The Soldier's Details
- First Name:
- Bryan Harry
- Regimental #:
- 'C' Company, No. 1 Platoon (Section Sgt Commander)
- Place of Birth:
- Worthing, England
- Father's Name:
- Frederick William Manwaring
- Mothers's Name:
- Hannah Manwaring ( nee Kerwin)
- Church of England
- Pre-war Occupation:
- Selarang Camp Changi, Tamarkan
- 'A' Force Burma, Green Force, No. 3 Battalion
- Camps Thailand:
- Camps Burma:
- Victoria Point, Ye, Kendau 4.8km, Thetkaw, Meiloe 75km, Augganaung.
- Rakuro Maru Party (remained behind sick at Saigon)
- Return Details 1945:
- Saigon-Bankok-Singapore by aircraft, Singapore-Sydney, HMT Highland Chieftan, Sydney-Melbourne-Perth by troop train.
Manwaring is pronounced MANN ARING i.e. silent W.
George Hancock with Dorothy & Bryan Manwaring
Following the short battle to save Singapore, the 2/4th was part of nearly 15,000 Australians taken POWs of Japan and were marched to Changi where they were sent to Selarang.
Manwaring was selected in Singapore with the first work party to leave the Island, to work on the Burma end of Burma-Thai Railway. There were 3,000 Australian POWs in ‘A’ Force Burma – who sailed 14 May 1942 to south west coast of Burma where they would firstly repair three bombed airfields left by the defeated British. This task in lower south-west Burma lasted from May through to September. By 1st October, most of the POWs of Green Force would start work on the rail link at Kendau 4.8km Camp, Burma.
Les Cody of “Ghosts in Khaki” wrote of Ye Camp, Burma
“The men had by now adapted to a basic existence as POWs – the rice diet, living conditions and had learned to go with the flow on work parties with the Japanese. However they did not at any stage, surrender their personal independence.”
He wrote the story of a work party of about 20 men under Sgt. Brian Manwaring, 2/4th
“They were recovering logs from the jungle for piles and wharf decking. A bit of a character with a rather quizzical sense of humour Brian selected a log he thought would be eminently suitable for the job in hand and hooking on the chains gave the order …………. One, two, three, heave ………… one, two, three, heave……..
As the 20 straining men slowly emerged from the jungle, the Jap guard jumped to his feet in anticipation. With about 30 feet of rope attached to the log it took a while for it to appear and when it did the gang collapsed in exhaustion – it was about 6 feet in length and about the circumference of a small sapling. Brian looked at the Jap and in his quiet way said “yuroshi ka?” (good hey!)
The Jap looked at Brian, then ‘the log’ then at Brian, then at the men and then again at ‘the log’ and then exploded …… “Number One – Number One” and burst out laughing!
Not the reaction the men had expected they were taken by surprise and when the guard said “all men yasumei” (rest) the men couldn’t believe it!”
It never happened again.
The story became a precious memory to share again and again in the dark days ahead. The Jap with a sense of humour!
At the end of December 1943 all POWs working on the Burma end of the railway were advised they were being moved south, by train, travelling on the rail line they had built and sabotaged so often – from time to time a terrifying thought – to one of several large camps in Thailand.
Bryan was sent to Tamarkan POW Hospital Camp where he would regain a little weight and made a little recovery of any sickness he was suffering – malaria and leg ulcers.
On 27 March 1944 he was selected as ‘fit’ by the Japanese to Japan to work in Japan with what was to be known as ‘Rakuyo Maru’ Party. Initially they were entrained to French Indo-China, destination Saigon and via Bangkok arriving 16 June 1944. It was intended the Party would be shipped via Saigon Port to Japan, however it took sometime, but became evident to the Japanese this plan would not be feasible. The American submarines had now effectively blockaded any Japanese shipping leaving this coast. While waiting, the POWs worked mostly at the Saigon docks.
It was then decided the POWs would be sent by train to Singapore via Bangkok, where they would wait for a ship.
It was at this point Bryan became sick and he was unable to travel with ‘Rakuyo Maru’ Party to Singapore – which was a blessing for him as the ship was sunk by American submarines in the South China Sea about 14 August 1944 and only a small number of POWs survived.
He was freed by the Americans and recovered from the Red Cross Hospital in Saigon at the end of the war. He had suffered ulcers to his legs and malaria. His eyesight was reduced to 15% due to the blows received to his head from Japanese/Korean guards. When he returned he was a patient with other former POWs suffering from diminished eyesight at Hollywood.
