Gilders, John Percival (Gunner, b. 1924)

Accession Number 3DRL/3383
Collection type Private Record
Record type Collection
Measurement 1 ITEM
Object type Documents
Maker Gilders, J P
Place made Territory of Papua and New Guinea: Bougainville
Date made 1945
Access Open
Related File This file can be copied or viewed via the Memorial’s Reading Room. AWM315 419/038/010
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945
Copying Provisions Copying is permitted for the purposes of research and study, subject to physical condition

Collection relting to the Second World War service of NX195326 Gunner John Percival Gilders, 4th Field Regiment, Bougainville, 1945.

The collection consists of a single letter written by Gilders addressed to the 27th Battalion Headquarters. Written between 11 and 14 August 1945, the letter records Gilders experiences during the time between the Japanese provisional acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration on 10 August, and the Japan's unconditional surrender on 15 August.

Gilders relates the experiences of hearing that the war was over on 11 August, and then continuing combat patrols and operations. Again from Australian commercial radio his unit heard of the Japanese surrender, but he notes that neither Australians nor Japanese have entered into a ceasefire, and are both continuing combat operations. He notes that the servicemen continue these operations with reluctance, knowing that the end of the war is near. He records the death of Gunners George Redvers Bull (NX103240), Henry James Woodland (NX107718), and Keither Raymond "Jack" Audsley (N410951) during this period. Gilders notes the comparison between the celebrations in Australia they hear about on the wireless with their own position, still fighting on Bougainville.

He notes the "Tokyo Rose" broadcast that announces the end of the war for the Japanese forces, and the excitement amongst the men as an American broadcast verifies the end of the war. Following the announcement, the Japanese artillery continues to shell Australian positions and the Australian's retaliate in kind, before a ceasefire finally occurs. Following the ceasefire, Gilders notes several Australian deaths, by Japanese mines and by drowning.