Engraved mess tin : Lance Corporal J C Hood, HQ Guard Battalion, 7th Division

Accession Number REL34584
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Personal Equipment
Physical description Aluminium, Metal
Maker C & B Ltd
Hood, John Cochrane
Place made Australia
Date made 1939
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Large rectangular mess tin with a hinged one-piece metal handle designed to fold over the top of the tin for compact storage. Stamped at the hinge point is, 'C & B LTD 1939 [broad arrow symbol]'. The mess tin has been engraved on its base with an Egyptian scene featuring three pyramids and the sphinx with three camels and two human figures in the foreground. The whole scene is bordered by a geometric pattern of triangles (pyramids), lines and crosses. In the top left corner is engraved, 'SPHIX [sic] AND PRYAMIDS OF GUIZAH [sic]'. On the two long sides of the mess tin is engraved, 'PT MELBOURNE, FREMANTLE, COLOMBO, KINTARA [sic], PORT SAID, DIMRA, BARBARA, TEL-AVIV, JERUSALEM, BETHLEHEM, BETHANY, IKING-MARIUT, MERSA-MATRUH, ISMALIA, CAIRO, NAZARETH, TYRE, SAIDA, BROUMMANIA [sic], BAADDAT [sic], ALEY, BEIRUT, DAMOUR, TRIPOLI, ELMINA [sic], ALEPPO, HAIFA, JULIS, SUEZ, PORT-TEWFIK, OOSTAVEN [sic], BATAVIA, SEMPLAC, LELES, GARUET, BANDUNG'. Engraved on the short side is a Rising Sun badge with, 'CPL J C HOOD VX32586'.

History / Summary

Associated with the service of NX32586 Lance Corporal John Cochrane Hood, Headquarters (HQ) Guard Battalion, 7th Division. Born in Galston, Scotland on 18 June 1901, John Cochrane Hood had lost two brothers in the First World War. He was married and living in Malvern, Victoria and working as a gardener when he enlisted in the AIF on 20 June 1940. Initially assigned to the 2/24th Battalion, NX32586 Lance Corporal J C Hood served with the HQ Guard Battalion of the 7th Division in the Middle East.

He embarked aboard the SS Orcades on 1 February 1942 for Java, disembarking at Batavia on 19 February with other elements of Blackforce under Brigadier Arthur Blackburn VC. The Japanese landed on Java on 28 February and Blackforce went into action at Leuwiliang, near Buitenzorg, on 4 March. They fought the Japanese for two days but on 8 March Dutch forces surrendered and the next day Blackforce was ordered to lay down its arms. Lance Corporal Hood became a Prisoner of War (POW) of the Japanese and died of illness on the Burma-Thailand Railway on 10 November 1943. Hood had engraved on the mess tin the names of places he had served since his departure from Australia. The first place name is Port Melbourne, his port of departure; the last is Bundang, a principle town in West Java.

After Hood's death the mess tin was collected by NX69353 Staff Sergeant Frederick John Bevan, 2/3rd Motor Ambulance Convoy, 8th Division who kept it for the rest of his life. Born in Sydney on 26 December 1902, Frederick John Bevan was living at Lane Cove, married with two children and working as a bus driver when he enlisted in the AIF on 10 March 1941. Staff Sergeant Bevan was posted to Malaya with the 2/3 Motor Ambulance Convoy and saw service on the Malay peninsula and Singapore, becoming of Prisoner of War (POW) of the Japanese when that city fell in February 1942. Bevan served in Changi and on the Burma Thailand Railway. He survived the war and was repatriated to Australia, arriving in Sydney on 9 October 1945. He was discharged from the Army in February 1946.