The Soldier's Details
- First Name:
- Victor John Alexander
- Nick Name:
- Regimental #:
- ‘C’ Company, 11 Platoon
- Place of Birth:
- Kookynie,Western Australia
- Father's Name:
- Samuel Sherman Dewar
- Mothers's Name:
- Elizabeth (Lilly) Dewar (nee Walsh)
- Pre-war Occupation:
- Gold Miner
- Selarang Camp Changi
- ‘A’ Force Burma, Green Force, No.3 Battalion
- Camps Thailand:
- Tamarkan, Nacompaton, Tamunag
- Camps Burma:
- Victoria Point, Kendau 4.8km, Thetkaw 14 km, Meiloe 75km, Aungganaung 75 km,
- Return Details 1945:
- Thailand-Singapore by aircraft; Singapore-Sydney, HMT Highland Chieftan; Sydney- Perth by troop train
Vic Dewar was goldmining and living at Menzies when he enlisted AIF 4 June 1940 (this is one of the earliest enlistments to join 2/4th). Later he joined 2/4th MGB’s ‘C’ Company 11 Platoon under Commanding Officer Lt. Boyle.
He left Singapore by ship with the first work force made up of 3,000 Australian POWs called ‘A’ Force Burma, Green Force No. 3 Battalion. Their first stop was Victoria Point south west Burma where they repaired and enlarged one of three aerodromes left by the British.
A Force Green Force began working on the Burma end of the railway on 1 October 1942 – they spent more months working on the railway than other Forces.
Vic’s parents married in Fremantle in 1898. His father was born in Victoria in 1865 died in 1921 when Vic was about 15 years old. Victor was the firstborn of two sons, Victor born in 1906 at Menzies and Franklin Hector was born in 1907 Coolgardie.
Vic spent his formative years in Kookynie/Menzies before the Dewar family moved to Perth where his father died in 1921. We can trace the Dewars in Menzies/Kookynie through early1900’s until at least 1917 when Vic’s younger brother was born.
Vic’s parents led a very busy social life at Kookynie – his father played cricket and was very much involved in community events as well as a member of Lodge – as was Vic when he was there in 1938, 1939 and 1940.
Vic moved back to work in Menzies in the late 1930’s.
Below: A Strange coincidence – in 1908 Vic’s father Samuel Dewar is one of three jury members at Kookynie for the inquest of a young man who had suicided by cutting his own throat.
Record show Michael Salmon was buried at Kookynie Cemetery.
40 years later Vic Dewar suicided by the same means.
Vic was recorded in the 1931 Electoral Roll living in Maylands, his occupation was salesman. By 1937 he was living in Menzies and working as a mine employee.
Vic’s uncle was in Menzies until his death in 1941 – Mr. John Allan was married to Vic’s mother’s sister.
Vic’s name is mentioned as attending Allan’s funeral as was Keith ‘Barney’ Sawyer and other enlisted men from the area.
Vic’s mother, Lilly Dewar died in 1964 Maylands aged 87 years and several decades since her son Vic died. Franklin Dewar married in 1934 and died Maylands in 1989 aged 81 years.
Following completion of the railway, POWs in Burma were sent south into Thailand, many were ill and some far too ill to be transported and died in Burma. The journey was hell, and for those sick men it became their last journey. Vic was sent to Tamarkan, Thailand. He was then sent to Nacompaton which was originally constructed as a hospital Camp which again suggests he was ill, but we cannot confirm. He was finally sent to Tamuang Camp from where he was recovered at the end of the war.
Vic made it home to Australia! The greatest tragedy was he was understandably unable to settle back into his life.
At the end of 1947 Vic took his own life, too ill to realise the pain he caused his brother Franklin and his mother Lilly Dewar. His fight was over. Vic was 41 years old.
Another newspaper reported Dewar was due for an appointment at Hollywood Repatriation Hospital the following day.
The Coroner’s words are of the greatest significance when remembering Vic Dewar and the other former POWs who were unable to find their former lives or any direction to take in life.
PERTH (KARRAKATTA) GENERAL CEMETERY, Western Australia, Australia
DEWAR, Private, VICTOR JOHN ALEXANDER, WX8238, A.I.F. 2/4 M.G. Bn., Australian Infantry. 27 December 1947. Age 41. Son of Samuel Sherman Dewar and Elizabeth Dewar, of Maylands. Grave Ref. Baptist Plot. Row BA. Grave 31.
We know Barney is Keith Sawyer.
- Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
- Nacompaton, Nakom Pathom Hospital - Thailand
- Tamarkan, Tha Makham 56k - Thailand
- Tamuang, Tha Muang 39k - Thailand