Improvised pullover : Bombardier L G Burnett, 2/10 Field Regiment

Accession Number REL33118
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Heraldry
Physical description Wool; Cotton
Maker Burnett, Lionel Granville
Place made Burma
Date made 1943
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Improvised pullover with long sleeves and a fold down collar. The sleeves are made from the cut off legs of a pair of British army issue 'long johns', the upper body from an Australian Comforts Fund scarf, the lower body from Australian Army issue puttees made by the Commonwealth Government Clothing Factory, and the collar from part of a Japanese Army issue blanket. The pullover is hand sewn in running stitch using wool and cotton thread. There are original darns in the section made from the scarf and the front of this section is loosely pleated in a 'V' shape at the waist. The sleeves are attached to the body so that the garment forms a 'T' shape.

History / Summary

QX17076 Bombardier Lionel Granville Burnett was born in England in 1918. He enlisted for service in the Second World War from Brisbane, Queensland, on 22 July 1940, and was assigned to 20 Battery of 2/10 Field Regiment. After fighting in Malaya and Singapore, Burnett became a prisoner of war of the Japanese, together with the surviving members of his unit. Burnett volunteered to serve with A Force, a group of about 1000 Allied POWs who left Singapore in June 1942 to work in Burma on airfield construction, and later on the Burma end of the Burma-Thailand railway project. Once the railway was completed in 1943 A Force was stationed at Tamarkan in Thailand, moving up and down the line as far as Tarsau, repairing bridges damaged by Allied bombing, clearing landslides and undertaking general maintenance. Back at Tamarkan the fittest prisoners were drafted to be transported to Japan to work in the mines and dockyards. Burnett was not in this group and was sent instead with a party of prisoners to Petburi, to work on an airfield near the Indo-Chinese border. He made this pullover at 105 Kilometer Camp in Burma while working on the railway and carried it throughout the rest of his captivity. At the time of its making he owned two 'G' strings and a shirt. It was constructed from a Comforts Fund scarf, his own puttees, part of a Japanese blanket and the cut-off legs of a pair of British issue 'long johns' he had found in Singapore. The latter had been stuffed and used as a pillow before they became part of the pullover. Burnett wore the pullover during the monsoon while working on the railway, in the cooler months, when he suffered from bouts of malaria and while he had to sleep in the open to be close to the latrines when he had dysentry. He survived captivity and after hospital treatment was discharged on 22 January 1946.