The Soldier's Details
- First Name:
- Neville Ernest
- Regimental #:
- Fitter and Technical Storeman
- Attached 2/4th, 88 Light Aid Detachment
- Place of Birth:
- Perth, Western Australia
- Father's Name:
- Paul Bert Bailey
- Mothers's Name:
- Eliza Bailey (nee Taylor)
- Pre-war Occupation:
- Epitaph, Labuan Memorial, Panel 29, Age 24.
- Selarang Camp Changi
- ‘B’ Force Borneo
- Cause of Death:
- Place of Death:
- Sandakan No. 2 Camp
- Date of Death:
Taken on Strength from 2/4th Field Workshops on 20.2.1941. Transferred to 88 L.A.D. on 27.12.1941.
‘1942 Paybook photograph, taken on enlistment, of WX10920 Craftsman Neville Ernest Bailey, 88th Light Aid Detachment, Australian Army Ordnance Corps. He was one of over 2000 Allied prisoners of war (POW) held in the Sandakan POW camp in north Borneo, having been transferred there from Singapore as a part of B Force. The 1494 POW’s that made up B Force, were transported from Changi on 7 July 1942 on board the tramp ship Ubi Maru, arriving in Sandakan Harbour on 18 July 1942. Craftsman Bailey, aged 24, died as a prisoner of the Japanese on 10 June 1945. He was the son of Paul Bert and Eliza Bailey, of Inglewood, WA. He is commemorated on the Labuan Memorial Panel 29. (Photograph copied from AWM232, items 4 and 5. Personal information from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Database.)’
When Neville first enlisted he joined 88th Light Aid Detachment as Fitter & Technical Storeman. He was one of 18 men from 88th LAD under Command of Capt A H R Odlum, attached to 2/4th MGB.
As a POW in Singapore, Bailey was selected with ‘B’ Force to sail to Borneo from Singapore on 8 July 1942 to Sandakan, British North Borneo as it was then known (Sabah). It was here POWS worked on constructing an airfield with necessary roads for the Japanese.
Tragically Neville died of malaria Sandakan on 10 June 1945 aged 24 years – he was one of two thousand POWs who did not survive the hellish Sandakan. The Commonwealth Burial Party found he died at No. 2 Sandakan Camp and was found buried at No. 1 Sandakan Camp.
Neville was one of five sons and four daughters born to Paul and Eliza Bailey. Paul Bailey and Eliza Taylor married in Fremantle in 1901. The family initially resided at Inglewood.
Neville loved water sports and was passionate about cars. He was the proud owner of a 1928 Chrysler. He worked at Sydney Atkinson Motors as a storeman prior to enlisting.
This is all the information the Australian Government allowed Sandakan POWs families be informed. Absolutely nothing, just that their son had died Sandakan. The Government ensured there were no press reports printed in Australia – several journalists had been to Borneo soon after the end of the war and during the recovery of bodies and during War Trials.
Relatives were outraged and rallied in Sydney – they were desperate for information The 8th Division also approached the Australian government to no avail.
Below: Neville’s Grandfather died.
His father known as Skipper Bailey died in 1955 aged 78 years and his mother died in 1956 aged 75 years.
Plaque at King Park.
- Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
- Sandakan - Borneo ***