A Correspondent’s View

POWs

POWs

 

Kenneth Attiwill, Australian playwright, journalist and author described the conditions of Malaya for the Allied troops as they were being pushed back to Singapore.  The picture he molds with his words is dramatically similar to what was faced throughout the Pacific.  To give you an insight_____

“…the jungles, mangrove swamps and thickly treed areas of cultivation present a particular problem.  Visibility is limited…there are no fields of fire and tactical features become insignificant.

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“…the jungle itself – a terrifying morass of tangled vegetation, steamy heat, nerve-racking noises and the discomfit of mosquitoes by the myriad, moths, beetles, insects of all kinds, biting, buzzing, irritating and debilitating.

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“Rubber too, with its dampness and sound-deadening effect breeds a feeling of isolation…Noise is difficult to pinpoint…In the monsoonal season there is the added handicap of torrential rain, hissing down incessantly upon the greenery, dripping on heads and bodies, humid, sweaty, destructive…article970368-3-001

Within little more than a month, the Japanese had advanced from Siam all the way down the peninsula into northern Johore…Yet, in Johore, the commanders chose to try to defend one strong point, only to be destroyed piecemeal.”

“Withdrawal into Singapore was inevitable.  That was the pattern — errors by commanders; insufficient or inadequately trained troops and continuous under-estimation of a savage, speedy, highly skilled and highly mobile enemy.”

Kenneth Attiwill became a POW of the Japanese and was interned on both Java and later Japan.  He survived his ordeal and married author, Evadne Price.  He wrote “The Singapore Story” to describe the events up to the surrender and “The Rising Sunset” about his time in captivity.  Mr. Attiwill passed away in 1960 and the youthful age of 54.

Click on images to enlarge.

 

News articles are courtesy of Trove.com

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Current News –     THE AMERICAN VETERANS DISABLED FOR LIFE MEMORIAL  HAS NOW BEEN DEDICATED – Take a moment.

animated_changing_military_seals-1

 

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

 

Does Little Rock like this one?  Did I do the veterans justice?  Let me know.

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Paintings by WWII POW Lance Bombardier, Des Bettany –

Where's the cookhouse?

Where’s the cookhouse?

 

 

 

Prison library

Prison library

Heigh-ho-heigh-ho

Heigh-ho-heigh-ho

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Farewell Salutes – 

Joseph Brugliera, Jr – Jupiter, FL; US Navy, WWII, destroyer radioman

Richard Bensacca – Soledad, CA; US Army, WWII, aircraft engine mechanicA-Single-Tear-Ach-Hold-Inspirational-Life-Quotes

John Cain – Ottawa, CAN; RC Army, P.P.C.L.I., Korea

Jack Dahlgren – Oilton, OK; US  Army, 291st Antitank/75th Div., USAAF, P-38, P-47 pilot, WWII

George Hill – Las Vegas, NV; US Air Force (Ret. E-6 20 years), 3 tours Vietnam

Harvey Johnson – Kansas City, MO; US Navy, WWII, pilot

Bruce McRobie – Northbridge, NZ; RNZ Navy, WWII

Lloyd Oczkewicz – Everett, WA; US Army,WWII, ETO, Bronze Star

Robert Pratt – Lake Worth, FL; US Army, Korea

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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on October 23, 2014, in Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 65 Comments.

  1. A very moving account of the time Attiwill spent in the jungle – he used his gift for language to describe a type of hell familiar to others imprisoned there too.

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    • I’m glad you liked this, Carol, frankly finding info on Attiwill was more difficult than I thought (aside from reading his books). His writing ability enabled the worlld to see what somewhat the conditions the soldiers went through.

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  2. What a great memorial to our disabled veterans. I hadn’t heard about it. Also enjoyed the description of conditions in the jungles that our veterans had to endure. Thanks for all you do.

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  3. Thanks for posting on the POW’s and Kenneth Attiwell in particular.
    I had read about him but not in detail, The Rising Sunset will give me a further insight into the man and the times he suffered under.
    Regards
    Ian

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    • Most of Attiwill must have gone into his books, because he has been a hoot to research. The only picture located for him came with the assistance of the research librarian at the National Australian Library!! I’m glad you found him interesting, Ian.

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  4. That memorial is a great idea.

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  5. The American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial was long overdue. Thank you for sharing the opening dedication, etc., with us.

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  6. What an amazing memorial. I didn’t realize it existed. Wonderful!

