2/20 Bn AIF in Singapore and Changi, March 1942

The 2/20 AIF in Singapore, March 1942

March 1  Battalion commenced first swimming parade, and proceeded to beach a distance of  1½ miles. Bn church parade, combined Anglican Service. Officers commenced own cooking arrangements.  NX35012, Capt R J D Richardson marched in from hospital, where he was recovering from a wound received in action.

March 2  First day of educational scheme commenced in the following courses:

Business Training under Lieut JK Windsor, General Education under Lieut JW Mudie.

Inspection made by Commander of Japanese Naval Forces of the POWs camp today at 1600 hrs.

Field Bakery made first issue of bread to AIF units.

NX56116,  Lieut HA Woods and NX69273 Lieut MJ Phillips marched in from hospital after recovering from wounds received in action.

Complete Nominal Rolls for sending to Australia handed to  Cmd Ech

Summary:- Lt Col 1, Maj 2, Capt. 9, Lieut 22, WO1 1, WO2 1, S/Sgt 3, Sgt 32, L/Sgt 5, Cpl 43, L/Cpl 20, Ptes 583   Total 722.

March 4  Bn Swimming Parade

March 5  Swimming Parades cancelled. WO Webster HE arrived in Barracks after being missing since the attack on the Island – he was wounded in the hand.

Bn commenced having 4 meals of rice per day. Fresh meat again issued today.

The Field Bakery are supplying enough bread for one slice per man per day and will later endeavour  to supply 1½ lbs [pounds] bread for every 1 lb flour given by units.

March 6  Engineers completed showers at Bn Ablution Point. Bn entertainment Committee staged its first concert which proved a great success.

March 7  Party of 54 men under Lieuts Armour 26769 and Cowden moved to Singapore on fatigue work for Japanese Authorities.

March 8  Bn Barracks sub-divided and top floor given to 27 Bde for accommodation. This has been necessary owing to the change over in areas. Bn now accommodated on two floors. Bn church parade held at 1800 hrs. Four meals of rice per day is working quite satisfactorily.

March 9  Capt Yates with a working party commenced the wiring of the AIF area.

March 10 Large party of unit personnel working under the supervision of Engineers, on latrines. The Japanese authorities have laid down a new timing schedule to commence tonight viz:- Reveille 0800 hrs, Lights out 2100 hrs.

March 11  This evening has been allotted as Battalion Sports evening, first since arriving at Changi Area. Coys participated in an evening of cricket. First  winning task completed by Capt Yates. Instructions have been received that fence is now to be triple dannert with double apron each side.

March 12 NX67514 Pte Jeffrey JH marched into unit this morning after being posted as missing since the surrender of the Island, he has been wounded inthe back but was wandering around in the battle area until he gave hiself up to the Japanese authorities. Lt Col AE Robertson [NX34912] administrating command of the 22nd Bde during the absence of Brig Varley [N72830/NX35005].

Thirty seven personnel (specialists) moved out of camp for Singapore to work on the building detachment party. Unit commenced building its own Bakery oven.

March 13 NX35007 Lieut J Hepburn and NX26448 W0II Chapman MB marched in from 2/6th Field Ambulance. Entertainment Committee staged their second unit concert which was again very much appreciated by all present. Educational classes now to be held each alternate evening owing to the new timing announced by the Japanese authorities.

March 14 Unit commencing too construct a unit Agricultural plot for the purpose of supplementing unit vegetable supply when it becomes available.


March 15 Unit Memorial Service for those who have fallen in MALAYA was held this evening at 1715 hrs. This service was conducted by Padre Greenwood and the lesson read by Lt Col AE Robertson. The list of names of those personnel who lost their lives in MALAYA was read at the service. Capt. Yates completed the wiring of our unit area. Unit commenced duties as Bde duty unit tonight.

