2/3 Motor Transport Company and POW Bicycle Camp at Batavia

Accession Number F03456
Collection type Film
Measurement 64 min
Object type Home movie
Physical description 8mm standard/b&w and colour/silent
Maker Cressey, Dallas Lowther
Place made At sea, Australia: New South Wales, Sydney, Australia: Western Australia, Perth, Malaya: Kuala Lumpur, Malaya: Malacca, Malaya: Perak, Ipoh, Malaysia: Kuala Lumpur, Netherlands East Indies: Java, Batavia, Singapore
Date made January 1941-1942; 25 April 1946?
Access Open
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945
Period 1940-1949
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC
Source credit to This item has been digitised with funding provided by Commonwealth Government.

Reel 1. Liverpool, NSW January 1941. Roadways of old corrugated iron huts. Free French were being held. General camp scenes. Parade ground with 2/3rd Motor Transport Company and 2/3/ Motor Ambulance Company. Open day. NX70821 Major Chris M Black of Bondi Junction later Lieutenant Colonel Black CO 2/3 Motor Transport Company. Two days leave in Perth 16 April 1941. Convoy the largest to leave. Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth, Ile de France, Mauritania and the Amsterdam. Convoy breaks up in the Indian Ocean, relying on speed. "They" go to the east and we end up at Singapore. Shoreline of Singapore passing floating dock [24 April 1941]. Deck scenes, we had some New Zealand chaps with us they didn't leave ship, but continued on to India. Postcard of our ship. We travel overnight to Malacca and remainder of film is Malacca camp below Fortress Hill and general town scenes. Reel 2. A week-end at Kuala Lumpur, Malaya. Mosque, coffee stall holder steps up to Gopang Road Caves, grotto, Major Tom Blackman and family at Kuala Lumpur. Tom Blackman had been on loan to Malaya by the NZ Government for survey duties. He returned to Singapore after the war as Major Blackman in charge of food distribution in Singapore and Malaysia. Government buildings. Singapore cold store and railway station. Painter, houseboy, baker delivery, trader. Train to Ipoh. Ipoh railway station and township. Singapore cold store who supplied our rations. School. Cold store staff. Air raid shelters. Anderson Road Boys School. Catholic School. USA Church Girls School, teachers give us weekly tennis afternoons. Boys school. Locals pool. School sports day. First Japanese air raids. Unhappy expressions. Nearby rubber factory [Wilkinson Process Rubber Co.] destroyed. Natives plunder. Ipoh aerodrome had everything left as Percival fled. Our convoy takes a roadside rest. Sgt Major Tiny Cullen has a rest in his new MG. Reel 3. Rubber tapping goes on as usual. This is a small family rubber estate and factory surrounded by a jungle of rubber trees. Arrival of DR's bit like "Dad's Army". Singapore shoreline with many fires etc. Red Cross hospital ship and British Empire Star. The last official ship to depart. Note the damaged railing of our ship as we look back at the harbour. The ship had been heavily bombed coming down from Penang. All the native crew fled on reaching Singapore and our company volunteered to man the ship SS Kinta. As we were attacked on the second day out of Singapore our progress was down to 4 knots with continuos bombing. As we entered Batavia harbour our convoy was departing for Burma so we were left at the mercy of the Dutch. the SS Kinta is seen at the wharf. The ship is being unloaded and with us no longer pumping it sank in two days. Damaged ship leaves Singapore and entry into Batavia Harbour. Shopping centre of Batavia (Batavia was the capital in those days). Native hawkers outside our barracks. Local Salvation Army Red Shield daily bring in hot coffee etc. Street beggars and entertainers all a nuisance. Main city church at the time of Dutch rule. Local labourers. Local river transport. Grass cutters in camp. House selected as HQ for Black Force 2/3rd Reserve Motor Transport Company. Moving towards South Coast of Java in convoy. Extensive use of bamboo. DR's of our company. Lieut Dave Wylie and Sergeant Brown. Somewhere 300 miles South we receive news of Dutch capitulation. Destroying trucks in case of becoming useful to the enemy. White flag of surrender at the tea factory. The long walk from the south coast. Reel 4. Further scenes of troops in the tea factory area consisting of endless parades and counts. At last we are given transport for the 300km return north. Roads are very poor and bridges only wide enough for a truck unloaded. So at each bridge we walk. Many native onlookers. They had never seen such traffic or so many Europeans before. Bill Scanden our head cook did a good job under terrible difficulties. Meal time, fortunately we still had hard rations and natives were willing to trade. Passing through paddy fields we finally reach the railway and travel by train 3rd class dog boxes to Batavia. Passing the big Philips radio complex. Peter Holden from Queensland relaxes at the rear of the carriage, a lot cleaner than inside. Parade of 2/3rd Reserve Motor Transport Company under Captain Claude Healey. "Short arm" parade. Japanese Guards at Guardhouse, Bicycle Camp, Batavia. Barracks Bicycle Camp. Barrow of two days vegetables rations for entire camp. Working party and Japanese guard shows how he wants the barbed wire put up. Men start various hobbies. Officers’ area and they are on morning parade. Japanese officers trailing swords as they approach officers’ compound. Major J.M. Williams [CO 2/2 Pioneer Battalion] established a large vegetable garden and worked on it daily. He is now Colonel Williams. Two day rations on barrow. Back in Sydney Martin Place Anzac Day. College Street Hyde Park, St Andrews Cathedral. Crosses of remembrance. [Transcribed from descriptions found on film reel containers]

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  • Part 1 Video of 2/3 Motor Transport Company and POW Bicycle Camp at Batavia (video)
  • Part 2 Video of 2/3 Motor Transport Company and POW Bicycle Camp at Batavia (video)
  • Part 3 Video of 2/3 Motor Transport Company and POW Bicycle Camp at Batavia (video)
  • Part 4 Video of 2/3 Motor Transport Company and POW Bicycle Camp at Batavia (video)