The Soldier's Details

Surname:
Leahy
First Name:
Michael John
Nick Name:
Jack
Rank:
Private
Regimental #:
WX9312
Company:
'B' Company
Enlisted:
30.10.1940
Discharged:
19.06.1946
DOB:
10.11.1916
Place of Birth:
Toodyay, Western Australia
Father's Name:
Michael Joseph Leahy
Mothers's Name:
Emnily Mary 'Minnie' (nee Breed)
Religion:
Roman Catholic
Pre-war Occupation:
Farmer & Truck Driver
Singapore:
Selarang Camp Changi, Johore Bahru, Adam Park, River Valley Road Camp, Selarang Barracks Changi
Force:
'J' Force Japan, Wales Maru Party
Camps Japan:
Kobe (Mitsubishi wharves), Notogawa sub-Camp No. 9, Osaka (19.5.1945 -10.9.1945)
POW#:
3/ 8491, 795
Japan:
Wales Maru Party
Return Details 1945:
Yokahama-Okinawa, U.S. Navy hospital ship, Okinawa Manila, B24 Liberator, Manila-Morotai-Darwin-Adelaide-Perth by aircraft.

General Description

Soldier was wounded in action at Tengah on 9/2/1942. The Japanese had located his section and zeroed in on them. Admitted to 2/13th Australian General Hospital at Alexandra Hospital with a shrapnel wound to his left arm. Transferred to No. 2 Convalescent Depot on 12/2/1942. Discharged to unit on 15/2/1942.

He was initially, and incorrectly reported KIA.  His family and friends placed death notices in West Australian.

Who was more surprised and relieved to find this news was not true!!

 

He was sent with ‘J’ Force to Japan from Singapore on 15 May 1943 sailing on ‘Wales ‘Maru.   ‘J’ Force consisted of 600 British and 300 Australians.

LEAHY was admitted to Kobe Hospital for 3 months and to Osaka Stadium POW Hospital, Ichioka for 6 months. On his return to Australia he was admitted to 110 (P)MH for 2 months.

Jack was a member of ‘J’ Force transported from Singapore to Japan to a POW Camp at Kobe mid 1943. Some of the details of Kobe House are found at the story Kobe House, Japan.

 

On 20 May 1945 Jack, Stan Wenn and Lance Park were the only 3 men from 2/4th who left Kobe with a party to go to Notaogawa-Osaka sub Camp No. 9 –  located at Shiga, Notogawa-Cho, Nakamiko Kankatsu. This camp was approximately 60 miles north of Osaka and 4 1/2 miles southwest of Maibara Camp.

On 17 March 1945 Kobe was heavily bombed by American B29s, and Kobe was destroyed by Fire.

The POWs were disbursed to various locations beyond Kobe.  Those remaining in Kobe were gradually  moved out in varying work parties.  On 20 May the three West Australians were the last  2/4th POWs to leave Kobe.    Rations at Kobe had been much reduced by then.

However at Shiga, rations were significantly limited and most POWs from Kobe House lost between 4 and 8 kgs in weight!  Food was mostly rice and tainted meat supplemented by what fresh water mussels could be collected  from the lake.  Their work was to reclaim land from Lake Biwa so crops could be planted.  Standing in the lake water all day was debilitating for any man, let alone these men already underfed and ill.

Jack was recovered from Japan when the war ended.

L-R: Mick Wedge, Tom Hampton, Jack Leahy, John Gilmour, Bill Davies

 

For further reading go to  Affadavit by Leahy

 

Known as ‘Jack’ or Jacky to his family, he was ninth of twelve children born to his parents Michael ‘Mick’ Joseph Leahy and Emily Mary ‘Minnie’ Beard-Cousins who married 1901 near Toodyay.

Below: notice of death of Emily’s mother and ‘Jack’s Grandmother.

 

Mick Leahy (Snr) was born in Tipperary, Ireland, was granted land to farm at Pithara. He remained here until his death in 1965.

When ‘Jack’ enlisted he gave his last address as Pithara.

He married about 1951 to Evelyn Maureen Rickey known as ‘Ricky’ who was born Kalgoorlie 1924. The couple had a family of three children.   Jack passed away aged 89yrs, January 12  2006, at Mandurah, WA.  Ricky died in 2017.

 

Jack had a brush with death in 1952 during this boating tragedy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Camp Locations:

  • Adam Park Camp - Singapore
  • Johore Bahru, - Malaysia
  • River Valley Road Camp - Singapore
  • Selarang Barracks Changi - Singapore
  • Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
  • Kobe, Osaka #2-B - Japan ***
  • Notogawa, Osaka #9-B - Japan
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