The Soldier's Details

First Name:
Walter Wilbour
Nick Name:
Regimental #:
Headquarters Company, No. 2 Platoon Ack Ack
Place of Birth:
Foster, South Australia
Father's Name:
David Hutchinson
Mothers's Name:
Evelyn Hutchinson
Pre-war Occupation:
Railway Ganger
Selarang Camp Changi; Thomson Road (Caldecot Hill Estate Camp); River Valley Road Camp; Selarang Barracks Changi
'J' Force Japan, Wales Maru Party
Camps Japan:
Kobe (Showa‐Denki); Kawasaki Camp; Maruyama Park; Wakinohama
Return Details 1945:
Yokohama‐Okinawa by C54 aircraft; Okinawa-Manila, B24 Liberator aircraft; Manila-Sydney, HMS Formidable

General Description

During the fighting to save Singapore, Wally was involved in the ambush of a Japanese Staff Car during which he received a bayonet wound to his left forearm.  He was not aware nor knew how he received this wound.

Wally was a POW in Singapore at Selarang, Thomson Road
(Caldecot Estate) then River Valley Road before sailing to Japan.

He was part of the 300 Australians in  ‘J’ Force transported from Singapore to Japan to a POW Camp at Kobe, arriving 8th June 1943.    Some of the details of Kobe House are found at the story Kobe House, Japan.

Read about Aussie humour with Japanese guards, Japan.

Read about Wally at Showa -Denki Factory, Kobe.

After Showa-Denki Wally was moved to the ship yards where he remained about 2 years.   With the increased Allied Bombing he was marched to Kawasaki Camp, Osaka area on 6 June 1945.  On the 21 June 1945 he was moved to Wakinohama where he remained until rescued on 6 September 1945.

Please read about ‘J’ Force and ‘Wales’ Maru


From ‘Singapore and Beyond’ by Don Wall 

From the story of Les Bond:  “When working on the ships at Kobe, Wally Hutchinson, 2/4th Machine Gunners, would find some excuse to leave the hold and inspect the ship.  He usually told the Japs that he had dysentery, as they were concerned about contracting the disease they always allowed him up on deck. He would then take this opportunity to inspect the ship, open any cabins, look through vents and generally ‘case’ the place and particularly the smell of food.  He usually carried a fishing line and hook so that he could lower it down and pick up anything such as whale meat which was being prepared for the crew.  On one occasion, following a reconnaissance of a ship, he passed the Captain’s cabin, the door was open, the bath was running, a white towel over the edge of the bath, slippers, a kimona – all going for a hiding!  So Wally decided as he had not had a bath for two years he would take the risk.  He had been working on unloading coal, when he got into the white bath the water turned to coal.  Wally washed himself, used the white towel to dry, then the Captain arrived, he removed his clog and belted Wally about the face.  Later, when he returned to his party his Sgt. said ‘ You’ve been a long while, where have you been?’  Wally had difficulty opening his mouth and then said “That bloody Captain’s got no sense of humuor!” and told his story to his mates.”

In his book ‘All in My Stride’ by John Gilmour – John included several stories about Wally’s deftness in pilfering food whilst working on the Kobe Docks.  “Wally was 6’3″ tall and his long arms were found to be a huge asset.  With John nearby Wally waited until the ship’s small Japanese mess orderly was walking past with a tray of appetising food for the Captain’s lunch.  Wally’s long arm reached over and took a handful of  food without the orderly noticing.  Wally and John immediately left the scene of the crime and devoured their score!

On another occasion whilst working on the docks, John who had managed to learn a little Japanese kept the cook interested in a conversation with a POW and distracted from cooking fish while Wally’s long arms slid around the corner several times to pick up pieces of the beautifully fried Japanese fish.

Wally would hide his little bags of stolen sugar under his hat!  Being so tall, the Japanese never thought to ask him to remove his hat while feeling all over his body looking for contraband.”

15 Feb 1942 to 15 Mar 1943 – Changi, Singapore

8 Jun 1943 to 6 Oct 1945 – Kobe, Japan

Wally Hutchinson married Dorothy Jean Savell on 12th March 1931.

After the war Wally and Dorothy were living in Northam, Wally had returned to his pre-war  job as a railway ganger 1949.  For the next 20 years or so, the Hutchinson family continued living in Northam with Wally working for the railways.  In about 1970 Wally moved to Merredin and was working for WAGR as a porter.  In the late 1970s, early 1980 Wally retired to Dianella.

 Wally died 11th May 1985.

Camp Locations:

  • River Valley Road Camp - Singapore
  • Selarang Barracks Changi - Singapore
  • Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
  • Thomson Road (Caldecot Hill Estate Camp) - Singapore
  • Kobe, Osaka #2-B - Japan ***