. Private Stan Rixon of Prahran, Vic, and Private Robert Lowe of Annandale, NSW (right), in Osaka where they met up with the Allied occupation troops after their release from Kyusai Island where they had been in the prison camp since their capture in Malaya. AWM id no. 019373

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1945. Osaka, Japan. Informal portrait of Private Stan Rixon of Prahran, who was captured in Java and spent over three years in a prison camp, hitchhiked 200 miles to meet the occupation troops in Osaka. AWM id no. 019374

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1945. These Australian prisoners-of-war (POWs) were released on Kyusai, Southern Japan and hitchhiked 200 miles to reach Allied occupation troops. They lived off the land and by asking for food from Japanese civilians. They encountered a little resentment but no outright aggression. Left to right: Back row: Private Stan Rixon of Prahran, Melbourne; Private Robert Lowe of Annandale, Sydney. Front row: Private Amos Skinner of Camden, NSW; Private Allan Scott of Blacktown, NSW and Private Walter Wright of Paddington, NSW. AWM id no. 019370


Japan (Sendu Camp)

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1945. Sendu Camp, Japan. 2/2 Pioneers after their release. Photo courtesy of Mrs T. Gore (wife of VX46755 Private T. Gore) id no. T_GORE_4


Japan (Yokohama)

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Yokohama, Japan. 1945. Released prisoners of war (POWs) who have just arrived at the railway station proudly displaying an Australian flag which was handmade by George Carroll and Harold Ramsay. Left to right: Private George Carroll of Towong, Vic; Private Jim Kay of Bega, NSW; Corporal Frank Lawrence of Nowra, NSW; Private Jack White of Jerilderie, NSW; Private Doug Mayers of South Melbourne, Vic; Private Harold Ramsay of Clayton, Vic; Private John Dwyer of South Brisbane, Qld; Private Walter Williams of Northbridge, NSW; Private Bill Mayne of Richmond, Vic, and Driver Arthur Hunt of Dorrigo, NSW. AWM id no. 019202

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Yokohama, Japan. 1945. On board the British hospital ship Tjitjalengka in Yokohama harbour these Australian ex-prisoners of war (POWs) enjoy a chat. Pictured: Private (Pte) Peter Ross of St Leonards, NSW; Pte Henry Dietz of Rose Bay, NSW; Pte Jack Amoore of Albert Park, Vic, (7th Division captured in Java, March 1942); Signalman Henry Sweet of Woollahra, NSW, and Signalman Norman Dillon of Bondi Junction, NSW. AWM id no. 019216


Java (Batavia)

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Batavia, Java 1945-09-24. "Barbecue" prisoner of war style at Bicycle Camp. Three Australian ex prisoners of war prepare a meal of fried rice over a charcoal fire fanned by an ingenious contraption made of bits and pieces of scrap. VX33502 Private V. L. J. McCrae, 2/2nd Pioneer Battalion (centre), was one of the last Australians to be captured by the Japanese on Java. He escaped capture on 1942-04-20, five weeks after the Allied capitulation, and remained at large until 1945-08-02. (Photographer Lt R. Buchanan). AWM id no. 123667


Philippines (Manila)

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Manila, Philippines. 1945-10-05. Australian ex- prisoners of war en-route from Japan at the 3rd Australian prisoner of war reception group camp at Manila. Height and chest measurement. SX14968 Private C. S. Leaney (north Adelaide, South Australia) is taking chest measurements of VX60676 Private L. Powell (Bendigo, Victoria), 2/2nd Pioneer Battalion. (Photographer Lieutenant N. B. Stuckey). AWM id no. 119025


Sarawak (Kuching)

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Kuching, Sarawak. 1945-09-11. After the surrender ceremony at Kuching, Brigadier T. C. Eastick, commanding Kuching force, 9th Australian Division, accompanied by Lieutenant Colonel A. W. Walsh, commanding officer 2/10th Field Regiment, 8th Australian Division (a prisoner of war) and Colonel T. Suga, commandant of all prisoner of war camps in Borneo, visited the prisoner of war and internee camp of Kuching, where a parade was held at which the prisoners of war were informed of their liberation. Shown, members of 2/18th Infantry Battalion, 2/20th Infantry Battalion, 2/3rd Motor Transport Company and 2/2nd Provost Company, after the parade. Left to right: NX33861 Private (Pte) R. Rixon, 2/20th Battalion; VX45832 Corporal G. Gunning, 2/2nd Pioneers; VX15952 Sergeant C. B. Lander 2/18th Battalion; QX16801 Pte R. J. Frazer, 2/3rd Motor Transport; NX69641 Pte B. W. Stephenson, 2/3rd Motor Transport, and NX33432 Pte R. E. Kent, 2/20th Battalion. AWM id no. 116937

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Kuching, Sarawak. 1945-09-12. 8th Division personnel, ex-Prisoners-of-War of the Japanese, outside their hut "Australia House" in the Kuching POW and Internment Camp, which they occupied from 1943-06 to 1945-09. Identified personnel are: Sergeant C. B. Lander, 2/18th Infantry Battalion; Corporal G. W. Gunning, 2/2nd Pioneer Battalion; Private (Pte) H. J. P. Riseley, 2/29th Infantry Battalion; Pte R. Kent, 2/20th Infantry Battalion; Pte E. Davis, 2/20th Infantry Battalion; Driver R. Fraser, 2/3rd Motor Transport Company; Driver Stephenson, 2/3rd Motor Transport Reserve Company; Pte D. Rixon, 2/20th Infantry Battalion; Lance Corporal N. Weekes, Base Ordnance Depot; Pte J. Simpson, 2/18th Infantry Battalion; Pte F. Bindon, 2/18th Infantry Battalion, and Pte S. Outram, 2/30th Infantry Battalion. AWM id no. 118416

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Kuching, Sarawak. 1945-09-12. 8th Division personnel, ex-POWs of the Japanese, outside their hut, "Australia House" in the Kuching POW and internment camp which they occupied from 1943-06 until 1945-09. Identified personnel are:- Sergeant C. B. Lander, 2/18th Infantry Battalion (1); Corporal G. W. Gunning, 2/2nd Pioneer Battalion (2); Private (Pte) H. J. P. Riseley, 2/29th Infantry Battalion (3); Pte R. Kent, 2/20th Infantry Battalion (4); Pte E. Davis, 2/20th Infantry Battalion (5); Driver (Dr) R. Fraser, 2/3rd Motor Transport Company (6); Dr stephenson, 2/3rd Motor Transport Reserve Company (7); Pte D. Rixon, 2/20th Infantry Battalion (8); Lance Corporal N. Weeks, Base Ordnance Depot (9); Pte J. Simpson, 2/18th Infantry Battalion (10); Pte F. Bindon, 2/18th Infantry Battalion (11); Pte S. Outram, 2/30th Infantry Battalion (12). AWM id no. 118417

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Kuching, Sarawak. 1945-09-12. Corporal G. W. Gunning, 2/2 Pioneer Battalion (left) and Lance Corporal N. Weeks, Base Ordnance Depot (right), 8th Division ex-POWs of the Japanese, outside their hut in the Kuching POW and internment camp. AWM id no. 118421


Singapore

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Singapore. 1945-08-16. VX21039 Lance Corporal Bill Lewis with tattoo on left arm, taken at Changi Prison Hospital on the day after peace was declared. Photo courtesy of C. Tunbridge and D. Curry (daughters of VX21039 W. A. Lewis) id no. C_TUNBRIDGE_2

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Singapore, Straits Settlements. 1945-09-15. Personnel of 2/3rd Machine Gun Battalion, 2/2nd Pioneer Battalion, 2/6th Engineers and 105th Transport Company, ex-prisoners of war of the Japanese, soon after their arrival at the Changi Gaol from Thailand. AWM id no. 117654

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Singapore. 1945-09-20. Private C. E. Coatsworth, 2/2nd Pioneer Battalion, ex-prisoner of war of the Japanese and now a patient at 2/14th Australian General Hospital, St Patrick's College. Private Coatsworth weighed 14 stone 4 lb when taken prisoner in Java, 1942-03-08. AWM id no. 116484

