Pacific Star : Private S R Core, 2/18 Battalion

Place Asia: Borneo, North Borneo, Sandakan
Accession Number REL45255.002
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Medal
Physical description Bronze
Maker Unknown
Place made United Kingdom
Date made c 1946
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Pacific Star, impressed on reverse with recipient's details.

History / Summary

NX48471 Private Sidney Russell Core, born 23 December 1921 to Leslie Russell Alfred and Kate Mapleston Norman Core at Cowra, NSW, enlisted on 1 October 1941 at Paddington, NSW with 2/18 Battalion, part of 22 Brigade. He joined his battalion in Malaya where they had been training and preparing defensive positions at various locations since their arrival in February; in early September they had moved to Mersing. Their positions were considered strong enough by the Japanese to avoid them, and thus the battalion did not engage the Japanese until mid-January when the battalion was ordered to abandon these positions and withdraw south to Jemaluang
Despite laying a well planned ambush at Nithsdale Estate in the early hours of 27 January which took the Japanese by surprise, the battalion's command broke down and a premature withdrawal order from brigade headquarters forced the abandonment of D Company behind the bulk of the Japanese force. The battalion then withdrew to Singapore where, on 8 February, its platoons widely dispersed, it had no hope of holding the Japanese back, although its positions along the waterfront inflicted heavy casualties. The Japanese infiltrated between the 2/18th's posts and it fell into a desperate retreat that ended with surrender on the outskirts of Singapore city on the night of 15 February.
Members of 2/18 Battalion were initially imprisoned in Changi prisoner of war camp but were soon scattered in work parties to various locations, including Blakang Mati, the Burma-Thailand railway, and to Borneo and Japan. Core was one of over 2000 Allied prisoners of war (POW) held in the Sandakan POW camp in north Borneo, having been transferred there from Singapore as a part of E Force. The 500 Australian and 500 British POW's who made up E Force, left Changi on 28 March 1943, on board the S.S. DeKlerk arriving at Berhala Island (adjacent to Sandakan Harbour) on 15 April 1943. The POW's were held there until 5 June, when they were taken by barge to Sandakan. The next day they were transferred to the 8 Mile Camp, which was about half a mile from the B Force compound. Private Core died as a prisoner of the Japanese on 20 June 1945 and is commemorated on the Labuan Memorial Panel 10.