2/20 Bn AIF in Singapore and Changi, April 1942.

War Diary of the 2/20 Bn AIF in Changi, Singapore, April 1942.

April 1

NX33391 Pte Serong GL marched into camp after wandering around the Island since the “Surrender”. NX52213 Pte Lawrence G. marched in from Detention Barracks after completing 14 days Detention. Seven personnel marched out to hospital, two marched in from hospital.

 

April 2

2/20 Bn provided agricultural party for the 27th Bde this day. Unit trailer for the carrying of rations completed but much too large for the work it will be required to do. Five Officers and one hundred and fifty other-ranks warned to ‘stand by’ for Singapore Working party on 4th. Two marched out to hospital and two marched in from hospital.

 

April 3

Good Friday and Holy Communion held 0830 hrs. Combined Church Service held at 1700 hrs. NX31893 Pte Cranney RT has been absent from camp for 72 hrs and is presumed missing. Unit providing 50 men for work on Bde agricultural plots as from today. NX26611 A/Sgt Fardy T, NX31807 Cpl Jewiss AC and NX52129 Cpl Charlton HE were reverted to the rank of Private as from today (GOC authority). Unit received issue of Hot Cross Buns from Field Bakery. One marched out to hospital and two marched in from hospital.

 

April 4

GOC Major_General Callaghan, CB (V.D.) inspected troops of the 22nd Bde this morning at 1100 hrs. Unit party for Singapore cancelled. 27th Bde provided Unit’s agricultural party today.

One to hospital and six marched in from hospital.

Full casualty list of Unit prepared and Summary is as follows:-

Officers           Killed and Missing 15Wounded 10

NCOs               Killed and Missing 27Wounded 27

Other Ranks     Killed and Missing 294 Wounded 139

TOTAL 512

 

April 5

Easter Sunday and Combined Church Service held at 1700 hrs. NX52213 Pte Wilesmith GP and NX30860 Pte Kingham CC marched in from Detention Barracks. Unit cricket team met the 2/10 th Field Ambulance in a match which resulted in a win for the medical Unit. Strong piquet mounted to endeavout to stamp out organised gambling. Three marched in from hospital.

 

April 6

Unit providing Anti-Malarial party for one week under Hygiene Section. Battalion Bake-house has been obtaining some very good results with rice flour experiments. Agricultural Officer reports a good growth of sweet potatoes in Unit plot. One marched in from hospital, two from Convalescent depot and one from Singapore Working Party.

 

April 7

Officers of Unit attended a lecture given by Lt Col Galleghan FG on the activities of the 2/20 Battalion on the mainland. Small issue of clothing made to Unit today. Unit warned to stand by for working party to Singapore on 9th. NX52088 Cpl Barnett JJ and NX33600 Pte Bowman JAC gave a blood transfusion for Lieut MacLean AH. Three marched out to hospital and three marched in from hospital.

 

April 8

NX35012 Capt RJD Richardson moved out to Singapore for work on the AIF Kit store. Unit advised that Japanese authorities have made a quantity of stores available for the commencement of a Canteen. Two marched in from hospital.

 

April 9

Portion of the Unit Barracks being used for the stacking of the clothing which is now arriving from the Kit-Store in Singapore. NX31449 Pte Doyle CJ marched in from Detention Barracks. From stores which are available for issue to troops on a Canteen basis will now be made by ASC to Units according to their strength figures.

 

April 10

Unit commenced constructing shade shelter for troops over messing areas. Officers of unit attended a lecture given by Col Kappee of 8 Div Signals on ‘Communications- lessons learnt during the Malayan Campaign’. One marched in from Hospital.

 

April 11

NX45175 Pte Davison AE marched out to the Detention Barracks. Special instruction have been issued to unit today regarding the cooking of rice as the medical authorities are concerned over the lack of Vitamin E. Three marched in from hospital.

 

April 12

Combined Church Service held at 1700 hrs. 3 Officers and 85 men working on Anti-Malarial work today. NX40878 Lieut LJ Ryan evacuated to hospital. NX31893 Pte Cranney RT, NX55102 Pte Fowler NV and NX51966 Pte Bayliss FC arrived back in Camp after being absent for various periods, some of the time being spent in Japanese hands. One marched in from hospital.

 

April 13

Lieut F Gavan and twenty other ranks warned to stand by for a move to Mersing for the dismantling of land mines. Unit to take over portion of Bde duties tonight. NX45130 Pte Burns SAN arrived camp after being absent for 22 days. Officers of unit attended lecture given by Major Hunter BM of the Artillery Bde on ‘Artillery Operations in the Malayan Campaign’. Three marched in from hospital and three from Convalescent Depot.

 

April 14

NX31893 Pte Cranney RT marched out to Detention barracks. Mersing party issued with clothing. Two marched in from hospital.

 

April 15

Two officers and eighty eight other ranks detailed to stand by for move to Singapore tomorrow. Two evacuated to hospital. One marched in from hospital and one from Con. Depot. NX4429 Pte Blackman E marched in from Detention Barracks.

