Chandler, Thomas John Kennedy (Staff Sergeant b.1919 - d.2016)

Accession Number AWM2017.743.5
Collection type Private Record
Record type Collection
Measurement Extent: 1.5 cm; Wallet/s: 1
Object type Letter
Maker Chandler, Thomas John Kennedy
Place made New Guinea
Date made 1945
Access Open
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945
Copying Provisions Copying permitted subject to physical condition
Description

Collection relating to the Second World War service of TX13787 Staff Sergeant Thomas John Kennedy Chandler, Australian Army, New Guinea 1945.

The collection consist of five handwritten letters from Chandler to his friend (later wife) TFX15997 Lieutenant Patricia Yvonne Abbott, an Army Nurse in Australia. The letters are written from the civil administration unit ANGAU (Australian New Guinea Administrative Unit) in Lae. Staff Sergeant Chandler worked in an administrative and logistical role; he was also appointed unit photographer.

The letters date from 12 March 1945 to 4 August 1945.
They describe Chandler's trip from Townsville to New Guinea in a Sunderland flying boat, their mutual friends in Tasmania, and his daily activities; Chandler works from a base; he is secretary of the Sergeants Mess and plays tennis, cricket and often swims; he organises dances, parties and freely imbibes large quantities of 'jungle juce'. The letters are written in a good-natured teasing tone. Both Staff Sergeant Chandler and Sister Abbott interact with members of the opposite sex; he with secretraries and AWAS nurses in Lae; she with military patients at the 114 AGH Kenmore (Goulburn), and 111 AGH Campbell Town (Tasmania).
The final letter is written a month after Victory in the Pacific Day. Staff Segeant Chandler is fed up with his posting and longs to return home.

Post-war Staff Sergeant Chandler worked for the Department of Veteran's Affairs in Sydney. He married and had a daughter, but the marriage did not last. Chandler was later transferred to Hobart where he rekindled his friendship with Sister Abbott, which blossomed into romance, marriage in 1957 and two daughters.