The Soldier's Details
- First Name:
- Regimental #:
- ‘C’ Company, No. 12 Platoon
- Place of Birth:
- Hamilton, Scotland
- Father's Name:
- Robert Taylor
- Mothers's Name:
- Isobel Taylor
- Roman Catholic
- Pre-war Occupation:
- Clerk at the Bunbury Courthouse
- Listed as missing, believed killed at Sungei Jurong. It was later discovered soldier had escaped to Sumatra and was picked up by HMAS Hobart at Padang on west coast of Sumatra and taken to Ceylon. On arrival at Columbo on 9/3/1942 he was admitted to 2/12th Australian General Hospital. On 13/3/1942 he boarded the Stirling Castle and disembarked at Melbourne on 6/4/1942. From Melbourne to Fremantle he sailed onboard the Egra, disembarking on 13/4/1942. On his return to Australia he was Taken on Strength with the reformed 2/3rd Machine Gun Battalion on 1/7/1942. Soldier served on Bougainville with 58th Australian Corps Field Park Company.
- Return Details 1945:
- Singapore - Escaped to Sumatatra, HMS Hobart - Ceylon, 9.3.1942 - Stirling Castle - Melbourne 6.4.1942 - 2/3rd Machine Gunners 1.7.1942 - Bouganville with 58th Australian Corpse Field Park Company.
Studio portrait inscribed: Ben Jones WX8449 , Reg WX8445; George Taylor WX8448 Pte J H Johnson? (back). 2/4 Machine Batt [Battalion]/ Singapore.
Believed to be WX9112 Corporal Benjamin Charles Jones (front left) who died whilst a prisoner of war on 5 November 1943; WX8445 Reginald Charles Carter (front centre) who died whilst a prisoner of war on 18 February 1945; WX8448 George Taylor, who was not a prisoner of war. The person behind is possibly identified as Private J H Johnson, but cannot be further identified.
Image may have been taken in Perth WA (rather than Singapore), but certainly printed there because of the emboss on the front right corner.
The following is an extract from My War Diary, HMAS Hobart, 27th of February 1942 – 20 March 1942 written by Thomas P Fisher and explains the lucky extraction of George from Sumatra
“The reason that we were not with Perth and Houston was and I quote from my diary;
On 25 February 1942 we secured alongside the oil tanker War Sirdar to fuel HMAS Yarra was just casting off from the other side of the tanker.
At 10:25 we were attacked by 11 Jap bombers. Bombs dropped all around us making the Hobart jump around and bounce.
We were attacked twice and 44 bombs landed all around us. One bomb went through the stern of the tanker and exploded underneath it.
The Hobart was heeled over by the force of the bombs bursting down our starboard side. At 1100 we cast off in a hurry and put it to sea at high-speed. We could not complete fuelling due to the air raids and damage to the tanker.
As we did not have enough fuel, the Perth left without us and went down to the battle of the Java Sea. Our time in this war zone was running out and I was not aware of it then. At midnight on 27 February we put to sea from Tanjong Priok, Java. A huge fleet of Japanese ships were reported due to land of Java in the morning. In company with the HMS Dragon and HMS Danae, we put to sea to try and meet the enemy and destroy as many as possible. We made a sweep towards the north but did not make contact.
Orders were received from Commodore Collins that if we did not meet the enemy we were to leave the area by way of Sunda Straits which we did at dawn on 28 March and proceeded to Padang on the west coast of Sumatra.
Once again we were lucky because the Perth and USS Huston, an American cruiser, attempted to go through Sunda Straits 18 hours later and were both sunk. Their crews that survived were taken prisoners by the Japanese. They had run into the enemy fleet that we had been sent to try and intercept. The Exeter was sunk the day before. Of our cruiser force of seven ships only the Trump and ourselves survived. The Dragon and Danae were not attached. The Java and the De Ruyter were sunk in the Battle of the Java Sea.
At 7:30 pm on 1 March we arrived at Padang, and our ship evacuated 550 men, women and children. The men were mostly soldiers who had escaped from Singapore. At 9 pm, we put to sea with one destroyer doing 28 knots. On 3 March we took 106 evacuees from the Dragon. The transfer was carried out at sea. Among them were Indian troops. Also on board was a soldier from the 2nd 4th Machine Gun Battalion, George Taylor from Fremantle.
Next day we fueled the destroyers at sea and the following day, the 5th, arrived at Colombo where we disembarked the troops and evacuees.”