Appendices to FOSTER of Launceston, Australia
… page 4.

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The appendices are arranged as follows:

This page contains appendix 8.


Appendix 8: List of Australian POWs from Hilton Stanton's donation to the Australian War Memorial (original author… Arthur Tranter).

Background to the List.

Image of Albie & Ivan RUSH on release from Pakan Baroe POW camp in Sep 1945.Hilton Albert STANTON, aged 74 in Sept 1997.
Hilton is still going well in 2013!
Photo: Courtesy of Brenda Tranter.

Hilton Stanton is a unique man. He was a POW in Gloegoer, taken from there to Atjeh and ended up in Pakan Baroe, all in Sumatra in WWII. Hilton has now reached the age of 90 in 2013.
Unlike most other POWs Hilton did not try to actively forget and not talk about his experiences, and run the risk of creating unintentional false or even fabricated memories later in life. Soon after his return he wrote about his war and created a list of Australian men in these terrible places.
His documents follow the ideals of academic history writing. They were written from first hand experience shortly after the event, and all data was cross-checked. Hilton said in letters to me: "The list that you sent to me (see below) was compiled by Lieut. Arthur Tranter. Arthur kept lists on scraps of paper ...all we had. At one stage in the army he had been an adjutant, therefore he knew the value of lists". Hilton made his own separate list soon after repatriation. He said: “I compiled ‘my’ nominal roll from memory and tracked all people down by mail. I compiled everything I wrote from this correspondence. Everything that I wrote is factual because I checked everything. I cringe when I hear or read statements by others.” ii)

Word would have travelled among the POWs and the miltary about Hilton's efforts and somehow he was sent Arthur TRANTER's document. Perhaps it was given to him in the context of the preparation of his memoirs, described by the AWM as: “… bound and typed copy of memoir prepared by the Army History Unit, Department of Defence.” Did the Army History Unit give Hilton the list? Hilton didn't definitely know the author of the document at the time and he sent a photocopy to Arthur Tranter with the inscription: "This is a copy of the original Gloegoer Roll. I suggest prepared by you. It appears to be your printing."  Arthur's daughter Brenda Tranter confirmed the authorship of her father’s list from her father’s handwriting. iii)

I asked Hilton about the addresses given in Arthur Tranter's nominal roll. He said: “I see nothing wrong with printing the names and addresses of all concerned. There are very few alive now, and, like me changed their address on returning home. I am only aware of 3 being still alive. You are at liberty to use anything I have written. To me the full address seems appropriate.” ii)

Arthur Tranter's list and Hilton's memoirs have been lodged with the "Papers of H.A. Stanton" in the Australian War Memorial i). I have transcribed the list (see below) and have made significant quotes from Hilton's memoirs in chapter 13. Hilton is the copyright holder of this material in the AWM and I thank him for his permission to use it in this website. Note that the original list showed its age by its yellowed appearance, missing bits in the corners and the folds obscuring the handwritten printing.

Sources for POW Lists:
i)   Stanton, Hilton Alfred. Memoir regarding experiences as a prisoner of war. Private record: ID number: PR85/074. Australian War Memorial. See here.(Two folders)

ii)   Pers. comm. Hilton Stanton. 2013.
iii)  Pers. comm. Brenda Tranter. 2013.

(The full list of POWs at Gloegoer.)

… taken from PR85/074… Folder 2 of 2. This list transcribed below complements Hilton's lists in Folder 1 of 2… Australian POWs who were lost on the torpedoed ship with those who workd on the Pakan Baroe railway.

Atjeh Sumatra Working Party Left Gloegoer 8-3-44

Tranter, Magill, MacKay, North, Alderton, Badger, Baldry, Barrett, Budden, Burnett, Collins, Davidson, Davies, Dasey, Elkin, Fisher, Frewin, Gall, Holmes, Incigneri, Jackson, Kane, La Hay (25 May 1944), Lowin, McLellan, McKenzie (2 Jan 1945), Nelson F.A., Nelson R.F., Nolan, Oxley, Pearson, Quinn, Robinson, Rodgers, Roy, Rush A.E., Rush I.J., Sawyer, Scott, Simon, Shields, Stanton, Stapleton (29 Dec 1944), Syer, Tangney, Ullyett, Ward, Wardrope, Winn, Hopson (26 April 1944)

Left Gloegoer 25-6-44, ship sunk 26-6-44.

