Japanese good luck flag : Lance Corporal M A McCormack, 2/9 Battalion Machine Gun Section

Accession Number REL36130
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Flag
Physical description Rayon
Maker Unknown
Place made Japan
Date made c 1942 - 1944
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Printed rayon Japanese national flag, with good luck and patriotic exhortations written in black ink characters, including phrases such as 'Pray for long life and good fortune in battle', 'Never stop fighting' and 'Annihilate them on the sea in May'. There are also a number of men's and women's names, but no identifiable town name or the name of the original recipient of the flag. The two upper corners are torn, and there is a repair patch in the lower section, which incorporates a name. The following signatures have been written in ink (technically, upside-down) on the central hinomaru: NX190997, R J Carter, Kentucky Sth, NSW; QX30926 C Mildren, 3 Royal Ave, Hyde Park South; QX35609 K H Harris, Cambroom via Maleny, Nth Qld; NX176039 Pte R A Hill, 136 Croydon Rd, Croydon Sydney NSW; WX28375 Pte J B Knight, Kellerberrin, WA; QX28869 R G Jacobson, Gunalda NC Line QLD; QX40561 A R Summerfeld Gayndah Qld; QX871 W R Kingston, Bundaberg Queensland; NX109943 Michael Angelo McCormack, Woodburn Richmond River NSW; NX109939 Pte J P Milgate, East Coraki Richmond R, NSW; SX28718 H McD Noy, Beach Road, Mile End Adelaide; NX16280 Cpl N D Bruce, Maitland NSW; SX26529 A F White, Hindmarsh Sth Aus; NX110388 Pte Christie, R M, 16 Frazer St Collaroy, NSW; SX2585 J R Mazey, Adelaide Sth Aust; QX22541 D Reynolds, Maroochydore via Woombye; NX111586 Pte Hebden, R, 4 Ridge St Nth Sydney NSW; NX129204 C G Lawson, Stannum via Deepwater, NSW. There are another 5 names in the lower right corner which are illegible or missing. Written in blue ink beside the hinomaru is the following: 22/11/42 New Guinea, Milne Bay, Buna, Sanananda, Poppindetta (sic), Dobodura, Port Moresby, Donadabu, Ramu Valley, Dumpu, Shaggy Ridge, Fama Valley, 31/5/45 Borneo. Balik Papen, Celebes, Maccassar, Pari Pari.

History / Summary

Related to the service of NX109943 Lance Corporal Michael Angelo McCormack, of Woodburn, NSW, born 3 August 1920, who enlisted on 24 July 1942, having previously served in the militia. McCormack joined his battalion at Milne Bay where he took part in its defence against Japanese landings in early September 1942. Soon after this action, 2/9 Battalion was transferred to the Buna front in New Guinea, where they fought the Japanese in appaling conditions between 18 and 24 December. It is thought that Lance Corporal McCormack recovered this Japanese flag during this period, judging from the date (22 November 1942) written on the flag. Of the 18 Australian soldiers who signed this flag, none died during service and all but three (Kingston, Bruce and Reynolds, who were all 7 Division Cavalry) served with 2/9 Battalion. McCormack remained with 2/9 Battalion throughout the war, seeing action in the New Guinea campaigns, especially at Shaggy Ridge, and after a year's further training in Australia, the landings at Balikpapan in Borneo. McCormack was discharged on 27 March 1946. One of his pre-war friends, NX109939 Pte Jack Milgate whose name also appears on this flag, enlisted on the same day as McCormack and served in the same platoon of the battalion throughout the war. Both returned to the same town (East Coraki) after their service was over.