Anthony White had this list in his desk, wallet or pocket diary for over 60 years. In 2002 during a trip to his birthplace at South Yalgogrin and to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, I saw him looking at the list and asked him what it was. He said that it was his last platoon. In the event of a massacre being started by the Japanese, the Australian senior officers had planned that the prisoners of war in Sandakan were to form into platoons to try to inflict as many casualties as possible on their captors. By 1945, the burden of starvation and disease was so great on the prisoners that any retaliation would have been impossible. After he was returned to Australia, he visited many of the families of the soldiers from his platoon who did not return to tell them what he knew of their loved one’s fate.
The following pages have some details about each of the 30 men of No 3 Platoon who died as prisoners of war. The information was obtained from the websites of the Australian War Memorial and the National Archives of Australia. Not all the service records have been digitised so their pre-enlistment occupations are not in the table. The newspaper cuttings are from the digitised newspapers in the Trove section of the website of National Library of Australia. Roll of Honour notices in the Sydney Morning Herald archive were checked from 1 Aug 1945 to 31 Jan 1946.
Ross White Feb 2014
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Thanks to Bruce and Ross White for providing these notes of their late father Lt A H White.