(ω…)Richardson, Nichols, Baeyertz, Thompson, Bode, Walters, Annear, ω…Campbell, Cotterell, Extrem, Harrington, Haworth, ω…Kernan, Parish, Pointing, Smith H.H., Sime, Shepherd, ω…Burgess, Byrne, Carmichael, Cheal, Curtis, ω…Dwyer, Evans, Foster, Henderson, Kenny, McAlister, McCooey, ω…Norden, O’Donnell, Rose, Semple, Smith H.M., Squance, Taylor, Williamson, Richards, Clancy, Deery, Emmerson, Allen, Lucas, Maughan, McDonald, Roberts, Nunn, Salter, Sargent, Willms.

Code: ω… = Not returned to Pakan Baroe; = Missing believed dead; = Died; (…) = Extra information inserted by transcriber.


Appendix 8: Photo of Albie & Ivan RUSH on release from Pakan Baroe POW camp.
Image of Albie & Ivan RUSH on release from Pakan Baroe POW camp in Sep 1945.Albie & Ivan RUSH on release from Pakan Baroe POW camp in Sep 1945… Ivan on R with the hat**.
Shows P.O.W. brothers Albie and Ivan Rush from Bundarra, N.S.W. receiving a cup of tea from R.A.F. A/C Leigh.
Photo: Argus Newspaper Collection of photographs, State Library of Victoria. See here.
** (Information from Frances Rush).

Hilton Stanton commented on this photo: “The Rush brothers looked remarkably well [compared to how they looked at the end of the war]. The photo was one month from the end of WWII and all Albie and Ivan had to do was to eat and sleep until we were evacuated. Albie looked terrible at the end of the war… he was just skin and bone. He was in the "speedo" gang, working for 24 hours straight to finish the railway line on the date set by Tokyo. No-one had clothes. We had no boots. Our clothes were just a "Jap Happy"… a piece of cloth about 6 inches wide and 2 foot long, attached to a tape that acted as a belt.
We were evacuated to Singapore from the POW camp by the RAAF to Singapore. We did not get any "fancy" treatment. Some who needed surgery, got same. I had a tooth out. I think that we only had Army rations. On return to Australia we were given one month leave. Then to hospital… me for one month. I had amoebic dysentery as many did, it was successfully treated.”

Appendix 8. Tribute to Hilton Stanton.

by Belinda Mary Tranter.

