Viant, Walter Leonard (Private, b.1907 - d.1996)

Accession Number PR01105
Collection type Private Record
Record type Collection
Measurement Extent: 6 cm; Wallet/s: 3
Object type Copy, Diary, Souvenir
Maker Viant, Walter Leonard
Place made China: Hainan Island
Date made 1940-1945
Access Open
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945
Copying Provisions Copying permitted subject to physical condition

Collection relating to the Second World War service of NX55829 Private Walter Leonard Viant, 2/12 Field Ambulance, Gull Force and was a prisoner of war of the Japanese, Ambon, China, Australia, 1941-1945.

Collection includes a handmade diary Private Viant kept while in captivity on Ambon and Hainan islands as a Japanese prisoner of war from 1942-1945. The diary is handmade from cigarette packing and Japanese paper, and both pencil and cactus juice have been used. The cactus juice has the appearance of red ink. Part of the diary is written in English, but a substantial number of the entries are written in a special type of shorthand invented by a fellow captive, Cpl Stuart Swanton. This system was intended to make the translation of the diary impossible were it to be found by their Japanese captors.

Wallet 1 of 3 - consists of 2 folders. Folder 1 contains a photocopy of the original diary. Folder 2 contains a typed decoded transcript, prepared after Viant's death by a family member.

Wallet 2 of 3 - consists of 2 folders. Folder 1 contains 8 letters written by Private Viant. Seven letters addressed to "Ivy" are dated between 9 August 1941 and 27 January 1942, although one letter is undated as a result of being censored. The folder also contains a letter written by Private Viant at the end of the war from Haisho Prison Camp, Hainan Island, sent to "Mother, Lorna, Fred, Jean, Freddo, Alex, Johnny, Bill and Ivy". Folder 2 contains Pte Viant's Army Driving Licence, a letter sent to Pte Viant from the Clan Wholesalers company asking about the quality of biscuits sent to him as a soldier in Darwin dated 13 November 1941, a 1941 Christmas card, and two empty enveloped address to "Driver W L Viant" while a prisoner of war.

Wallet 3 of 3 (custom box) - contains the original diary.