Australian prisoners of war: Second World War - Prisoners of the Japanese, Japan

The movement of Australian prisoners to Japan, Formosa and Korea began in 1942, continued during 1943, and was intensified in 1944 following the completion of the Burma-Thailand Railway. By early 1945 there were nearly 3,000 Australian prisoners of war in Japan.

Official Records

Official records held by the Memorial include:

  • [8th Division in captivity: "C" force ( Japan )] Japan Parties, warning orders and instructions regarding clothing. Extracts from IJ (Imperial Japanese) orders in connection with the moves to Japan. Nominal Rolls, July-August 1942. AWM54 554/4/1
  • [8th Division in captivity - "J" Force ( Japan )] Copy of Diary by Captain C R Boyce, Medical Records "J" Force, 8 th Division AIF Changi Prisoners of War Camp, 1943-1945. AWM54 554/15/1
  • [8th Division in captivity - "G" Force ( Japan )] Reports on Taisho Sub Camp, Osada - Oeyama Camp, Takefu camp by Major R.V. Glascow. AWM54 554/16/1
  • POW and Internees - treatment by enemy. Interrogation reports, Rakuyo Maru and Montevideo Maru. AWM54 779/*
  • POW & Internees Camps (including locations) Location and strengths - Prisoner of War and internment camps in Japan, 14 August 1945. AWM54 779/13/*
  • War Crimes and Trials. Affidavits and Sworn Statements. AWM54 1010/-
  • Records of Australian Military Forces prisoners of war and missing, Far East and South West Pacific Islands. Contains nominal rolls and paybook photographs arranged by name, theatre of war and unit, location of POW camp. AWM232. The nominal rolls are available online.

Private Records

Private records held by the Memorial include:

  • David Chadwick Hutchinson-Smith, (Captain ) "Guests of the Samurai", covers the period from the Japanese landing in Rabaul in January 1942 until the end of the war. Describes the author's surrender to the Japanese, transport from Lassul Bay to Rabaul on board the Duranbar, internment at Malaguna POW camp, removal of a large group of civilian internees on the ill-fated Montevideo Maru, transport to Yokohama in Japan by the boat Naruto Maru along with a group of Army nurses, and internment at Zentsuji and Nishi-Ashibetsu, on the island of Hokkaido and repatriation to Australia in September 1945. MSS1534
  • John Lane (Ramsbottom). Diaries maintained during captivity in Singapore, particularly working on the wharves, transportation to Japan with "J" Force, placement at Kobe House, work parties in the wharf and industrial areas of Kobe and details of the end of the war. PR88/084
  • Reginald W.J. Newton. Records relating to officers and enlisted men of "U" Battalion and the 2/19 Battalion who were prisoners of war [of the Japanese] in Burma, Thailand and Japan. The items include nominal rolls of killed, wounded and missing and lists of unit members who survived the war. PR01596
  • Reginald Alex Holloway (Private). Manuscript entitled “Brief notes on POW Life: Timor, Java, Thailand, Japan 16th July 1940 to 20th October 1945”. Includes details on diet, accommodation and medical care. MSS1961
  • F.W.G. Power. Account of experiences as POW; describes conditions at Changi, Tarso, Hintok, Kwai Noi River, Yamini and Niihama camps in Japan; covers work, food, treatment by Japanese and prevalence of diseases. MSS1323


Books held in the Research Centre include:

  • Alexander Dandie, The story of "J" Force :300, 8 Division A.I.F., Singapore to Japan P.O.W. camps with American, British and Allied troops (Sydney, N.S.W.: A. Dandie, 1994)
  • Margaret Reeson, Whereabouts unknown (Sutherland, N.S.W.: Albatross Books, 1993)
  • Allan S. Walker, Middle East and Far East, Australia in the War of 1939-1945, Series 5 (Medical), vol. II (Canberra: Australian War Memorial, 1953)
  • Don Wall, Heroes at Sea, (Mona Vale, N.S.W.: D. Wall, 1991)
  • Lionel Wigmore, The Japanese Thrust, Australia in the War of 1939-1945, Series 1 (Army), vol. IV (Canberra: Australian War Memorial, 1957)