 

April 16

Singapore Party moved off under Capt CC Gibbings at 0800 hrs. Unit received a ‘boring machine’ and a twenty four hour roster has been drawn up for the purpose of placing down as many latrine holes as possible in the 48 hours that it it allotted to the unit. Singapore party arrived back in camp as no accommodation was available in Singapore. 2/19 Bn relieved our unit guard on the Ordnance Kit Store. Twelve other ranks marched in from Singapore Working party. Three evacuated to hospital.

 

April 17

Officers of unit attended a lecture given by Lt Col AE Robertson on ‘The Arms of an Infantry Battalion.’

 

April 18

NX38150 Pte Mulhearn T marched in from detention barracks. The following promotions appeared on the GOC’s Appointments order dated 18 April ’42. Major AE Robertson to be Lt Col from 11.2.42 and to Command. Capt JG Fairley to be Major from 14.2.42, Capt WA Carter to be Major from 14.2.42, Lieut RV Pockley to be Capt from 30.1.42, Lieut J Hepburn to be Capt from 30.1.42, Lieut F Gavan to be Capt from 30.1.42. NX53430 Pte Higham GE and NX57409 Pte Saville VH awared 28 days detention. NX68499 Pte Trotter LH and NX4405 Pte Bluhdorn BD awarded 7 days detention. Three evacuated to hospital

 

April 19

Combined church service held at 1700hrs. Syllabus drawn up for WO and NCO’s course to commence tomorrow. One evacuated to hospital and one to Con Depot. Two marched in from hospital.

 

April 20

Officers of unit attended lecture given by Lt Col Summers on ‘Medical Difficulties and Evacuations on the Mainland’. WO and NCOs course commenced, this course is to strengthen the discipline of the unit. Three marched in from hospital.

 

April 21

Unit warned to stand by with 8 officers and 200 o/rs for a Singapore Working party on 22nd. Two evacuated to hospital also one from Con Depot.

 

April 22

NX39223 Capt JP Catchlove marched in from 2nd Con Depot after convalescing from a wound received in action. TX6071 Capt GM Crabbe marched out of 2/9th Field Amb. NX55267 Pte Hollis K marched in from Detention Barracks after receiving four days remission of sentence. Unit’s duties maountd on Bde “Retreat” parade, this parade is to take place daily. NX35012 Capt RJD Richardson marched in from Singapore after completing duty at Kit-Store. Two marched in from hospital.

 

April 23

Capt ACM Ewart nominated and selected to be Infantry Instructor at Div Cadre. Lieuts Lusk, Phillips, Simpson and nominated and selected to attend. Two to hospital (one suspected case of Beri-Beri). Two marched in from hospital.

 

April 24

Rice-grinder constructed by Capt Ewart completed and put into operation. One evacuated to hospital.

 

April 25

Anzac Day and Dawn Service was held at 0715 hrs, Unit laid a wreath and it was quite an impressive Service. Capt Yates nominated as Unit Yeast production Officer. The production of yeast has become necessary owing to the lack of Vitamins and the danger of Beri-Beri. One evacuated to hospital and three marched in from hospital.

 

April 26

Church Service held at 1015 hrs. Unit received its first issue of clothing from Ordnance which had been obtained from the AIF Kit Store in Singapore. Cricket match played today between AIF and 11th Division unit representatives were Lieut Cornforth, Pte Stewart J, and WO Webster H (umpire). Capt ACM Ewart, Lieut Lusk, Phillip, Simpson, Thom marched out to Div Cadre. One evacuated to hospital and one marched in from hospital.

 

April 27

NX34719 Major JG Fairley marched into unit after being seconded to 22nd Bde HQ since June ’41. Unit mounted Bde Duties. NX53430 Pte Higham GE and NX57409 Pte Saville VH marched out to Detention Barracks to complete 28 days detention. NX14496 Pte Schulz RH awarded 7 days unit detention. Two evacuated to hospital and two marched in from hospital.

 

April 28

A quantity of personnel property recovered from Kit Store was handed to unit today. One evacuated to hospital. Two marched in from hospital and one from Con Depot.

 

April 29

Coys commenced issueing [sic] of clothing to personnel, issue to be: 2 shirts, 2 shorts, 1 pr boots, 2pr socks, 1 hat or cap, cape or ground sheet, 1 pr long trousers, 2 towels, 2 singlets, 2pr shorts pants, razor, comb, 4 brushes,. One evacuated to hospital and one marched in from hospital.

 

April 30

Unit duties marched past the GOC on ‘Retreat’ parade this evening. Total personnel now in hospital from unit is 2 officers, 65 o/rs. Strength of unit in Camp is 19? officers, 314? o/rs. (These numbers hard to read as have been typed over a number of times) Detached in working parties 12 officers, 344 o/rs. Two evacuated to hospital.

 

Signed D F Thompson Capt, Adjt 2/20 Bn AIF and RO Merrett, Maj Admn Comd 2/20 Bn AIF

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