Please note currently under construction July 2023
Under the command of Capt. D. Duffy of 2/30th Btn, this party consisted of men from 2/29th and 2/30th. Work involved excavating tunnels at Johore Bahru.  250 men worked on a daily rota of one hour on and one hour off due to the inadequate ventilation and the poor physical condition of POWs.
With Malaysian rains there were frequent falls of earth and the work became dangerous.
The POWs were initially accommodated in an old barracks and a large house which were located about two miles apart.   On 24 April 1945 the work party merged at the barracks.  Most of the men had been to Thailand so malaria was prevalent amongst their ranks.  Following this work, Capt Duffy led another group –  A.1 Party on tunnelling duties from 7 May 1945.  Eight companies totalled 282 men.
The following 2/4th Men were in this party.

WX15433 James ANDERSON – previously ‘F’ Force.

WX7943 Robert DRYSDALE – previously ‘H’ Force.  Also P Force.

WX10066 Douglas Godfrey ROSS remained Singapore throughout war. In 1945 seconded to work with Levelling Party Changi Aerodrome, X1 Party and P Party.

Above:  WX7943 Robert DRYSDALE and right WX15433 James Lorimer ANDERSON
Below:  WX10066 Douglas Godfrey ROSS

Diary of Stan Arneil, formerley with ‘F ‘ Force Thailand

NX54846 2/30th Battalion, 8th Division AIF WW2

Former POW Stan Arneil formerly 2/30th Battalion, included a detailed description of his time at Jahore Bahru Tunnels in his book ‘One Man’s War’.  In fact, Arneil kept a diary beginning with his time with ‘F’ Force on the Railway through till the end of war.  He wrote often how he feared the Japanese ever discovering his diary.  It would have like the loss of a friend.
The men were taken by trucks from Changi across the Straits from Singapore to Jahore Bahru, the capital of the State of Jahore.  Arneil wrote the houses and gardens in residential area were quite substantial and provided a wonderful change of scenery for them.
POWs were generally in poor physical condition – later to worsen by the hard work of this camp. It was uncertain times.
To begin with POWs worked without rest days.
Arneil wrote he had worked 51 days straight without a rest day.
There were few compensations for the work party men – the accommodation was quite good, food was alright, although not sufficient in quantity.   The men would take containers with then to work to scramble around the road sides to collect ‘huge revolting snails.’  They would be roasted and tasted something along the lines of tough chook (fowl).  The men’s health deteriorated but thankfully there were no deaths from disease.  Men did die from tunnelling accidents.
Arneil wrote – ‘We were shifted from Changi to Jahore 28th March 1944 and billeted in a very large and charming old two storied house with four towers which are in ruins.  The house is set on top of large hill and overlooks the Straits of Johore to the south and the large park areas to the east.’
At that time their rice issue was 500 grams per man for four days as well as other rations.
Arneil wrote ‘the change from Changi is so sharp that we are almost delirious with joy.  We have 15 sergeants here all from our unit.
‘The IJA Officers and troops have never been in charge of prisoners before and are doing everything than can for us.’
The Japanese promised to build them chairs and a table for a large verandah.  It was their third work party and looks like their first good time.
We are very happy tonight‘.
By 5 March vegetable rations are days behind and their fish ration hadn’t arrived.  Their rice ration was reduced to 400 grams daily per man.  
At that time the working hours were 9am to 7pm.
But always as is usual with the Japanese – nothing stays the same and everything changes.
But Arneil wrote the POWs continued to have the beauty of the Straits to look upon each night, and their spirits and minds were better off than in Changi.
By 19 April, there were two falls in the tunnels, and air unpleasant although they are only 20 feet inwards.  The sick men (numbers of beri beri were increasing) were compelled to work to keep the numbers up.
21st April POWs are incurring weight loss and men are away from camp 11.5 to 12 hours daily.
By mid May the Camp has lost 7lbs weight per man.  The work is physically taxing. The tunnel air is worse and the temperature rising.
Mid June 1944 the POWs have received a few items from Red Cross.  When a pit collapsing – the Japanese have to decide on a new location.  Decisions!  Sometimes demanding for the Japanese.
10 July – Arneil changes camp location to ‘Q’.
Mid July the POWs are suffering more than beri beri, there are various ailments and their weight continues to plummet.
The POWs are able to purchase extra food, remembering
Arneil is a Sergeant – but how much the privates earn I am not sure and whether the same opportunity exists for them is unsure.
