The Soldier's Details

Surname:
Nazzari
First Name:
Francisco
Nick Name:
Frank
Rank:
Corporal (Promoted on 11.2.1942)
Regimental #:
WX8707
Company:
‘A’ Company, No. 5 Platoon
Enlisted:
23.10.1940
DOB:
31.01.1916
Place of Birth:
Kalgoorlie, Western Australia
Father's Name:
Antonio Onarato Nazzari
Mothers's Name:
Vincenza Nazzari (nee Assarri)
Religion:
Roman Catholic
Pre-war Occupation:
Miner
Memorial:
Epitaph, Labuan Memorial, Panel 18, Age 29.
Singapore:
Selarang Camp and Barracks Changi
Force:
‘E’ Force Borneo
POW#:
12090 & 1832
Cause of Death:
Acute Intestinalitis
Place of Death:
Sandakan No1 Camp
Date of Death:
24.04.1945

General Description

Pte Nazzari and Pte Tommie Gittos on the way to Darwin
Pte Nazzari and Pte Tommie Gittos on the way to Darwin.

Neither survived the war to return to Western Australia.

 

Darwin, NT. c. October 1941. WX8707 Private (Pte) Frank Nazzari and John Ramsbottom, both of 5 Platoon, A Company, 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion beside an A frame bed which they are constructing from bamboo and mangrove saplings to use at Winellie Camp. When the unit arrived at the camp, galvanised huts had been erected, but many were without concrete flooring and windows, requiring the first weeks at the camp to be spent finishing off the accommodation. Pte Nazzari later died of illness on 24 April 1945 in Borneo, whilst a Prisoner of War (POW). (Donor J. Lane)
Darwin, NT. c. October 1941. WX8707 Private (Pte) Frank Nazzari and John Ramsbottom, both of 5 Platoon, A Company, 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion beside an A frame bed which they are constructing from bamboo and mangrove saplings to use at Winellie Camp. When the unit arrived at the camp, galvanised huts had been erected, but many were without concrete flooring and windows, requiring the first weeks at the camp to be spent finishing off the accommodation. Pte Nazzari later died of illness on 24 April 1945 in Borneo, whilst a Prisoner of War (POW). (Donor J. Lane)

 

Version 4

 

 

NAZZARI, Corporal, FRANK, WX8707, A.I.F. 2/4 M.G. Bn., Australian Infantry. 24 April 1945. Age 29. Son of Mr. and Mrs. O. Nazzari; husband of Anne Nazzari, of West Perth, Western Australia. Panel 18.

Labuan Memorial, Malaysia.

 

Kings Park Honour Avenue

Dedicated by His Brother on 16 December 2006

Biography presented during plaque dedication:

‘Corporal Frank Nazzari of 2/4 Machine Gun Battalion and was born in Kalgoorlie in 1916.
He was the second in a family of four and the eldest son of Owen and Vincesta Nazzari.
His early schooling was in Kalgoorlie. When only 15 he was a billy boy at Larkinville gold mine and after the closure of that mine he worked around the Goldfields in the mining industry.
Prior to enlisting Frank married Anne and they had a daughter named Fay.
Frank enlisted in October 1940 and was posted to the 2/4 Machine Gun Battalion which was an Eighth Division unit raised in Western Australia.
After the fall of Singapore he was interned at Changi then sent with ‘E’ Force to Borneo.
Ironically Frank had applied for his brother, Lou, who was in the Middle East with 2/5 Battalion to be transferred to 2/4. Thankfully it never occurred.
Corporal Frank Nazzari, service number WX8707 of 2/4 Machine Gun Battalion, died as a prisoner of war at Sandakan on 29 April 1945. He was 29.’

 

 

Frank Nazarri enlisted AIF 23 Oct 1940 later joining 2/4th’s ‘A Coy 4 Platoon.  Promoted to Corporal 11 February 1942 when Burton was demoted during ‘Aquitania’ incident, January 1942.

Please read further of the men in A Coy No. 4 Platoon

Having been taken POWs at Singapore, Frank was selected with ‘E’ Force to work at the airfield at Sandakan, North Borneo.

Please read further about ‘E’ Force and Sandakan

Frank died at Sandakan No. 1 Camp on 24 April 1945 of acute enteriitis.  He was buried at No. 2 Cemetery Sandakan.

Frank was never considered sufficiently fit to march from Sandakan to Ranau.  Like so many POWs at Sandakan, they face severe starvation, illness and death.  The Japanese policy at that time was to starve the POWs  to death – although the Japanese had supplies of food, they provided no food after end of December 1944.  The POWs were existing on what they had managed to stockpile which dwindled fast.  They were forbidden to purchase foods/medicines from locals – who paid a terrible price if caught.

Also see photographs of all West Australians who perished

Frank Nazzari’s name lives on forever on the Sandakan Memorials at Boyup Brook and Kings Park.  Also as a POW at Ballarat.

It was not until the 1980s that Australians began to learning the truth about Sandakan.  The Australian government made a decision to keep the Sandakan horrors quiet under a secrecy act.  The AIF were unable to persuade otherwise.

Tragically the close families of these soldiers went to their deaths never knowing the truth.

__________

The following copied from www.trove newspapers archive have been included – providing information about Vincenza Nazzari (then  Assari)- who appeared in court with her husband-to-be acting as her interpreter.

Please keep in mind – everything was printed during the earlier days, injuries and accidents were reported explicitly – whether relevant or not – newspapers provided a form of entertainment.  This does not exist in today’s media.

Kalgoorlie was a real man’s town and the Goldfields attracted people from all over the world to either mine or operate in hospitality whether that was entertainment or board & lodgings.

The Goldfields, in particular Kalgoorlie had racial and or ethnic conflicts.  Racism is quite apparent in the following court case, and the media coverage.

Women would have discovered how easily they were exploited.
Single, young  women were vulnerable, in particular, those from other countries such as Vincenza who was not fluent in english.  This would not have been a problem working  as she would have been working in premises which catered for Italians only. There were already rumblings of enthnic problems with the southern Europeans being singled out. (i.e. Italian, Yugoslaves, etc).  This later led to riots and homes being burned down,

 

Below is the follow-up.

 

‘Frank’ Francisco was son of Antonia Onorato Nazzari b. Tirano, Sondrio, Italy (who arrived from Italy in Melbourne in 1904) and married 1913 at Boulder to Vincenza Assarri.

In later life Frank’s father was known as Owen.

The couple had four children, the first born was daughter Ida in 1914, followed by Francisco (Frank), Louis 1918 and Lorenzo (Laurie) 1919 at Widgiemooltha.

Frank’s mother died in 1923 at Widgiemooltha,   Her death left a family of young children – we do not know whether the family remained together and obtained assistance.  Frank was only 7 years and his older sister 9 years.  The youngest Laurie was 4 years old.

 

 

Frank married about 1941 to Annie Lavin and they had one daughter Fay.  Annie Nazzari never remarried, she died 1977 at Doubleview aged 83 years.

Frank’s father ‘Owen’ Onatrato Nazzari died in 1950 at
Esperance.  He had been a miner throughout his years residing in WA.  His sons, especially Frank followed in his foot-steps.

 

 

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Camp Locations:

  • Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
  • Sandakan - Borneo ***
  • Lintang Officers Camp, Kuching - Sarawak
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