Lewtas, Keith Lindsay (Warrant Officer Class I, b.1909 - d.1984)

Accession Number PR06252
Collection type Private Record
Record type Collection
Measurement Extent: 17 cm; Wallet/s: 6
Object type Letter, Diary, Certificate, Postcard, Souvenir, Manuscript, Map
Maker Lewtas, Keith Lindsay
Place made Australia, British Mandate of Palestine: Palestine, Egypt, Greece, Japan, Korea, New Guinea, North Africa: Libya, Sri Lanka, Yemen
Date made 1938-1964
Access Open
Conflict Korea, 1950-1953
Second World War, 1939-1945
British Commonwealth Occupation Force, 1946-1952 (Japan)
Copying Provisions Copying is permitted for the purposes of research and study, subject to physical condition
Source credit to This item has been digitised with funding provided by Commonwealth Government.

Collection relating to the Second World War, British Commonwealth Occupation Force [BCOF], and Korean War service of VX5354, 3/45087 and 31997 Warrant Officer Keith Lindsay Lewtas, 1938-1964.

Wallet 1 of 6 - Wallet contains a 47,000 word, 189 page typed manuscript of Warrant Officer Lewtas’ army service entitled ‘Bengazi to Sinanjui: A true account of a soldier’s experiences’. The manuscript commences with Warrant Officer Lewtas’ Second World War embarkation in 1939 through to his service with the British Commonwealth Occupation Force [BCOF] and departure from Japan, and concludes with the completion of his service in the Korean War around 1951.

Wallet 2 of 6 - Wallet contains one green faux leather diary marked ‘38’, and a brown faux crocodile skin diary marked ‘39’, both collectively spanning the period 1 January 1938 to March 1940. The diary marked ‘38’ discusses the everyday events of Warrant Officer Lewtas, such as helping in his father’s business, and attending church events from the beginning of 1938 to November 1939. There are also critiques throughout on both world and domestic political events and the looming prospect of war with Germany. Events such as the annexation of the Sudetenland, the declarations of war by various countries, Warrant Officer Lewtas’ enlistment and Australia’s preparations for sending soldiers overseas are discussed. Within the diary are various newspaper clippings relating to events discussed in the diary, two postcards depicting the Sydney Harbour Bridge taken from a light plane, and a letter accepting Warrant Officer Lewtas’ resignation from the position of church secretary. The diary marked ‘39’ spans the period of November 1939 to March 1940 and discusses Warrant Officer Lewtas’ training in Australia. In the rear of the diary are listed several people’s addresses.

Wallet 3 of 6 - Wallet contains six small diaries dating from 3 March 1940 to 18 April 1944.
Item 1:
One red faux leather covered ‘Invicta Australian diary’ with original pencil. The diary spans the period of 3 March 1940 to 31 December, 1940. The diary begins with a list of addresses and other people from Maryborough who enlisted alongside Lewtas. The diary discusses pre-embarkation training in Australia, then embarkation to the Middle East via Perth, Colombo, Aden, the Suez Canal and in to Egypt. Following this, leave in Egypt, Jerusalem and modern-day Palestine are discussed.
Item 2:
One brown faux leather diary with ‘41’ written on the cover, published in French in Cairo. The diary spans the period 1 January 1941 to 24 October 1941. The diary discusses exchanges with Italian prisoners of war, the fall of Tobruk, an address by Sir Robert Menzies to twenty soldiers including Warrant Officer Lewtas, arrival in Greece, a battle near Lamia, the evacuation from Greece, the evacuation from Crete, a second-hand account of Nazi atrocities in Poland, his promotion to bombardier, and various activities completed while on leave in various Middle Eastern countries.
Item 3:
One black faux leather Hebrew diary, with ‘42’ written on the cover. The diary begins just prior to the Jewish new year (29 September), with entries written from 25 October 1941 to 23 August 1943, with printed dates crossed out to reflect dates of writing. Diary discusses time spent in the Middle East and Ceylon (Sri Lanka) working on surveys. There are also mentions of significant events in the war as they are heard, such as the sinking of HMAS Sydney, and the Japanese invasion of Rabaul. The diary ends with Warrant Officer Lewtas’ return to Australia for leave, and his visits to various friends and family.
Item 4:
One black faux leather 1930 (with 1930 crossed out) diary with 'Collins’ Gentleman’s Diary no. 471” with the numbers ‘42’, ‘43’, and ‘44’. Entries in the diary span the period 27 August 1942 to 18 April 1944. This diary covers time spent in Australia with Warrant Officer Lewtas’ work on the home front. Mentioned are everyday events such as visits from friends and trips on leave to Sydney.
Item 5:
One red faux leather diary with ’44–45’ written on the cover and spans the period 18 April 1944 to 31 December 1945. Diary commences with many entries referring to recreational activities while based in Australia. The diary then traces Warrant officer Lewtas’ move to New Guinea, celebrations for VJ Day and then joining the British Commonwealth Occupational Force [BCOF]. Included are phrases in Pidgin English, including a translation of the Lord’s Prayer.
Item 6:
One homemade diary, created from writing paper, entitled ‘Personal Diary (Improvised)’, spanning the period 1 January 1946 to 5 March 1946. During this period, Warrant Officer Lewtas joined BCOF and was awaiting movement from Morotai to Japan. Topics discussed are largely his finances and the lowering morale of soldiers getting impatient about the time it is taking to be transferred to Japan.

