Corey, Jack Warren (Sergeant, b.1909 - d.1962)

Accession Number AWM2017.949.1
Collection type Private Record
Record type Collection
Measurement 1 wallet: 1 cm
Object type Diary, Letter, Document, Artwork
Maker Corey, Jack Warren
Place made Burma, Malaya, Singapore, Thailand
Date made 1941-1945
Access Open
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945
Copying Provisions Copying is permitted for the purposes of research and study, subject to physical condition

Collection relating to the Second World War service of SX10842 Staff Sergeant Jack Warren Corey, 8 Division Ammunition Sub Park, and prisoner of war.

Collection consists of an original handmade diary kept by Sgt Corey while a prisoner of war in Changi, Singapore. The diary commences in November 1941 upon his arrival in Johor in Malaya, then covers the fall of Singapore in February 1942 and his internment as a prisoner of war of the Japanese in Selarang Barracks, Changi. Corey describes the food, conditions, illness, work parties, and movements - including to Thailand and Burma. The diary concludes at the end of 1944. With the diary are 7 loose papers of various dates which supplement the diary. One is a pencil illustration of 'Changi Jail' with annotations, a diary continuation from January 1945, entries for June to September (year unknown), a report on the camp workshop dated 2 July 1945, and a 2 page report on conditions of prisoners of war in Thailand, May - December 1943.

Also included in the collection are seven letters written by Sgt Corey home to his infant son Peter, between 1941-45 when Peter would have been aged between 3 and 7 years old. The first two letters are dated 1941 - the first was written while still in camp in Cauldfield in Victoria, the second just after he arrived in Malaya. Three more are undated, and two of them are written on the back of Chinese wrappers - one from a tin of pineapple. There is also a pencil sketch of a Chinese home. The final 2 page letter is dated September [1945] and written onboard HMAT Duntroon, on Spt Corey's way home after being liberated. The letters are typical of those of a father writing to a young child, although the final letter shows some candid insight into his feelings, he writes: ”Would you be surprised to know that even these Japanese soldiers, as bad as they are in a lot of ways, used to tell us of their little boys and girls. Many of them had never seen their children... So you can see they were a bit human after all. You would not think so would you. Little boys and girls are the same the world over Peter. The little Chinese, Malay and Indian boys and girls are very interesting. Those who came in the camp when we were free were fed up on biscuits, butter, jam, fruit, meat, lollies and did they enjoy them. We must always think of other people and there is much joy in doing something for them. Do they teach you this in Sunday school? Well its true young man and although you are only a young boy you are not too young to know it.” Some of the letters are illustrated.

Jack Corey was liberated in early to mid 1945 and returned home. He became treasurer of the South Australian branch of the Ex-Prisoner of War Association when it formed, and remained associated with it until his death in 1962.