Commemorative gong : 2/33 Battalion

Accession Number RELAWM20443.001
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Heraldry
Physical description Brass
Maker Unknown
Place made Borneo
Date made c 1945
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Cut down, Japanese brass 75mm shell case with head stamps for the Nagoya Arsenal. Two brass hooks have been set into the base to allow the case to be suspended as a gong. The shell is engraved around the top (when suspended) 'BATTLE OF BRITAIN. - EGYPT. - SYRIA. PAPUA - NEW GUINEA. BALIKPAPAN.', together with the names of the officers of 2/33 Battalion who died while serving with the unit in the south west Pacific during the Second World War. The names are listed from the top, in date order of death, in capital letters, in the format service number, rank, initials, surname and place of death. They are: TX433 [correct number TX417] Lt G M [Graham Maxwell] Barclay [d 13 Sep 1942] Iorabawa; NX5123 Lt J S [John Sinclair] Mosley [d 15 Sep 1942] Iorabawa; NX59611 Lt H A [Herbert Arthur] Warne [d 14 Oct 1942] Myola; NX59611Capt P L [Patrick Lloyd] Brinkley [d 10 Nov 1942] Gorari; WX426 [correct number WX462] Lt J H [John Forbes] Gordon [d 19 Nov 1942] Soputa; NX22703 Capt T M [Trevor Marcel] Clowes [d 22 Nov 1942] Gona; QX6232 Maj I F [Ian Firth] Vickery [d 27 Nov 1942] Soputa; VX2011 Lt F W [Frederick William] Hughes [d 3 Dec 1942] Buna; VX11779 Capt J B [John Boyd] Ferguson [d 7 Sept 1943] Port Moresby; NX70713 Lt R W [Robert Weston] Howland [d 1Oct 1943] Lane's Bridge; SX23299 Lt W A [William Arthur] Hinton [d 3 Jul 1945] Balikpapan; NX113110 Lt R L W [Rupert Llandels Waldron] Nelson [d 6 Jul 1945] Balikpapan; WX26133 Lt H S [Hubert Stephen] Wallace [d 6 Jul 1945] Balikpapan; NX119431 Lt J R [John Richard Watts] Melville [d 8 Jul 1945] Balikpapan; and NX6359 Capt H G [Hylton George Leslie] Davies [d 16 Jul 1945] Balikpapan. The shell case gong is designed to be suspended from the roof of a wooden temple with a hipped roof attached to four six-sided columns attached to a stepped wooden base. The thin wood of the roof is cracked, possibly because the original wood was green and is now too fragile to allow the gong to be safely suspended from it. The gong was designed to be struck by a wooden hammer (size 210 x 72mm) made from the same wood as the temple columns and base. The hammer has a small metal ring screwed into the handle and was originally suspended from a hook underneath one end of the roof.

History / Summary

This commemorative dinner gong was made c 1945 by an unknown member of 2/33 battalion, as a memorial to the officers of his battalion who had died in New Guinea and Borneo during the Second World War. The difference in the method of engraving on the gong between the majority of the work and the final entries for officers killed in the Balikpapan campaign suggests that work may have begun on the gong as early as late 1943. The gong was subsequently given to 2/33 Battalion Association.

Stanley Pretty was born in London in 1911 and enlisted in the Second AIF in Sydney on 16 September 1941. He was discharged on 18 December 1945.