The Soldier's Details

Surname:
Hills
First Name:
John Bedford
Nick Name:
Jack
Rank:
Private
Regimental #:
WX6778
Company:
'D' Company
Enlisted:
19.07.1940
Discharged:
4.12.1945
DOB:
29.03.1905
Place of Birth:
Adelaide, South Australia
Father's Name:
Frank Hills
Mothers's Name:
EdithHills
Religion:
Church of England
Pre-war Occupation:
Clerk and Miner
Singapore:
Selarang Camp and Barracks Changi
Force:
‘D’ Force Thailand, S Battalion
Camps Thailand:
Kanu II , Tarsau, Tamuang, Tarsau, Tamuang, Nacompaton, Tamarkan; Petchaburi, Kachu Mountain Camp
POW#:
4/6223 & 8790
Return Details 1945:
Thailand-Singapore by aircraft; Singapore-Fremantle, HMT Highland Brigade.

General Description

Jack’s father Frank Hills and family farmed in southern Katanning region.  Jack remained living here until his early 20’s then appears to have changed from farming to prospecting and mining in the 1930s residing in the Kalgoorlie region and moving to Bullfinch.

After the war Jack returned to prospecting and was recorded living at Southern Cross.

Jack married and was residing with his wife Muriel throughout the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s at 74 Sorrento Street, North Beach.  He was employed as a clerk throughout that time.

 

Jack Hills appears to have suffered greatly from Malaria and spent most of his time as a prisoner in Thailand close to hospital camps.

Jack was at Nacompaton before being sent to Tamarkan.  Tamarkan Hospital had better conditions. This was due to the excellent POW Camp leader, Lt. Col. Phil Toosey who had been instructed by the Japanese to establish Tamarkan Hospital.  Toosey was prepared to risk his own life supporting the facilitation and access to desperately needed medicines and extra food through the ‘Black Market’ run by group of ex-pats from Bangkok and local Thais.  This group provided money to enable  essentials to be purchased for the sick POWs.  Toosey worked with the most highly regarded Doctors running an efficient, disciplined and clean hospital where seriously ill patients arrived almost daily having survived unbelievable journeys without food/water.  The POWs were shocked to be treated with so much care and kindness.  

In April the Japanese selected 1000 POWs for a ‘force to go to Malaya for light duties’.  This was completely untrue, the 1000 sick men were sent with unknown numbers of Asian workers to construct the Mergui Road Escape Route in southern Burma through mountainous terrain, working in terrible conditions.  One in four POWs did not survive and the loss of Asian lives was horrendous.  

Jack was airlifted out of Kachu Mountain Camp to Singapore at the end of the war, September 1945.  He sailed from Singapore to Fremantle on HMT Highland Brigade. 

Jack Hills died 16/7/1991.

 

Camp Locations:

  • Selarang Barracks Changi - Singapore
  • Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
  • Kanu II, 152.30k - Thailand
  • Nacompaton, Nakom Pathom Hospital - Thailand
  • Petchaburi - Thailand
  • Tamarkan, Tha Makham 56k - Thailand
  • Tamuang, Tha Muang 39k - Thailand
  • Tarsau, Tha Sao 125k - Thailand
  • Kachau Mountain Camp - Thailand
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