Klemen - Zivjo ladies and gentlemen,
I was just wondering... Is anyone aware of any photos showing the Australian troops on Ambon island in 1941-1942 PRIOR or DURING the Japanese invasion?
I'm also interested in seeing of any photographs of Australian and Dutch POWs on the island shortly after the capture and before the mass executions...
Also, I would very, very, very, very, very much appreciate if anyone could provide me with short accounts or personal testimonials of Australian and Dutch soldiers on the island, describing not just the four days long fighting, but also how the executions were carried out. I don't have Joan Beaumont's excellent book in my collection, although I have it on my priority list for quite a while, but right now my earnings went for Kirby's volumes... :-)
Cynthia - >Klemen, I do not know personally about Ambon, but there is a Ex Ambon Prisoner of war on the Gold Coast, he is a member of the RSL I think.
You can contact the RSL Club, Scarborough Street, Southport, Queensland, 4215, Australia, I did meet him but cannot remember his name.
The RSL would have a list of all associations and may be there is a Ambon Asociation - I do know that there were three AIF Battailons, that trained together, one was 2/22 AIF Which went to Rabaul, Territory of New Guinea and one I think was 2/40 (Not excatly sure of correct number)went to Ambon.
If I can be of any help, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Janet Uhr - >Klemen: again: Gullforce, 1131 in all, 2/21battalion and attached troops arrived Ambon 17 December 1941. Until a year or so ago there wwas a very strong Gull Force Assocation,the members returning to Ambon pretty well each year: and supporting a medical aid pproject, at least one school ( I thnk): but of those who returned, there are only 48 left.
You could try writing to Gull Force Assocation, c/- Barbed Wire and Bamboo at 1 Elizabeth st, Melbourne Victoria; or try to contact Tom Pledger( who writes the notes for the Association): I think he's the bloke Cynthia was thinking of, who lives on teh Gold Coast somewhere. And you might like to try to find Courtney harrison: Ambon, Isle of Mist ( self published, 1988); he was 2/21 himself: 2/40, of course, was on Timor.
George - >Janet: I concur. The 2/40th went to Timor. Survivors were taken as prisoners to Java. When the Germans handed me and my crew mates to the Japanese at Tandjoeng Priok in November 1942, we were befriended by Capts. Frost and Piggott, et al. Piggott and his wife were our guests here at Seabrook Beach, New Hampshire, USofA, in 1970, and in 1979 they hosted us at Sandy Bay, Tasmania. On that occasion, I was inducted into the 2/40th "Old Comrades Association", the badge of which I proudly wear at all functions here.
Janet Uhr - >George, 2/40 have a unit history now too, you might like to know about; Doomed battalion, PeterHenning (1995): I've just looked up your friends - Frost was oc transport platoon; Piggott oc Ccoy's 13 pl.
Piggot was one of MacAllister's escape group - you know, the Macallister whose Hudson had been shot down, and he himself caught; he was to steal a DC3, but the Japanese had taken the batteries out; and he ended in Outram Rd.
The 2/40 were sent pretty widely in the years 42-45, Thailand, Japan and there's one group who stole an outrigger and set off for Autralia, were blown off course, and picked up by a Japanese submarine c 9 March. Two of them spent the rest of the war somewhere in the Celebes (precisely where is (I think) somewhere in a file here.
I remember a letter a propos something quite different from a merchant marine officer, who happened to mention these AIF who had turned up whereever he was, the others later shipped to Japan.
Klemen - >Janet,
Thanks Janet for all these information. Much appreciated. As I said, I tried to get Courtney's book for quite a while, but right now I am tryxing to obtain Kirby's official volumes, what will takes much of my income. :-)
There is certainly very little known about Australian troops on Ambon, and surely would like to know more. Does anyone of you happen to know if there exists any Australian Official History (version) of what has happened on Ambon in february 1942?
Janet Uhr - >Klemen yes; The official History, Lionel Wigmore, The Japanese Thrust, pp418-441, and POW period, 511, 604-8and passim. You might get a secondhand copy: perhaps have a go at www.abebooks.com; or as George might sugest, try ambon on Google.
Klemen - >Zivjo Janet, Thank you, Janet. Have heard of this book already.
I have checked, but they don't have it. Please, if your will ever come to any consideraby "cheap" copy of it, let me know, will you? :-):-)
Hm, thanks, I did. I even found Tom Pledger's web site (diary), hosted by Pat Pledger. I guess this must be his son or daughter. Anyone knows if Tom can be reached through that web site?
Andy - >Klemen: I have a copy of a diary writing by PT Jack Skeggs
2/21 Bat 8 Div Gull Force. POW on Anbom feb 1942 moved with 260 others to Hainan island NOV 1942.
Day by day account some photos taken by yanks AUG 1945