The Soldier's Details

First Name:
Penrod Vance
Regimental #:
‘B’ Company, No. 7 Platoon.
Place of Birth:
South Perth, Western Australia
Father's Name:
Edward Archibald Dean
Mothers's Name:
Mary 'Alice' Dean (nee Baldwin)
Church of England
Pre-war Occupation:
Commercial Traveller
Selarang Camp Changi; Outram Road Prison; Levelling Party Changi Aerodrome; X3 Party; Changi Gaol Camp (Garden Control Party)
Return Details 1945:
Singapore-Darwin‐Sydney, HMTArawa; Sydney-Melbourne by troop train; Melbourne to Perth by aircraft

General Description

Penrod Dean front centre, Jim Clancy and Henry Demoullin centre
Penrod Dean front centre, Jim Clancy and Harry De Moullin either side.


Dean enlisted AIF 30 Jul 1940.  He later joined 2/4th MGB and took up the role of Commanding Officer of ‘B’ Company 7 Platoon.
He was hospitalised during the latter part of the fighting in Singapore 8-15th February 1942.  Details are not known.
Platoon Sgt J.E. ‘Jack’ Pearson and NCO, was highly respected and held the temporary rank of Lieutenant as a Prisoner of War. He had acted as the Commanding Officer of No. 7 Platoon when Lieutenant P. V. Dean was evacuated to hospital.
‘Jack’ Pearson had held the rank of Lieutenant in the militia in which he served from 1924-1929.
(Pearson later worked on Burma-Thai Railway with ‘D’ ForceThailand S Battalion and died of illness at Chungkai Hospital Camp 13 February 1944 aged 43 years.)
Dean’s No. 2 Sergeant, 24 year old  David Holme was wounded in action on 14 Feb 1942 at Pasir Panjang receiving gunshot wounds to his skull, right hand and legs.  He died as a POW of a cerebral abscess at 1900 hours on 3 March 1942 at Changi.

Dean was with Levelling Party Changi Aerodrome and X3 Party



Penrod’s parents Edward Dean and Mary ‘Alice’ Baldwin married in 1905 at Woodville, South Australia.  The couple moved to WA where their sons were born.  Penrod had two older brothers and a younger brother.  Edward Dean died in Perth in 1934 and Penrod’s mother died in Perth in 1954.




Penrod Dean died Melbourne 16 May 2006 aged 91 years.  His wife Mabel died Melbourne 20 November 2005.
Penrod and Mabel Molloy married in 1937 Perth.  They had 3 daughters and one son.  Initially Penrod and Mabel (aka Bunny) remained living in Perth, however later moved to Victoria.
Dean wrote and published in 2002 a book about his life as POW, the greater part spent imprisoned at Outram Road Gaol, called ‘Singapore Samurai’.
John Alexander McGregor WX12835 who escaped Singapore with Dean, had earlier written and published his book about their experience. including their initial escape from Singapore.  McGregor’s book was called “Blood on the Rising Sun”.   
There are discrepancies in Dean’s book confirmed by other Australian POWs imprisoned at Outram Road Gaol.   John McGregor had died and was unable to refute Dean’s claims. Please read further.

Dean and McGregor survived Outram Gaol and returned to WA.

Please read further

In his early 80’s Dean wrote his own book.  His son Mark felt it was a therapeutic process for his father and by this time he had grown quiet in his older age.  His son Mark recalls his early childhood when his father had at times severe mood swings and said his father was difficult to live with. Understandable when learning what life was like at Outram Gaol.
Penrod Dean knew he was a very lucky man to survive Outram – he actually returned to Changi before the end of the war when his 2 year sentence ended.  McGregor had spent a long time hospitalised in Changi and was returned to Outram to complete his 2 year sentence.  He was recovered from Outram.
Please go to ABC Changi Escapees to learn more.

Camp Locations:

  • Changi Aerodrome - Singapore
  • Changi Gaol Camp - Singapore
  • Outram Road Prison - Singapore ***
  • Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore