2/20th Australian Infantry Battalion Member to Receive Posthumous Award

Private James O’Dea NX77958 aka James Henry Arthur Whitcombe was born in Newcastle on the 26/9/1912. James was an accomplished boxer in the 1930′s and fought in various locations including Sydney and Ballina. Pte James O’Dea was captured by the Japanese at the Fall Of Singapore. On the 16/3/1942, Pte O’Dea and 5 other men (2 from the 2/18th, 2 from the 2/10th Ambulance, and 1 from the 8 Div HQ) escaped Changi, stole a boat but were recaptured while wading ashore on the Malay side of the Johore Straight. Pte O’Dea and the 5 other men were executed on 17/3/1942. On 27/8/2018 the Minister For Defence Personnel Darren Chester announced that 28 servicemen including Pte O’Dea and the other 5 Men would be posthumously awarded The Commendation For Gallantry.

Pte J O'Dea

Thank you to Wendy Baker for your research.