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Singapore, 1945-09-26. Two ex prisoners watch Gracie Fields at her concert. Left to right SX8727 Private A. Liddiard (Wilguna, South Australia), 2/2nd Machine Gun Battalion and VX20698 Private A. S. Vandervorde (Melbourne, Victoria), 2/2nd Pioneer Battalion. (Photographer Lieutenant R. J. Buchanan). AWM id no. 119761

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2nd Australian POW Reception Group, Changi area. 1945-10-01. Group at Gracie Field's concert - left to right:- VX61607 Private M. Foote 2/2 Pioneers, Mildura, Victoria, VX61095 Private A. E. McConnell 2/2 Pioneers, Moonee Ponds, Victoria. AWM id no. 119764

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Tanah Merah Beach, Singapore. Circa 1945. Shows ex-prisoners of war at No. 6 P.O.W. Recreation camp before being sent home to Australia; Pte. C. Powell, of Carlton, Cpl. F. W. Humpreys, of Clifton Hill, Spr. W. Joy, of North Queensland, Pte. W. D. Rice, of Orbost and Pte. J. McMahon, of Tatura seated in garden of camp; officers leaving the houses for walks on beach; Pte. F. Mathews, of Hawthorn, Driver W. B. MacKay, of Sale, Pte. C. Markham, of Waverly, Sydney, Pte. R. S. Hunt, of St. Kilda, Driver C. Watson, of Stanhope (Vic.) and Pte. C. W. Smith, of Goulburn Weir sitting outside their tents eating lunch. State Library of Victoria id no. an005046


Thailand (Bangkok)

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Bangkok, Thailand. 1945-08. Former prisoners of war, having been issued with new uniforms, await evacuation to Australia. Left to right: Lieutenant G. N. Webster, Captain (Capt) I. Nicholson, Capt S. Handasyde, all members of 2/2nd Pioneer Battalion. (donor C. Mitchell). AWM id no. P01521.001

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Bangkok, Thailand. 1945-08. Studio portrait of former prisoners of war on the Burma-Thailand Railway. Left to right: Lieutenant Alan Mitchell, 2/2nd Pioneer Battalion (front left) and his brother, Lieutenant Cal Mitchell, 2/2nd Pioneer Battalion with Lieutenant Basil Ransome, 2/29th Infantry Battalion (back). The photograph was taken to send home to their families and friends to show they were in relatively good condition, but it is believed their relatives were rather horrified at the soldiers' appearance. (Donor C. Mitchell). AWM id no. P01576.001

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Bangkok, Thailand. 1945-09. Former prisoners of war, having been issued with new uniforms, wait at the reception camp at the Law University for evacuation to Australia. Left to right: Lieutenants J. Pemberton and C. G. Hamilton, both 2/2nd Pioneer Battalion. (Donor C. Mitchell). AWM id no. P01521.004

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Bangkok, Thailand. 1945-09. Former prisoners of war, having been issued with new uniforms, wait at the reception camp at the Law University for evacuation to Australia. Lieutenants F. X. Mccaffrey, 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion, speaking on the telephone and A. A. Mitchell, 2/2nd Pioneer Battalion. (Donor C. Mitchell). AWM id no. P01521.005

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Bangkok, Thailand. 1945-09. Former prisoners of war, having been issued with new uniforms, wait at the reception camp at the Law University for evacuation to Australia. Left to right: Flying Officer E. Gabriel (1 Squadron RAAF), Lieutenants E. Eggleston (2/29th Battalion), F. Tubb, (2/2nd Pioneer Battalion), Bert Phillips (2/26th Battalion). (Donor C. Mitchell). AWM id no. P01521.006

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Bangkok, Thailand. 1945-09-15. Cooks preparing the evening meal at the prisoner of war (POW) branch headquarters, recovered allied pows and internees unit transit camp for 8th Australian Division ex-POWs at the Law University. Shown: Driver A. C. Pearson, 2/10th Australian Field Ambulance (1); Private (Pte) G. A. Horsfield, 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion (2); Pte B. H. Foreman, 2/2nd Pioneer Battalion (3); Leading Cook R. H. Gardner, RAN, HMAS Perth (4). AWM id no. 117358

