Johnny Funk with his brothers Alexander and Paddy assisted the POWs and other locals involved in the  Sandakan Underground, North Borneo.
The three brothers became part of the local underground movement assisting Australian POWS.   Alex Funk was executed and the other two brothers imprisoned by the Japanese when the movement was betrayed.
Following the capture and torture of the POWs at Sandakan, they were taken to Kutching for a military trial. Following the trial Alex and 7 other local men from Borneo were executed.
Johnny was imprisoned at Kutching Gaol for four months in a 20ft X 15ft cage with 100s of prisoners during which time they were brutally tortured on a daily basis. He wrote of the kindness of a Catholic nun, Mother Augustine who brought them food.  Sadly my research has not been successful in locating Mother Augustine (most missionaries were imprisoned, some died of illness and some were murdered by their Japanese guards.)
Read further about the activities and consequences of Sandakan’s Underground movements.
‘THE Funk brothers – Johnny, Alexander and Paddy – were members of the North Borneo Volunteer Force (before the war). Their family home was near where the Allied Prisoners Of War (POWs) were interned from July 1942. This enabled the brothers to establish secret contacts with the POWs which saw them providing help and serving as conduits between the POWs and the hospital in Sandakan. 
When their activities were betrayed to the Japanese in July 1943, the brothers were arrested and severely punished by the Japanese Army; Alex was executed while Johnny and Paddy suffered great physical and psychological torture.
The brothers first came into contact with the POWs in September 1942. Alex, who was the youngest, made the initial contact with Captain Lionel Matthews, the POW officer who was the camp’s intelligence officer (who was executed).
Matthews had requested assistance in food, medicine and radio parts. With radio parts supplied by Johnny and others, a radio was assembled by the Australian POWs and was put into operation.
Apart from supplying radio parts, the Funk brothers were also instrumental in establishing links between the POWs and Dr V. Stookes, a World War I British fighter pilot. After completing his medical studies, Stookes came to North Borneo to work as an estate doctor on the Kinabatangan River. He owned a seaplane which he used for his medical services. With Stookes’ help, more medicines were made available to the POWs’
Please read further about the locals of Sandakan who risked their lives and those of their family members to assist the Underground and the POWs.
Below we will see Johnny and his wife,  Mrs Funk visit Perth, WA and it appears their son Melvin will attend school at Aquinas.
Johnny Funk had been hosted by Les Riches and his wife, staying with them at their home in Darlington.
Mrs. L.G. Riches has been a strong and hard working advocate for former POWs since the war ended and prior to that she organised POWs and relatives.
When it was announced due to ill health of Mrs Riches, she as Les were moving to Melbourne where their only daughter Helen and her husband resided.   We assume this may have led to the Funks then settling in Melbourne and Melvin attending school in Victoria rather than Perth.






Above: 24 May 1951.