The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (QX13648) Bombardier Winston Phillip James Ide, 2/10th Field Regiment RAA, Second World War

Accession Number PAFU2013/048.01
Collection type Film
Object type Last Post film
Physical description 16:9
Maker Australian War Memorial
Place made Australia: Australian Capital Territory, Canberra, Campbell
Date made 19 September 2013
Access Open
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC
Copying Provisions Copy provided for personal non-commercial use

The Last Post Ceremony is presented in the Commemorative area of the Australian War Memorial every day. The ceremony commemorates more than 102,000 Australians who have given their lives in war and other operations and whose names are recorded on the Roll of Honour. At each ceremony the story behind one of the names on the Roll of Honour is told. Hosted by Gerard Pratt, the story for this day was on (QX13648) Bombardier Winston Phillip James Ide, 2/10th Field Regiment RAA, Second World War.

Speech transcript

QX13648 Bombardier Winston Phillip James Ide, 2/10th Field Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery
Died at sea, 12 September 1944.
No photograph in collection

Story delivered 19 September 2013

Today, we remember and pay tribute to Bombardier Winston Phillip James Ide.

Known to his friends by his nickname “Blow”, Winston Ide was born on 17 September 1914 to Clara Ide and the Japanese-born Henry Hideichiro. He had a passion for Rugby and represented both New South Wales and Queensland as well as playing two tests for Australia against the All Blacks. When war was declared in Europe in September 1939, the Wallabies squad had just arrived in England for a tour. The team’s manager told the players: “We have one job in front of us now … to return and get into Australian uniforms without delay.” Back home, Ide joined the Second Australian Imperial Force. With a number of his Queensland teammates, he was posted to the 2/10th Field Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery.

Before leaving Australia, Ide announced his engagement to Heather Jean Reynolds of Warwick, Queensland. It was the last time they would see one another. In February 1941, Ide’s regiment sailed for Singapore.

After Japan’s entry into the war in December, Ide’s regiment first saw action in January 1942, when the 2/10th Field Regiment played a key role in the successful ambush of the enemy near Mersing, Malaya. On February 15, after weeks of fierce fighting, Singapore fell to the Japanese. Ide became one of 45,000 Australian and British troops captured in the surrender.

In Australia, the fear of a Japanese invasion was rife. Two of Ide’s brothers and his brother-in-law, a veteran of the First World War, all served in the AIF. Despite this, the Ide family’s activities were all closely monitored. Ide’s father, Henry – despite being 80 years old and a naturalised Australian–British citizen who had lived in Sydney for 50 years – was interned as a Japanese enemy alien. He was released in 1943 on condition that he stay at home out of the public eye. Winston Ide was never to know that Australia did not have the faith in him or his family that his rugby teammates and colleagues in the 2/10th Field Regiment had.

In captivity, Ide was drafted into “A Force”, a work party that left Changi in May 1942 for Burma. There they formed part of a slave workforce used by the Japanese to build the Burma–Thailand Railway. Despite his Japanese ancestry, Ide was treated no differently to his fellow prisoners. Like all Australian prisoners in Burma and Thailand he was ravaged by disease, malnutrition and overwork. Once the railway was completed, the survivors of “A Force”, including Ide, returned to Changi. On 6 September 1944 the remnants of “A Force” embarked upon the Rakuyo Maru and Kachidoki Maru, bound for Japan. On the 12th of September, the convoy was attacked by American submarines. The Rakuyo Maru, carrying 1,318 prisoners of war, was hit by a torpedo from the USS Sealion. Not long after, the Kachidoki Maru was sunk by the USS Pampanito.

It took 12 hours for Ide’s ship to sink. No prisoners were seriously hurt and an orderly evacuation was made. Some managed to board lifeboats but many in the water were clinging to debris. Over the following days, Japanese destroyers picked up around 500 survivors of the two ships. American submarines would rescue around 150, but a total of 1,559 Australian and British prisoners perished.
Ide was among the missing who died at sea. He was last seen in the water by one of his mates, who called out for Ide to join him on the safety of a raft. Ide shouted back that he was okay but “some of the boys had been hurt… [so] he would stick by them for while”. He was never seen again.

Ide’s sacrifice was one his surviving rugby teammates would never forget. A memorial in his honour reads: “‘Blow’ Ide died as he always played – for his team.’ After the war, his teammates created a trophy named after him, the Blow Ide Memorial Cup, awarded to the winners of the combined North Sydney versus South Sydney game until the 1970s.

Winston Ide’s name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my left, along with the names of over 40,000 Australians killed in the Second World War.

This is but one of the many stories of honour, courage and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Winston Ide, and all those Australians who have given their lives in the service of our nation.

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