Wallet 4 of 6 - Wallet contains one faux leather blue covered diary with ‘supplement 39-46’ written on the cover. This diary contains supplements to the previous diaries and includes newspaper clippings, photos, and similar ephemera. Also included are maps depicting events such as Warrant Officer Lewtas’ movement throughout the war, a sketch of the Battle of Tobruk ‘as [he] saw it’, and a sketch of the evacuation of Crete.

Wallet 5 of 6 - Wallet contains one brown faux leather address book (used as a diary) with ‘Here it is’ embossed in gold on the cover, with the numbers ‘46’ to ’51 (13 July)’ written on the cover. The diary spans the period 6 March 1946 to 12 August 1950 (note the discrepancy in dates between the cover and the actual entries). The diary covers the period that Warrant Officer Lewtas was serving in BCOF in Japan, just prior to his service in the Korean War which began on 28 September 1950. The diary includes many newspaper cuttings, letters, and photographs relating to various entries. Entries largely relate to time spent on leave and visiting different parts of Hiroshima and Tokyo. A common theme is the treatment of Japanese women by Allied Forces, and the new female Japanese friends that Warrant Officer Lewtas finds himself making.

Wallet 6 of 6 - Wallet contains:
Item 1:
One small homemade diary entitled ‘Korean Campaign’, spanning the dates 27 September 1950 to 13 July 1951. The diary covers the period from Warrant Officer Lewtas’ departure from Japan and journey to Korea as a member of 3 Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (3RAR). Included are rumours from the war, the reaction to the Chinese entry, news from Australia and his excitement about returning to Japan.
Item 2:
One red faux leather diary with ‘memo book high class’ embossed in gold on the cover. Written on the cover is ’13 July 51-52’. The diary discusses Warrant Officer Lewtas’ return to Japan after serving in Korea, and his return to Australia. Discussed are his thoughts on the Korean War, and his detachments to various units throughout Australia. Included is a dried four-leaf clover.
Item 3:
One picture of an unidentified Japanese woman.
Item 4:
One letter awarding the Distinguished Unit Citation 3RAR.
Item 5:
Two postcards from Jerusalem, dated 1940.
Item 6:
One certificate of discharge from the Australian regular army special reserve, dated 13 December 1951.
Item 7:
One certificate of discharge from the interim army following Warrant Officer Lewtas’ service in BCOF (Japan), dated 16 August 1948.
Item 8:
One warrant, promoting Lewtas to Warrant Officer, Class II, dated 5 March 1957.
Item 9:
One aerogramme addressed to Warrant Officer Lewtas sent from Japan congratulating him on his promotion and sending condolences on the death of his mother.
Item 10:
One airmail letter card written by Warrant Officer Lewtas to his mother, dated 1945. The letter briefly discusses his experiences in New Guinea, then goes on to translate the Lord’s Prayer into Pidgin English.
Item 11:
One letter to Warrant Officer Lewtas from a girl called Michi expressing how much she misses him.
Item 12:
One four-page letter written by Warrant Officer Lewtas to his mother, dated 18 May 1950 discussing the current situations in both Malaya and Japan (whilst still under BCOF).