Informal portrait of NX35102 Captain (Capt) Alex Keith Barrett, a doctor and Medical Officer ...

Accession Number P03849.001
Collection type Photograph
Object type Print
Maker Unknown
Place made Japan: Naoetsu
Date made c 1942
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Item copyright: Copyright expired - public domain

Public Domain Mark This item is in the Public Domain


Informal portrait of NX35102 Captain (Capt) Alex Keith Barrett, a doctor and Medical Officer serving in the 2/20th Battalion, who became a prisoner of war (POW) after the fall of Singapore. This identification photograph was taken in the Naoetsu POW Camp. Capt Barrett is wearing a heavy uniform and a patch with the number 2, his Naoetsu POW Camp number, sewn on his pocket. The Japanese Army used many POWs as labourers in working parties. On 20 November 1942, allied POWs held at Adam Park in Singapore were moved to the Sime Road camp and issued with heavy uniforms. This POW working party was known as C Force. On 29 November 1942, 1,400 allied POWs, including 550 Australians from the 2/20th Battalion, still under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Robertson, embarked on the Kamakura Maru, a modern 17,000 ton passenger and cargo vessel, and set sail for Japan. On 7 December 1942, the Kamakura Maru docked at Nagasaki and the POWs were unloaded. Of the 550 Australian POWs, 300 were selected in alphabetical order down to the letter 's', and formed a working party that left by train for Naoetsu. The remainder of the Australians were sent to work in a shipyard at Kobe. The men worked in the local stainless steel factory and also at the nearby Shinetsu Chemical Factory. They endured terrible conditions. Frequent beatings and a very poor diet contributed to the rapid decline in health and fitness. Sixty POWs died at Naoetsu between 1943 and March 1944.

Related information