Three Australian POWs deemed “fit” to work at Shimo Sonkurai No,1 Camp in 1943.
Standing from left to right: Bruce Pearce, Oscar Jackson, both of 2/30th Battalion, and the third is unidentified. The prisoner at right is unable to fasten his shorts because his stomach is swollen with beri-beri.
This negative features an image of 2 1/4 x 3 1/4 inches in size. It is one of 202 images relating to the service of Private George Aspinall from enlistment, his time as a POW during WW2 to his return to Singapore and Thailand post war.
A motor mechanic from Parramatta, NSW, Private Aspinall embarked with 2/30 Battalion on 29 July 1941. A prisoner of the Japanese after the fall of Singapore in February 1942, he was initially interned at the POW camp established at Changi gaol. In April 1943 he was assigned to Japanese prisoner group “F Force” to work on the Burma-Thailand Railway.
As a POW, Private Aspinall secretly photographed his experience with a folding Six-20 Kodak Brownie. Despite a strict ban against photography by POWs, Private Aspinall took photographs at great risk to himself and other prisoners.
He kept his camera hidden from Japanese guards in the pocket of a kidney-belt he created while in Changi and developed the photographic negatives in secret. Private Aspinall returned to Changi from working on the Railway in 1944.
In early 1945, on orders from his Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Frederick Gallagher “Black Jack” Galleghan, 2/30th Battalion, Private Aspinall hid his collection of negatives, along with other records, in a latrine bore-hole within the gaol compound. The majority of these were later returned to Private Aspinall by “Black Jack” Galleghan at the end of the war.
Lest We Forget.🌹
Australian soldiers after being liberated from a Japanese concentration camp in 1945. They were fortunate to have lived. 🙏