The Soldier's Details

Surname:
Manwaring
First Name:
Bryan Harry
Rank:
Sergeant
Regimental #:
WX7438
Company:
'C' Company, No. 1 Platoon (Section Sgt Commander)
Enlisted:
6.08.1940
Discharged:
22.05.1946
DOB:
23.04.1913
Place of Birth:
Worthing, England
Father's Name:
Frederick William Manwaring
Mothers's Name:
Hannah Manwaring ( nee Kerwin)
Religion:
Church of England
Pre-war Occupation:
Clerk
Singapore:
Selarang Camp Changi, Tamarkan
Force:
'A' Force Burma, Green Force, No. 3 Battalion
Camps Thailand:
Tamarkan
Camps Burma:
Victoria Point, Ye, Kendau 4.8km, Thetkaw, Meiloe 75km, Augganaung.
POW#:
1326
Japan:
Rakuro Maru Party (remained behind sick at Saigon)
Return Details 1945:
Saigon-Bankok-Singapore by aircraft, Singapore-Sydney, HMT Highland Chieftan, Sydney-Melbourne-Perth by troop train.

General Description

George Hancock with Dorothy & Bryan Manwaring

 

Manwaring was selected in Singapore with the first work party to leave the Island, and to work on the Burma end of the Burma-Thai Railway.  There were 3,000 Australian POWs in ‘A’ Force Burma – which sailed 14 May 1942 to south west coast of Burma.  By 1st October, most of the POWs of Green Force would start work on the rail link at Kendau 4.8km Camp, Burma.

Please read story of ‘A’ Force Burma

Les Cody of “Ghosts in Khaki” wrote of Ye Camp, Burma
“The men had by now adapted to a basic existence as POWs – the rice diet, living conditions and had learned to go with the flow on work parties with the Japanese. However they did not at any stage, surrender their personal independence.”
He wrote the story of a work party of about 20 men under Sgt. Brian Manwaring, 2/4th
“They were recovering logs from the jungle for piles and wharf decking.   A bit of a character with a rather quizzical sense of humour Brian selected a log he thought would be eminently suitable for the job in hand and hooking on the chains gave the order …………. One, two, three, heave ………… one, two, three, heave……..
As the 20 straining men slowly emerged from the jungle, the Jap guard jumped to his feet in anticipation. With about 30 feet of rope attached to the log it took a while for it to appear and when it did the gang collapsed in exhaustion – it was about 6 feet in length and about the circumference of a small sapling. Brian looked at the Jap and in his quiet way said “yuroshi ka?” (good hey!)
The Jap looked at Brian, then ‘the log’ then at Brian, then at the men and then again at ‘the log’ and then exploded …… “Number One – Number One” and burst out laughing!
Not the reaction the men had expected they were taken by surprise and when the guard said “all men yasumei” (rest) the men couldn’t believe it!”
It never happened again. The story became a precious memory to share again and again in the dark days ahead. The Jap with a sense of humour!

 

Read about the Saigon Party

At the end of December 1943 the POWs working on the Burma end of the railway were advised they were being moved south, by train, travelling on the rail line they had built, to one of several large camps.

Bryan was sent to Tamakan where he would regain a little weight and made some recovery of any sickness he was suffering.

On 27 March 1943 he selected as ‘fit’ by the Japanese to go to Japan to work with what was to be known as ‘Rakuyo Maru’ Party.  Initially they were trained to French Indo-China, destination Saigon and via Bangkok arriving 16 June 1944,    It was intended the Party would be shipped via Saigon Port to Japan, however it became evident to the Japanese this plan would not be feasible.  The American submarines had now effectively blockaded any Japanese shipping leaving this coast.   While waiting, the POWs worked mostly at the Saigon docks.

It was then decided the POWs would be sent by train to Singapore where they would wait for a ship.

It was at this point Bryan became sick and he was unable to travel with ‘Rakuyo Maru’  Party to Singapore – which was a blessing for him as the ship was sunk by American submarines in the South China Sea about 14 August 1944 and only a small number of POWs survived.

He was recovered from Red Cross Hospital in Saigon at the end of the war.  He had suffered ulcers to his legs and malaria.  His eyesight was reduced to 15% due to the blows received to his head from Japanese/Korean guards.  When he returned he was a patient with other former POWs suffering from diminished eyesight at Lady Lawley, Cottesloe.

 

Bryan was 12 years old and his brother about 14 when the boys arrived in Fremantle from England with their father on ‘Orama’ 13 December 1927.  Hannah Manwaring is thought to have died in about 1922.  Frederick William Manwaring remarried.
The family initially lived at Goomalling (because there were Manwaring relatives) and not long after moved to the city where William pursued his learnt trade as storekeeper/manager.   William Frederick and his wife Margaret Adele divorced in 1930.  It is believed the couple had another son, Anthony Frederick.

The Manwaring family must have moved to Mandurah area after.

In 1940 Byran married Dorothy May Letts.

Byran had a long friendship with Tom Letts.

 

The following was printed 9 October 1943.

 

 

 

The family connection and friendship between Bryan Manwaring, George Hancock and his family and Dorothy Letts and her family was cemented well before the war when they resided in the Mandurah region.

Bryan Maynard’s father Frederick William Manwaring operated a store in Mandurah and after the war, it is believed Bryan may have worked there for a short time.

 

 

Below:  the Manwaring family receive a mention as did Frank New and his wife Daisy at the Mandurah Post Office Dining Rooms – Frank New enlisted July 1940 and joined HQ Company.  Frank died Khonkan 55km Hospital, Burma in Oct 1943 following a leg amputation for ulcers.  Both New and Manwaring were selected with Green Force No. 3 Battalion to work in Burma.  They certainly would have known each other.

 

He quickly became an active community member and father of two daughters and a son.

 

He was active member of the Mandurah Road Board for many years, also RSL and serving  as President.  He maintained his close ties with the Braille Society.

 

 

 

Bryan Manwaring – a man with a good deal of energy and  dedication to his community and family.

He died at Medina in 1984 aged 71 years.

Camp Locations:

  • Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
  • Tamarkan, Tha Makham 56k - Thailand
  • Aungganaung,105Kilo - Burma
  • Kendau, Kandaw, 4 Kilo - Burma
  • Meilo, 75 Kilo, 340k - Burma
  • Ye - Burma
  • Saigon - French Indo China
  • Victoria Point, Kawthoung - Burma. \'A\' Force, Green Force No. 3 Btn
  • Thetkaw 14 Kilo - Burma
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