Hilton Alfred STANTON QX23428 (Q7810) 1923-2017 — Nulli secundus
STANTON, Hilton Alfred of Holy Spirit, Carseldine, passed away peacefully on 15th August, 2017, aged 94 years.
 Hilton (known as Hilly to friends and family) was a generous, compassionate and charitable man, known for his high regard for honesty and truth in reporting. Hilton’s mission was to leave a faithful report of the experiences of the 200 Australians in Sumatra, especially on the Atjeh Road and the Forgotten Railway - the Pakenbaroe/ Moeara Railway.
 Originally in the 11th Light Horse Regiment in Queensland, Hilton enlisted in the AIF in August, 1941, and was posted to Singapore just prior to its fall – one of the many men needed to replace those lost in the Battle of Muar. He joined B Company, of 11 Platoon, led by Lt Arthur Tranter.
  During the Battle for Singapore, B Company was charged with defending the Kranji River area, including a large ammunition dump. After being overrun by Japanese, the 12 remaining men of B Company tried to rejoin their own lines, but were cut off at every attempt, losing one more man in the process. They eventually commandeered a small, leaky rowing boat, and were near Pulau Belakang Mati (now Sentosa) when Singapore fell. By now the exhausted and hungry men had found a tiny tongkang and headed towards Sumatra, across the heavily mined Malacca Strait, until they reached the Kampar River, which they mistook for the Indragiri River - part of the designated escape route to India.
 Here they met up with a Dutch party who issued them with clothing and ammunition. With the Dutch, they faced an arduous journey across swamp and jungle to Aemolock (Armoluk) on the Indragiri River. Then, aided by a Swiss rubber planter and his wife, they were trucked to Sawaloek (Sawaluk) and from thence to Padang, but too late for evacuation.
 On March 19, 1942, his nineteenth birthday, Hilton and his mates were captured. Padang became the first of several POW camps in Sumatra. The Australian prisoners were transported in cramped and stifling railway box cars, then by truck, to Gloegoer Camp near Medan. Hilton was to endure three and a half years as a prisoner. Conditions at Gloegoer were reasonable at first. The first commandant, Col. Banno, saw that the prisoners were treated humanely, but when he was replaced by “The Mad Major” conditions worsened and by now there were Korean guards.
  On March 8, 1944, 500 prisoners, Dutch, British and 50 Australians, including Hilton, were sent to Atjeh to build a road, travelling the first 308 km by truck, then a march of 120 km. The two most senior Australian men were the only Australian officer, Lt Tranter, and Cpl. Len Mackay. Living conditions were extremely primitive, the tools basic — chunkles, axes and baskets - and the cruel treatment by the Korean guards despicable. The men, constantly wet, hungry and cold at night, suffering from lice, skin diseases, malaria and dysentery, endured constant beatings by the Korean guards. Many were later indicted as War Criminals.
 Despite the pleas of Lieut Miura, the Japanese commandant, for transport, on November 3, 1944, the working party, by now starving and suffering from malaria, dysentery, beri beri, tropical ulcers, lack of clothing and footwear, began the 120 km long march to Koetatyane (Katayana). Hilton managed to steal some salt which he mixed with cooked rice. This act almost certainly saved many lives. From there they were trucked to Sungei Sengol, near Medan.
  At this time, Hilton was very ill with malaria, delirium and hallucinations, but helped by his mate, Slim Nelson. Slim believed that he wouldn’t have survived had Hilton not shared his food! True friends.
 A nightmarish journey to Moeara followed — a stifling train, lice, mites and filth, more mosquitoes. This began the worst period of internment — constructing a railway which the Dutch had decreed years earlier as impractical - through jungles and swamps.
 From now on treatment was even worse with Korean guards from Atjeh, but also engineers and guards from the Burma/Siam Railway — well skilled in cruelty towards P.O.Ws and Romushas (forced Asian labourers). There were 14 camps in all. At the end of the war, Hilton and his friends were at Logas, Camp 9, by this time near death and scrounging for anything edible. Lt Tranter had been removed to Camp 2 the Death Camp — in a bid to deprive the men of leadership, as the Japanese misunderstood the resilience and individualism of the Australian soldier.
 The railway was completed on August 15,1945, the day Victory in the Pacific was declared. However, the 2,850 men at Logas, of whom 850 were seriously ill, knew little about that, although the next day, the Japanese behaviour changed.
 As the outside world knew nothing of their existence on August 15, there were no immediate food drops and men continued to die.
 It wasn’t until August 24 when South African Major G. F. Jacobs announced it at Camp 2, that the prisoners knew the war was over. Medical supplies, clothing and food had increased.
 The Railway, never to be used and destined to sink back into the jungle, had cost about 82,500 lives, of which 80,000 were Romushas. Eventually Hilton was transported to Singapore to recover and finally, home to his family.
 He met Thelma (dec’d). They married on September 28, 1946, and had two sons — John (dec’d) and Robert — were blessed with loving daughters-in-law, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Hilton worked as State Manager for Comsteel, supported World Vision, Royal Flying Doctors, Vision Australia, the Cancer Council, the United Church’s many missions and the Bible Society. Hilton was the last remaining Sumatran POW in Queensland.

First published:
Brenda Tranter. Tributes. 2/29th Battalion A.I.F. Association Newsletter; 7 Dec 2017 : 2-3.
Reproduced here with kind permission of the author.

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