March 16 Unit engineering  parties increased until task of latrine digging is completed. Coy’s decided on Coy cooking and work has commenced on the building of their respective kitchens. Quite a series of rainy days have been experienced over  the last week. Lt Col AE Robertson ceases to administer Command of the Bde owing to the return of the Brigadier (Varley). NX34840 Capt Gibbings CC rejoined unit from hospital.

March 17 Unit parties clearing an area of 8ft from wire fence, also assisting 2/10 Bn with the completion of its wiring area. Unit Law students

March 18 Coy cook houses completed and in readiness to commence cooking in the morning. Agricultural personnel making good headway with their gardens

March 19 Bn Bakery issued its first batch of biscuits. The death of NX72780 Pte Franklin RJ from wounds received in action was advised. Pte Franklin was buried at the AIF cemetery Changi , in grave number No.8. [?] NX70895 Lieut Thom  JG evacuated to hospital.

March 20 Lt Col AE Robertson, Majs Merrett and Carter, Capts Thompson, Gibbings, Gaden, Maxwell and Lieuts Gaven and White attended a GOCs Conference

March 21 Maj Carter with a party of eight officers and two hundred and seventy six other ranks moved to Singapore as a working party. The death of NX27791 Pte O’Cass SF, from wound received in action was advised.

March 22 NX27791 Pte O’Cass SF was buried in the AIF cemetery Changi  in Grave 10[?]. Unit handed over Bde duties to the 2/29 Bn. Church parade held at 1700 hrs.

March 23 Summary of evidence was taken by Capt DF Thompson on behalf of NX26611 A/Sgt Fardy  T,

NX52129  Cpl Charlton ME, and NX31807 Cpl Jewiss AC on a charge of Breach of Discipline . NX70895 Lieut JG Thom marched in from hospital.

March 24 New Japanese instructions regarding the movement of troops outside wire perimeter came into force today. NX30860 Pte Kingham CC and NX52213 Pte Wilesmith GP, marched out to detention barracks for 14 days detention.

March 25 Party of 2 Officers and seventy two other ranks working on RAE work.  NX50739 Pte Lawrence G, marched out to detention barracks for 14 days detention. The motor vehicle handed over to the unit for converting into a trailer for carrying of supplies has been re-assembled and a platform in under way of construction by the Pioneers.

March 26 Unit on parade for inspection of POWs by General  ???YAMA  of the Japanese Imperial Army. NX38150 Pte Mulhearn T, and NX4429- Pte Blackman E marched out to Detention barracks. There appears to be something odd about this Blackman entry. The NX number and surname are in much darker typing as if an error had been corrected, but , according to the DVA Nominal Roll, E Blackman of 2/20 Bn was NX53384 and was discharged in August 1941 and therefore not a POW. NX4429 was EB Bradford of the 2/20 Pioneer Battalion and so would have been a POW)

March 27 7 Officers and one hundred fifty O/Rs warned to stand by at half hours notice for a move to Singapore as a working party.

March 28 Battle casualty list of unit completed and forwarded to Echelon.

Summary:- Officers Killed in action  6, Believed Killed in Action 4, Died of wounds 2, Missing 3, Total 13. The Adjutant has hand- written the 2 and 3 over his typed figure  which suggests his original sum of 13 was correct but he’s had to add 2 more people so his total should now be 15.

Other Ranks  Killed in action 6, Believed K in A 28, Died of wounds 11, Missing believed drowned (EA) 6, Missing believed wounded 19, Missing 245. Total 315.

March 29 Unit Church parade held 1700 hrs, this parade was attended by Brig AL Varley.

March 30  Unit takes over Brigade duties from 2/28 Battalion.

March 31 Unit mounted its first guard since arriving in the POW Camp, this was an Officers guard under the command of Lieut RW Stanistreet. A new allotment of areas take place from today. Twenty other -ranks marched into the unit from Singapore parties. Indian guards are now being used on POW wired areas. After six weeks in our present surroundings everything has settled down to general routine with the troops more or less settling down to POW regulations.

Signed by DF Thompson and AE Robertson.

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