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

Records of Australian Military Forces prisoners of war and missing, Far East and South West Pacific Islands - nominal rolls and paybook photographs. AWM232 The nominal rolls can be searched online.

New Britain

  • [New Britain] Lark Force, New Britain, 1942 - Casualty returns, evacuations, nominal rolls, escapes etc. AWM54 607/1/1A
  • [New Britain - Evacuation:] Evacuation Scheme - Report on withdrawal of troops from New Britain, January 1942, by Capt J.K. McCarthy OC NGAU New Britain, and individual reports by Sgt F. Holland, A.L. Robinson NSVR, Drv W.D. Collins, G.P. Brown, Sgt R.T. Bruce and R.W. Feetum, on their escape from the Japanese and their account of the Toll massacre. AWM54 607/8/1
  • [Prisoners of War and Internees - Treatment by Enemy:] Report on American, Australian and European POW's and internees, by Col T. Takahasi, Senior Staff Officer SE Japanese Forces (Those prisoners captured in Solomons, New Guinea, New Britain and New Ireland area) (Oct 1945). AWM54 779/4/11
  • [War Crimes and Trials - General:] Montevideo Maru - List of passengers believed to have left New Britain on above ship, compiled by A. Creswick and G. Thomas, recovered Prisoners of War. AWM54 1010/1/30

New Ireland

  • [Official History, 1939-45 War: Records of Paul Hasluck:] Volume II: Source material [various subjects including censorship and a rejected Appendix titled "The Executions on Kavieng South Wharf "] (n.d.) AWM68 3DRL 8052/122 Part 4
  • [Strength - Enemy:] Copy of table showing Japanese Armed Forces and PW Strengths in New Britain and New Ireland. Table handed by Japanese envoys to BGS First Australian Army, 4 September 1945 - Order of Battle, New Britain as at 15 August 1945. AWM54 911/8/8

Private Records

  • Allan Gordon Cameron. (Captain, DSO and Bar, 2/22 Battalion, AIF. B: 1909). Copy of diary written up on return to Port Moresby following the evacuation of Rabaul. The daily entries, covering 30 Jan - 25 March 1942, detail the Japanese landing at Rabaul. The evacuation of Australian Forces into the hinterland, withdrawal along the New Britain coastline, escape aboard the motor vessel Dalcie to Lae and eventual retreat along the New Guinea coastline. 3DRL/1088
  • John Henry Marsh, (Sergeant). Diary of an expedition to New Britain in March and April 1942, led by Lieutenant A.T. Timperley (Papua Administrative Unit/ANGAU), an attempt to rescue Australian troops and civilians gathered at a Roman Catholic mission at Malmal (inland from the coastal settlement, Parmalmal) following their retreat before the Japanese advance in New Britain. Vessels (including the Laurabada ), arriving at Port Moresby two weeks later. There is a list of soldier evacuees and their units (especially the 2/22 Battalion) after the last entry. PR00916
  • 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


These books are available in the Research Centre:

  • Douglas A. Aplin, Rabaul 1942, 2/22nd Battalion AIF Lark Force Association. (Melbourne: [McCarron Bird for the] 2/22nd Battalion A.I.F. Lark Force Association, 1980)
  • Alexander (Sandy) McNab, We were the first: the unit history of no. 1 independent company, Australia remembers 1945-1995 (Loftus: N.S.W. , Australian Military History Publications, 1998)
  • 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 books.

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