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Bangkok, Thailand. 1945-09-15. Cooks preparing the evening meal at the prisoner of war (POW) branch headquarters, recovered Allied POW and internees unit transit camp for 8th Australian Division, ex-POWs of the Japanese awaiting transport back home to Australia. Shown: Sergeant P. A. Gardiner, 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion (1); Private (Pte) J. W. Basell, 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion (2); Pte A. Rumble, 2/2nd Pioneer Battalion (3). AWM id no. 117359


Thailand (Nakom Paton)

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Nakom Paton, Thailand. 18 September 1945. Allied ex-prisoners of war (POWs) of the Japanese who are patients in ward 18 of the Nakom Paton POW Hospital Camp. These men were working on the Japanese defence positions at Nieke near the Burma-Thailand border when the enemy surrendered and are now being treated for recurrent malaria. Pictured, left to right: Signaller L. C. Newman, 8th Australian Division Signals; Private (Pte) H. Forrest, 2/20th Australian Infantry Battalion; Pte H. F. Harding, 105th Australian General Transport Company; Pte N. Crowther, 2/20th Australian Infantry Battalion; Pte W. H. Yeo, 2/2nd Australian Pioneer Battalion. In January 1944, using POW and native labour, the Japanese began the construction of this major POW hospital for the chronically ill and amputees at Nakom Paton, on the main Singapore-Thailand railway, fifty six kilometres west of Bangkok. Lieutenant Colonel A. E. Coates, Australian Army Medical Corps (AAMC) was appointed as Chief Medical Officer. At its peak the camp contained 7,353 POWs. AWM id no. 118855


Thailand (Phetburi)

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Phetburi, Thailand. 23 September 1945. Warrant Officer Class 2 Walter Peeler VC, 2/2nd Pioneer Battalion gives eyes right as he leads his Company of ex-prisoners of war (POWs) of the Japanese past the saluting base where Major C. E. Green, Commanding Officer, 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion, takes the salute at the Phetburi POW Camp. Major Green had been the Commanding Officer of Green Battalion, part of Brigadier A. L. Varley's A Force in Burma 1942-44. WO2 Peeler, born in 1887, enlisted in the 2nd AIF by understating his age by 15 years. He had been awarded the Victoria Cross on 4 October 1917 as a member of the 3rd Pioneer Battalion attached to the 37th Battalion, AIF. AWM id no. 117940


Miscellaneous

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Melbourne, Victoria. 1945-09-13. Lieutenant Colonel J. M. Williams, 2/2nd Pioneer Battalion, the first Australian prisoner of war from Singapore to arrive in Australia. AWM id no. 115275

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Brisbane, Queensland. 1945-09-22. P.O.W.s from Java on arrival at Brisbane by Dutch Liberator. Private Jack Lofthouse, Sergeant B. Masterman-Smith, Private R. W. Yates, Sapper G. A. Kelly, Corporal N. L. McDonald, Private J. K. Mounsey, Lieutenant E. A. J. Wiltshire, Private J. W. Quinn, Corporal J. W. Stevenson and Sergeant E. Morton. State Library Victoria id no. an006775

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Melbourne, Victoria. 1945-09-13. Lieutenant Colonel J. M. Williams, 2/2nd Pioneer Battalion, the first Australian prisoner of war from Singapore to arrive in Australia with Corporal W. Draper, Australian Military History Section. They are discussing a series of photographs hidden from the enemy for 3 years, which Lieutenant Colonel Williams brought back with him. AWM id no. 115276

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Circa 1945 (post war). Lieutenant J. H. Walters, 2/2nd Pioneer Battalion. Photo courtesy of W. Hammerton (daughter of VX15400 WALTERS, JACK HUGHES). id no. W_HAMMERTON_1.jpg

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Circa 1945 (post war). Heidelberg Military Hospital, Victoria. Photo taken by the Herald newspaper of VX38234 Private E. S. Veal after repatriation from Changi, Singapore. Photo courtesy of M. Young (daughter of VX38234 E. S. Veal) id no. M_YOUNG_4