Background information
Online Resources
Official records
Private records

Background information

The Encyclopedia entry Australian prisoners of war: Second World War prisoners of the Japanese contains general information about the capture of Australian troops as well as entries on each location of imprisonment.

Online resources

Use these resources to identify further information or particular items in the collections relevant to your interests:

Official Records

Official records held by the Memorial include:

  • [Timor (1941-1942) - (Sparrow Force and Lancer Force) - Operations:] Relief of Lancer (Sparrow) Force, 2/2 Independent Company - Dutch Troops - Nominal Roll of members of AMF who were serving in Timor, and who are now recorded as prisoners of war and missing. AWM54 571/4/28
  • [Timor (1941-1942) - (Sparrow Force and Lancer Force):] - Sparrow Force (Timor) Account of action by Lieutenant Colonel W.W. Leggett. AWM54 571/4/56
  • [Timor (1941-1942) - (Sparrow Force and Lancer Force) - Operations:] War diary [Diary made by Sgt Ronald Stuart Kirkwood WX212, 2/2 Independent Company (2/2nd Commando Squadron), includes dates of movement and some events]. AWM254 373
  • War Crimes and Trials. Affidavits and Sworn Statements. AWM54 1010/*
  • Death certificates mostly in Japanese language of Australian prisoners of war who died after the Japanese transport ship, Tamahoko Maru was torpedoed by a US submarine off Nagasaki- 24 June 1944. AWM127 Item 69
  • 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 theatre of war. AWM232 Nominal rolls can be searched online.

Private Records

Private records held by the Memorial include:

  • William Watt Leggatt, DSO, MC (Lieutenant Colonel). As commanding officer of "Sparrow Force" (2/40 Infantary Battalion) during the defence of Timor and later when in captivity at Changi POW camp, he includes nominal rolls, casualty lists, financial reports and operational reports for Sparrow Force units plus recommendations for honours and awards. PR89/099
  • Norman Eadie, (Lieutenant-Colonel, 2/3 Australian General Hospital , 2/2 Casualty Clearing Station). Papers describe experiences of POW in Java, Singapore, Thailand, Borneo, Sumatra, Indo-China and Japan. Two documents cover the history of 2/2 Pioneer Battalion after capitulation in 1942 and conditions during transport of POWs from Java to Burma in 1942. PR90/043
  • Sir Edward "Weary" Dunlop, The papers of Sir Edward Ernest Dunlop document his life from 1922 to 1993 and cover educational, military and prisoner of war experiences. PR00926
  • Arthur Seaforth Blackburn, (Brigadier, VC, CMG, CBE, ED). Surrender of allied forces (including "Blackforce") Bandoeng, Java 12/03/1942. Blackburn instructs his troops as to discipline and behaviour. Medical staff elect to stay with their patients. Later notes on location of troops within the POW camp. EXDOC084
  • Arthur Seaforth Blackburn, (Brigadier, VC, CMG, CBE, ED). Diary kept by Blackburn while a prisoner of the Japanese, covering April 1942 - November 1944. Discusses capitulation at Java and subsequent internment at numerous camps and treatment by Japanese. PR00014


Books and articles available in the Research Centre include:

  • E.F. Aitken, The story of the 2/2 nd Australian Pioneer Battalion (Melbourne: 2/2nd Pioneer Battalion Association, 1953)    
  • E.E. Dunlop, The war diaries of Weary Dunlop: Java and the Burma-Thailand Railway 1942-1945 (Melbourne: Nelson, 1986)
  • Peter Henning, "Tasmanians in Timor 1941-42 ", Journal of the Australian War Memorial October (1984): 5
  • 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)
  • Lionel Wigmore, The Japanese Thrust, Australia in the War of 1939-1945, Series 1 (Army), vol. IV (Canberra: Australian War Memorial, 1957)

Check with your local library for availability of these items.

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