Spurgeon, Clarence Haddon (Air Commodore, b.1920 - d.2008)

Accession Number PR05135
Collection type Private Record
Record type Collection
Measurement Extent: 37 cm; Wallet/s: 3; Oversize: 1
Object type Letter, Certificate, Document, Postcard, Notebook
Maker Commonwealth of Australia
Spurgeon, Clarence Haddon
Place made Australia, Japan, Malaya, New Guinea
Date made 1939-1946
Access Open
Related File This file can be copied or viewed via the Memorial’s Reading Room. AWM371 92/0172
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945
Malayan Emergency, 1948-1960
Copying Provisions Copyright expired. Copying permitted subject to physical condition. Permission for reproduction not required.

Collection relating to the Second World War and Malayan Emergency service of 569 (O399) Air Commodore Clarence Haddon Spurgeon CBE, DFC, No. 8 Squadron RAAF (Singapore, Second World War) and No.1 Squadron RAAF (Singapore, Malayan Emergency), 1939-1945.

Wallet 1:

Folder 1 - consist of 16 prisoner of war postcards sent by Spurgeon to his family, and 1 associated document. Of the few that are dated, they span the period 16 October 1943 to 11 September 1944. Most of these are generic, with pre written sentences with small blanks left to be filled in the by prisoner mentioning where he is interned, his health, and who he wishes to be taken care of. These are all loosely bound between two pieces of felt-covered blue card with a red spine and “postcards from Clarence” written on the cover in fountain pen. Each postcard has Japanese and Allied censorship stamps along with other stamps denoting where it was sent from and the POW postal service. The associated document is a note from ‘Walter’ to ‘Reg’ asking him to translate the Japanese postmarks found on the postcards. These translations can be seen in pencil on several of the postcards.

Folder 2 - consists of 9 letters, both typed and handwritten, written to Spurgeon by his parents (mainly his mother) during the period immediately after he was reported missing until several months after the news of his being reported a prisoner of war. The letters largely discuss home affairs and include frequent mentions of the death of a cousin, Captain Arthur Henry Spurgeon.

Folder 3 - consist of 20 telegrams. 1 x telegram dated 27 January 1942 informing Spurgeon’s parents that he is reported missing; 4 x telegrams spanning the period 25 November 1942 to 21 January 1943 announcing that Spurgeon is a prisoner of war and where he is interned; 2 x telegrams dated 25 and 26 November 1942 congratulating the Spurgeon family of the news of Spurgeon; 3 x telegrams spanning the period 2 August to 7 September 1945 relating to Spurgeon’s movement to the Fukuoka Camp, then his release from Mukden, Manchuria, and a report of his good health; 1 x telegram from Spurgeon to his family dated 14 September 1945 announcing his release in Mukden; and 9 x telegrams spanning the period 8 September to 10 October 1945 written by various friends and family of Spurgeon to his parents congratulating them on the news of his release.

Wallet 2:

Folder 1 - consists of 2 Japanese ruled workbooks used by Spurgeon to keep notes while a prisoner of war. One contains notes on navigation and astronomy, the other (approximately half of the pages are missing) contains general notes such as books read, the plans for a holiday post-war, lists of others that served with him, and clothes to buy after returning to Australia.

Folder 2 - consists of 14 letters or envelopes relating to Spurgeon. This includes: 4 x letters written by Spurgeon to various friends and family, spanning the period 2 August 1941 to 19 August 1945. The first of these letters is addressed to 649 Flight Lieutenant Donald Alexander Dowie, who appears to also be interned with Spurgeon, and discusses his capture and mutual friends. The next 2 letters dated 8 October and 19 November 1944 are written by Spurgeon to ‘Dearest Mother and All’ and discuss his health, the weather, and the various camps that he has been interned at. The final letter, again written to ‘Dearest Mother and All’ discusses the liberation of the Fukuoka Camp and his plans for the future. Also included are 2 letters relating to a radio message that Spurgeon sent while interned and it’s being heard in America; and 7 letters with 1 empty envelope all addressed to Spurgeon (or his nickname ‘Spud’). These are written from friends and family and largely discuss general home affairs, with the exceptions of one letter from a friend in China sending Spurgeon stamps, and one letter from a fellow POW wishing Spurgeon a Merry Christmas in 1944.

Folder 3 - consists of 37 x miscellaneous documents spanning the period approximately 1939-1945. These include documents relating to war gratuities, a request to present to Air Force Headquarters dated 1939, nominal rolls, movement orders, telegram receipts, and information for tracing missing relatives.

Wallet 3:
1 x binder filled with notes relating to Spurgeon’s flying training spanning the period 2 October 1939 to 24 January 1940, including notes on aerodynamics, military discipline, and meteorology.

Oversize: 1 x certificate presented to Spurgeon by the Mayor and Chancellors of Hawthorn in recognition of his war service, dated 19 August 1946.