The Soldier's Details
- First Name:
- Bernard James
- Regimental #:
- Trade Group 1
- Headquarters No, 3 Platoon. Attached 2/4th 88 Light Aid Detachment
- Place of Birth:
- Quirindi, New South Wales
- Father's Name:
- Frederick William Howard
- Mothers's Name:
- Annie Mary Howard (nee Coyle)
- Roman Catholic
- Pre-war Occupation:
- Truck Driver
- Epitaph, Labuan Memorial, Panel 18, Age 29.
- Selarang Camp Changi
- 'A' Force Burma, Green Force, No. 3 Battalion
- Camps Thailand:
- Camps Burma:
- Reptu 30km Camp, Victoria Point, Kendau, Thetkaw, Aunggaung
- Rakuyo Maru Party, Kumi No. 37
- Cause of Death:
- Lost at Sea
- Place of Death:
- South China Sea
- Date of Death:
Bernard James Howard was one of 3 sons and 2 daughters born to Frederick William Howard and Annie May Coyle. The family lived in the area of Quirindi and Willow Tree, a prestigious grazing and farming district in the northern extremities of Liverpool Ranges in the Hunter Valley of New South Wakes. Frederick Howard was a farmer and his sons took up work in the area as truck drivers (Bernard) and station hands. Although a prestigious farming area it would have been hit by 1930’s depression, and no doubt the reason Bernard Howard like many other young men from Australia’s rural areas, enlisted.
Bernard enlisted at Paddington, NSW September 1941 joining the 88 Light Aid Detachment, Trade Group 1 attached to 2/4th Headquarters Company.
From Selarang Barracks Bernard was selected with ‘A’ Force to go to Burma. With Green Force No. 3 Battalion he was transported by ship to Burma.
He would have worked at several camps at the Burma end of the Railway however was recorded working as a medical orderly at Reptu 30k camp arriving 26 March 1943 from Thetkaw 14 k camp.
At Thetkaw camp Green Force was employed mainly on bridge building. There were several collapses and POWs and Japanese were badly injured. This camp was an improvement on the previous one at Kendau.
Kendau 4.8 k Camp from 1/10/1942 to 1/12/1942.
This camp was located within the Moulmein rubber plantation about 100 yards from the railway line. The accommodation was Atap huts open on one side. Burmese had previously occupied the camp and it was in an appallingly filthy state when the POWs arrived. They built a kitchen and latrines and tried to improve the huts whilst working on the excavation of embankments and cuttings for the railway line.
Following ‘Speedo’ Bernard was at Tamarkan Camp when selected for Japan on 27 March 1944. Initially the Group travelled by train most of the journey to Saigon. It was here the Japanese decided the Allied Sea Blockade would no longer allow Japanese shipping to safely leave French Indo-China shores and the POWs would have to travel by train back to Singapore via Bangkok where they were accommodated at River Valley Road Barracks prior to boarding the ill-fated ‘Rakuyo Maru’.
- River Valley Road Camp - Singapore
- Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
- Tamarkan, Tha Makham 56k - Thailand
- Aungganaung,105Kilo - Burma
- Kendau, Kandaw, 4 Kilo - Burma
- Reptu, Retphaw, 30Kilo 385k - Burma
- Victoria Point, Kawthoung - Burma. \'A\' Force, Green Force No. 3 Btn
- Thetkaw 14 Kilo - Burma