Mid August 1945 – rumours are frequent amongst the men,  orders to move are then cancelled.  POWs dont know where they stand. But happy not to return to Changi yet.
19 Aug 1945 – Spirits are high.  Increased rice rations.  They have heard of the Surrender.  Koreans continue to guard the POWs – but men are too cautious at this time to risk going out – not when they have waited so long for this moment.  Confidence returns over next few days.
At 9pm last night orders were received for first tuck load of POWs to leave for Kranji!!!  The trucks left at 5pm.
Excitement everywhere.  Food rations have increased so much they are almost overwhelmed.  And going home!  That is the best!
20 August – Arneil and his mate are waiting for truck to take them to Changi.  9.00am sitting on their gear – what there is of it – the men are weak from nervous exhaustion and lack of sleep. What is unbelievable is that they have never been informed the war is over!!!
6pm arrive Changi.  Riding through Singapore it rains four times.  Every native they pass is laughing and screaming for joy at the men.  As they arrived at Changi a large Red Cross Truck also arrives (apparently about the 15th truck to do so)  – these supplies had been received in Singapore in 1942.  The Japanese had denied the men all these supplies for 3 1/2 years!
Later 20th August – Word has finally, and officially been received the war is over.  The Surrender to take place officially at 3pm. The men expect to be free tomorrow!
22nd Aug – Red Cross rations although arriving in large quantities are being shared out sparingly.  Luxuriously the men received a small piece of cheese on a small buttered biscuit!  The men only talk of food and home and look forward to each meal.  Even sugar rations!  One man died having eaten a pint of sugar.
24 August – men receive small fresh meat rations.   They are being issued with some items of clothing – Arneil received a hand towel, socks, g-string and boots.
(I was wondering why anybody would bother to mention they received a hand towel —- but then I realise they have not had a towel for more than 3 years.  What a luxury!)
26 Aug – Arneil on picquet job – to prevent men going through the wire in search of food!  Punishment is rigorous. Arneil complains if they increased the rice ration a mere 50 grams the men wouldn’t need to go out.
Received a cup of sweet coffee and a biscuit with cheese for supper.
27 Aug – Rations are further increased.  Australian butter arrived at Changi this morning.  The Korean working parties bring in the wood every day for the Changi kitchens!  No further Jap planes in the skies and the men look out for Allied planes.
28 Aug – 4 oz tinned cheese per man!
4.30pm – Australian plane flies over just skimming the huts dropping leaflets – assuring the men the war is over, and they will soon be free!
29 Aug – another biscuit with jam and sweet coffee!!  (these men will probably never completely comes to terms with food – too much, too little)
Quite a few men have died from their reaction to the food!  Unbelievable.  Many more are suffering with all sorts of imaginable symptons from the richness of food.
Arneil now realises why the foods were released so slowly to begin with.
10 pm – Changi now has an official wireless as well as the pirates – advises personnel and supplies will be dropped to them tomorrow.
In addition the each man will receive 2 oz cheese and a half tin of pineapple!
The reality is Australia does not have the means to bring home all these men.   They must keep the men hanging in there and hence the daily advices of what food will be distributed.  
30th August – plane drops parachutes with 6 men. More expected. 4 oz cheese per man.  New arrivals find they cant each Camp food and prefer their own iron rations.
31st Aug – Another plane over this morning.  For supper last night the men received a cup of cocoa and biscuit smeared with cheese.  Remember this information is from Arneil’d diary & food is still No. 1!
9.00 pm – more planes dropping supplies.  Arneil writes the Japs want to sprue up the POWs before the Australian officials arrive.  The men being issued further clothing which have been in storage.
The men are happy, dreaming of home, some huddled in groups sharing memories of home, somewhere there is the tinkle of a piano and men singing quietly.    Some POWs follow the new arrivals around, in awe of these fine physical specimens! Looking forward to every meal and more European food being served.  Lights without black-out shades, wireless broadcasts, soap and cigarettes!  Three weeks ago a man couldn’t find soap anywhere.
STANLEY FOCH ARNEIL (known as Stan or Horse) died 19 April 1992 NSW.
We wish to acknowledge the work of Stan Arneil ‘One Man’s War’ which he dedicated to the Men and Women of 8th Division AIF.

Soldiers that were in this camp