Bryan was 12 years old and his brother about 14 when the boys arrived in Fremantle from England with their father on ‘Orama’ 13 December 1927. Hannah Manwaring is thought to have died in about 1922. Frederick William Manwaring remarried.
The family initially lived at Goomalling (because there were Manwaring relatives) and not long after moved to the city where William pursued his learnt trade as storekeeper/manager. William Frederick and his wife Margaret Adele divorced in 1930. It is believed the couple had another son, Anthony Frederick.
The Manwaring family moved to Mandurah area where William Manwaring established a general store.
In 1940 Byran married Dorothy May Letts b. Geraldton 1917. She is daughter of Thomas Letts and Rebecca Elizabeth Hancock, older sister of WX7987 George Hancock of 2/4th MGB.
Byran had a long friendship with Tom Letts.
The following was printed 9 October 1943.
The family connection and friendship between Bryan Manwaring, George Hancock and his family and Dorothy Letts and her family was cemented well before the war when they resided in the Mandurah region.
They were also associated with Frank New and his wife Daisy in Mandurah.
Bryan Maynard’s father Frederick William Manwaring operated a store in Mandurah and after the war, we believe Bryan worked there for a short time.
Below: the Manwaring family receive a mention as did Frank New and his wife Daisy at the Mandurah Post Office Dining Rooms – Frank New enlisted July 1940 and joined HQ Company. Frank died Khonkan 55km Hospital, Burma in Oct 1943 following a leg amputation for ulcers. Both New and Manwaring were selected with Green Force No. 3 Battalion to work in Burma. They certainly would have known each other.
He quickly became an active community member and father of two daughters and a son.
He was active member of the Mandurah Road Board for many years, also RSL and serving as President. He maintained his close ties with the Braille Society.
Below: Anzac Day Mandurah 1949
Bryan Manwaring – a man with a good deal of energy and dedication to his community and family.
He and Dorothy moved to reside in Medina in 1953 where he established a general store to service the Kwinana area and instigated the formation of the Medina RSL sub-Branch in 1955. Bryan was President from 1955 to 1963. On his election as President Bryan expressed his wish that the formation of the new Sub Branch would be a success, and that he would do all in his power to make it so.
Throughout his life Bryan lived with reduced eyesight for which he used a large magnifying glass. He managed always and was never heard complaining.
He died at Medina in 1984 aged 71 years. Dorothy died in 2020.
Above: A very happy 1955 celebration of the opening of Kwinana RSL – Manwaring is standing slightly right of centre wearing white shirt with tie.
HALL DEDICATION to Bryan Henry MANWARING by RSL Kwinana Sub Branch
11 November 2022
A gathering of Manwaring families, Kwinana RSL Members and invited guests was held in the RSL Kwinana Hall on the morning of 11 November 2002, prior to Remembrance Day Service 11 November 2022.
Below: Bryan Manwaring’s plaque proudly sits at the top of the Remembrance Wall at the Medina RSL Park, just a short walk from their meeting Place, the RSL Hall dedicated to him on 11th November 2022 at a gathering of Bryan’s children and grandchildren and invited guests followed by a Remembrance Day Service.
Below: Bryan Manwaring’s three (grown up) children lay a wreath on Remembrance Day Service 11/11/2022 where a large crowd of more than 100 persons attended. Their parents’ Store was across the road to the right.
L-R Joan Smithson, Tom Manwaring and Diana Hope
Above: Harry’s daughter Mrs Joan Smithson (nee Manwaring)
Above: Harry’s children Mrs Diana Hope (nee Masnwaring) and Mr Tom Manwaring.
Not only was Bryan Manwaring instrumental in establishing the Kwinana RSL Sub Branch and was its first President from 1955 to 1963, he was President of Kwinana’s Bowling Club from 1960-1965 and later a Town of Kwinana Councillor from 1970-1972. There is no doubt he was committed community man.
- Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
- Tamarkan, Tha Makham 56k - Thailand
- Aungganaung,105Kilo - Burma
- Kendau, Kandaw, 4 Kilo - Burma
- Meilo, 75 Kilo, 340k - Burma
- Ye - Burma
- Saigon - French Indo China
- Victoria Point, Kawthoung - Burma. \'A\' Force, Green Force No. 3 Btn
- Thetkaw 14 Kilo - Burma