The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (H1683) Stoker Jack Sidney Marshall, HMAS Perth, Royal Australian Navy, Second World War.

Place Asia: Myanmar
Accession Number AWM2016.2.59
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 28 February 2016
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 Copyright restrictions apply. Only personal, non-commercial, research and study use permitted. Permission of copyright holder required for any commercial use and/or reproduction.

The Last Post Ceremony is presented in the Commemorative area of the Australian War Memorial each 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 Richard Cruise, the story for this day was on (H1683) Stoker Jack Sidney Marshall, HMAS Perth, Royal Australian Navy, Second World War.

Film order form
Speech transcript

H1683 Stoker Jack Sidney Marshall, HMAS Perth, Royal Australian Navy
DOD 11 March 1944
No photograph in collection

Story delivered 28 February 2016

Today we pay tribute to Stoker Jack Sidney Marshall, who was killed on active service with the Royal Australian Navy in 1944.

Born in the small town of Waratah in western Tasmania, Jack Sidney Marshall was the son of Wilfred John Marshall and Mildred Marshall of Burnie, Tasmania. Educated at Waratah State School and Hobart Technical School, Jack served an apprenticeship as an assayer at EZ Co. in Rosebury. Transferring to Canbelego, New South Wales, before returning to Tasmania, he enlisted in the Royal Australian Navy in July 1941.

Having trained at HMAS Cerberus, Marshall was posted to HMAS Perth in January 1942. That February the ship sailed for the Netherlands East Indies, and at the end of the month – among a force of Australian, British, Dutch, and American ships – fought in the major naval battle for the Java Sea. Five of the 14 Allied ships that took part in the action were lost to a formidable Japanese force. The Perth, alongside USS Houston, was lucky to survive. Both were able to break off from the engagement and make for Tandjung Priok to refuel.

The following night, on 28 February, HMAS Perth and USS Houston made for the southern coast of Java through the Sunda Strait. En route they engaged with a Japanese invasion force heading for Java. In the ensuing battle for Sunda Strait both ships were sunk after bravely grappling with the enemy. In all, 357 members of Perth’s crew were killed when the ship went down.

The 320 who survived the sinking – including Jack Marshall – became prisoners of the Japanese. Marshall was imprisoned first in a camp on Java before being transported to Burma, where he was part of large work force assembled by the Japanese to build the Burma–Thailand Railway. It was there on 11 March 1944 that Marshall died of cerebral malaria. He was 24 years old.

His body is buried in the British and Commonwealth war cemetery at Thanbyuzayat, in Myanmar.

Of the 320 survivors of the Perth who became prisoners of the Japanese, only 218 survived the war to return to Australia. Of Houston’s crew, only 368 of the 1,061 sailors survived the sinking.

Jack Marshall’s name and those of HMAS Perth who died during the Second World War are listed here on the Roll of Honour on my left, among some 40,000 other Australians who died while serving in the Second World War.

This is but one of the many stories of service and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Stoker Jack Sydney Marshall, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Dr Lachlan Grant
Historian, Military History Section

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