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  7. The pain of survival in circumstances such as these fuels remembrance that must never wither. What a great book by Ken Attiwill and he did produce more on the subject. Much to remember and honour.

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  8. GP, this site is just amazing. Every time I come and read I am just floored by what you’re compiling here.

    When I read the farewell section and see their job descriptions, I imagine them young, doing their duty.

    Thanks so much.
    Emily Grace

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  9. Thanks for bringing the memorial to my attention. It looks beautiful, and it must be very comforting for everyone to have this recognition of lifelong disability from war.

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  10. After reading the description of the horrid conditions under which not just to live but to fight – and when there was only basic medical care if that – only those that were there know. Similar conditions were in Viet Nam, Cambodia and Laos…I think. Very touching to have read. I though of Smitty, Old Man Jack, and many others. Old Man Jack always said, “…those stinkin’ islands”.

    And in perfect companionship to your post was the “AMERICAN VETERANS DISABLED FOR LIFE MEMORIAL”. I think this saying etched onto the glass memorial panes perhaps sums your post up: “In a war, there are no unwounded”.

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    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts here, Koji. It’s strange (I suppose they all react differently) Old Man Jack groups all the islands together and the only remark I can ever recall of Smitty was when he told me a story about the Australian barber when he was on leave and he said, “Did you spend 5 #@$%##@$ months in the jungles of New Guinea?! [I knew it had to be awful, but Smitty had a way of making you laugh when he retold it].

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  11. “ …the jungle itself – a terrifying morass of tangled vegetation, steamy heat, nerve-racking noises . . .”, right out of Wayne’s Journal. I can’t imagine what it must have been like at night while engaged in combat.

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  12. superb post

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  13. As close as I got to those horrid conditions was with Bear Grills on Man vs. Wild. I’ll call myself lucky. On another note–thanks for the information on the memorial. It’s beautiful.

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  14. What a great slideshow! How soon everyone forgets the toll of war.

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  15. A vividly-drawn picture of that jungle. Not a pleasant place; nor were the POW camps.
    Amazing how often the side that seems to do the most bungling often still manages to win, eventually. The Brits displayed that characteristic in the Boer War, too.

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  16. What a description. My grandfather would never talk about his time in the Pacific, so I am so grateful to you for helping me to fill in the details in imagining what he went through.

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  17. Interestingly, the Japanese were not to-the-jungle-born either.
    So given that neither side were jungle-native the Japanese must have had a Factor X that the allies lacked—?

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    • More experienced. These were well-trained veteran soldiers.

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      • I read a story, don’t know if it’s apocryphal or not, about a Royal Navy captain serving in an advisory capacity aboard a Japanese ship at the battle of Tsushima wherein a Russian fleet that had sailed halfway around the world got severely mauled.

        The RN guy, in accordance with the rules at the time shouldn’t have been there but there was no opportunity of landing him; so he got changed into recreation rig, grabbed a deckchair and brolly and some refreshments and a book, and bimbled down to the quarterdeck where he curled up to sit it all out …

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        • Well now, isn’t that unique! I’d never heard that story before, but if they won’t put you ashore – what else are you going to do? Thanks for sharing, this one’s kind of humorous.

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  18. Wow, thank you for sharing this.

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  19. wonderful – and the slideshow – well got choked up at the end of it – thanks a lot G – now where are the tissues?

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  20. Interesting post. That Veterans slide show is beautiful and really touched me. Have a great day, Everett.

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  21. Having lived in the West African Jungle, I agree with the description. Fortunately, no one was shooting at me. –Curt

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  22. Being a guest of the emperor seems in many cases not to have encouraged a long life. In the school where I used to work…….
    “Richard Edward Maddison died in Lagos, Nigeria, on Thursday, December 23rd 1948 at the age of only twenty-seven, after twelve months’ illness. During the Second World War, he had suffered great privations during his long years in Japanese slave labour camps in Malaya, and it was thought that this had weakened his constitution. During his illness, he always “displayed great courage and fortitude, and always had a smile upon his lips.” He left a young widow.”

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  23. Jackie Saulmon Ramirez

    This was great, I love the images.

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  24. Long before Kenneth Attiwell was a war correspondant named Whitlaw Reid. For an interesting insight on the American Civil War, see “the Agate papers”, written by Reid.

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  25. I don’t know how anybody can do anything but simply exist in such a muggy climate as is found in Southeast Asia. I guess people eventually acclimate.

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  26. Reblogged this on A Conservative Christian Man.

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