The Soldier's Details
- First Name:
- Michael Joseph
- Nick Name:
- Jack or Jacky to family
- Regimental #:
- 'B' Company, No. 7 Platoon
- Place of Birth:
- Toodyay, Western Australia
- Father's Name:
- Michael Joseph Leahy
- Mothers's Name:
- Emily Mary 'Minnie' (nee Breed)
- Roman Catholic
- Pre-war Occupation:
- Farmer & Truck Driver
- Selarang Camp Changi, Johore Bahru, Adam Park, River Valley Road Camp, Selarang Barracks Changi
- 'J' Force Japan, Wales Maru Party
- Camps Japan:
- Kobe (Mitsubishi wharves), Notogawa sub-Camp No. 9, Osaka (19.5.1945 -10.9.1945)
- 3/ 8491, 795
- Wales Maru Party
- Return Details 1945:
- Yokahama-Okinawa, U.S. Navy hospital ship, Okinawa Manila, B24 Liberator, Manila-Morotai-Darwin-Adelaide-Perth by aircraft.
Jack Leahy enlisted AIF 30 Oct 1940 and later joined 2/4th MGB’s ‘B’ Company 7 Platoon under C.O. Lt Dean.
Jack was wounded in action at Tengah on 9/2/1942. The Japanese had located his section and zeroed in on them. Admitted to 2/13th Australian General Hospital at Alexandra Hospital with a shrapnel wound to his left arm. Transferred to No. 2 Convalescent Depot on 12/2/1942. Discharged to unit on 15/2/1942.
He was initially, and incorrectly reported KIA. His family and friends placed death notices in West Australian.
Who was more surprised and relieved to find this news was not true!!
Below: Jack’s name has been officially omitted from list of POWs returning from Japan Sep 1945.
As a POW in Singapore he was sent with ‘J’ Force to Japan on 15 May 1943 sailing on ‘Wales ‘Maru. ‘J’ Force consisted of 600 British and 300 Australians.
LEAHY was admitted to Kobe Hospital for 3 months and to Osaka Stadium POW Hospital, Ichioka for 6 months. On his return to Australia he was admitted to 110 (P)MH for 2 months.
Jack was a member of ‘J’ Force transported from Singapore to Japan to a POW Camp at Kobe mid 1943. Some of the details of Kobe House are found at the story Kobe House, Japan.
On 20 May 1945 Jack, Stan Wenn and Lance Park were the only 3 men from 2/4th who left Kobe with a party to go to Notaogawa-Osaka sub Camp No. 9 – located at Shiga, Notogawa-Cho, Nakamiko Kankatsu. This camp was approximately 60 miles north of Osaka and 4 1/2 miles southwest of Maibara Camp.
On 17 March 1945 Kobe was heavily bombed by American B29s, and the city was destroyed by Fire.
The POWs were disbursed to various locations beyond Kobe. Those remaining in Kobe were gradually moved out in varying work parties. On 20 May the three West Australians were the last 2/4th POWs to leave Kobe. Rations at Kobe had been much reduced by then.
However at Shiga, rations were significantly limited and most POWs from Kobe House lost between 4 and 8 kgs in weight! Food was mostly rice and tainted meat supplemented by what fresh water mussels could be collected from the lake. Their work was to reclaim land from Lake Biwa so crops could be planted. Standing in the lake water all day was debilitating for any man, let alone these men already underfed and ill.
Jack was recovered from Japan when the war ended.
Confirming the correct names are L-R: Mick Wedge, Tom Hampton, Jack Leahy, John Gilmour, Bill Davey WX8587
Please read about Lady Mitchell Convalescent Home where former POWs received treatment for damaged eyesight.
Read about the wedding in 1947 of his 2/4th mate Jerrry Arthur WX9011 – they were both with ‘B’ Coy and with ‘J’ Force Japan.
For further reading go to Affadavit by Leahy
Known as ‘Jack’ or Jacky to his family, he was ninth of twelve children born to his parents Michael ‘Mick’ Joseph Leahy and Emily Mary ‘Minnie’ Beard-Cousins who married 1901 near Toodyay.
Jack spent his formative years at Pithara where his family farmed.
Except for the youngest two children who were born at Pithara – Lillian Rose (Lilly) b.1920 and Kenneth Norman (Kenny) b. 1923 – the children were born near Toodyay.
Below: notice of death of Emily’s mother and ‘Jack’s Grandmother.
Mick Leahy (Snr) was born in Tipperary, Ireland, was granted land to farm at Pithara, he was accompanied by his brother Jack. Mick remained here until his death in 1965.
Pithara is a small town in the wheatbelt region located about 240 km north of Perth, in the Shire of Dalwallinu.
When ‘Jack’ enlisted he gave his last address as Pithara.
A younger brother enlisted and was sent overseas, Edward Henry known as ‘Ted’ born 1918 WX11367.
Below: Jack was a talented cricketer and also loved golf. His name was not included in a photo of 2/4th cricket team.
Below: At least three Leahy brothers are talented cricketers for Pithara.
He married 1953 to Evelyn Maureen Rickey known as ‘Ricky’ who was born Kalgoorlie 1924. The couple had a family of three children. Jack passed away aged 89yrs, January 12 2006, at Mandurah, WA. Ricky died in 2017.
Below: believed to be records of Evelyn Richey’s father enlistment WW1.
Below: Jack had a brush with death in 1952 during this boating tragedy which began as a fishing trip with his mate from cricketing days at Pithara, Ted Bonnie.
Cpl William Edwin (Ted) Bonnie WX21470 served with 8th Mechanical Equipment Coy, Royal Australian Engineers.
Ted was from a well known farming family from Pithara.
Below: 2/4th’s Facebook tragic story of Leahy & Bonnie
‘In October 1952 Jack Leahy from South Perth and his mate William Edwin (Ted) Bonney from East Victoria Park planned a day fishing at Mandurah. Terror struck when their small boat was swamped by a wave at the sandbank at the mouth of the Peel Inlet. The men now in the water were unable to climb back into the overturned boat because the motor was still running and it was taken away from them.
Leahy swam for shore in an attempt to get help. Exhausted he was taken to Pinjarra hospital. Bonney’s body was found the following day off the coast at Safety Bay.
Bonney left a widow and young son.
Jack and Ted were from farming families at Pithara. Left armed bowler Ted played in the local cricket team with Jack and his three brothers, forming a formidable but winning team. Ted’s father Alex, would often umpire the cricket matches.
They each enlisted in WW2 and returned home safe, although Ted had suffered terribly at the hands of his Japanese captors.
Jack was initially reported missing following the battle of Singapore. The family were officially informed of his death in 1942.
We can imagine the elation when they were informed more than 12 months later, that Jack was in fact well and a POW of Japan! Jack’s estate had even been wound up!’
Below: Jack and his three bothers, and Bonney are playing in 1940 final, one of the umpires is Ted’s father, Alexander (Alex Bonney).
Below: Jack’s father and uncle Michael and Jack – Pioneers Settlers of the area.
- Adam Park Camp - Singapore
- Johore Bahru, - Malaysia
- River Valley Road Camp - Singapore
- Selarang Barracks Changi - Singapore
- Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
- Kobe, Osaka #2-B - Japan ***
- Notogawa, Osaka #9-B - Japan