The Soldier's Details
- First Name:
- Cecil William
- Regimental #:
- Attached 2/4th, 88 Light Aid Detachment
- Place of Birth:
- Scone, New South Wales
- Father's Name:
- William Newman
- Mothers's Name:
- Mercy Beatrice Newman (nee Bell)
- Church of England
- Pre-war Occupation:
- Cabinet Maker
- Epitaph, Labuan Memorial, Panel 29, Age 24.
- Selarang Camp Changi
- ‘E’ Force Borneo
- Cause of Death:
- Not Known
- Place of Death:
- Date of Death:
Above Cecil Newman.
Taken on Strength at Sydney on 9.1.1942 with 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion 8th Division. (A Western Australian raised battalion for WW2 – originally trained for middle east, but sent to Singapore).
It is not known when this soldier enlisted, however it was at Paddington, NSW. According to his last electoral roll record, Cecil was working as a carpenter at Scone, NSW at the time and where his family resided.
It is apparent the men of 88th LAD had bonded closely and the reason they nearly all decided to leave Singapore with the North Borneo Work Forces. i.e. ‘B’ and ‘E’ (POWs would not have known their destination).
The 2/4th MGB lost 71 men at Sandakan.
Sadly Cecil’s records do not state what he died of on 11 March 1945 aged 25 years – it means so little as the POWs who died once leaving Sandakan on infamous ‘death March’ to Ranau, and those who died in the last months at Sandakan Camp had their records signed off by Japanese guards who had no real knowledge of the men’s symptons. Worse was the fact the Japanese did not recognise the fact that POWs could be ill with several diseases as once. For them ‘you could only have one illness’ and ‘die of one illness’.
Cecil like all POWs at Sandakan North Borneo died firstly of starvation, then illnesses. The Japanese ceased feeding the POWs in early January 1945, and forbid them from trading with the locals. (The POWs had wisely stockpiled rice which only lasted so long, with men receiving minute supplies).
Cecil was not sufficiently fit to be selected by the Japanese to leave Sandakan-Ranau with the First March in January 1945, and for him it is a blessing he died before the Second March left in May 1945 – after this time, all those remaining at Sandakan moved (some of them crawling) outside to the compound, were left in the open without shelter (and food) whilst the Japanese burned the accommodation huts to the ground, along with as many records they could. It was in the compound where those who could not walk, lay and died over the next 2-3 months.
Cecil was one of two surviving sons born to parents William Newman and Mercy Beatrice Bell who married 1917 Armidale, NSW. His older brother was Frank Flemington Newman.
Australian Corps of Electrical and Mechanical Engineers
- Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
- Sandakan - Borneo ***
- Lintang Officers Camp, Kuching - Sarawak