This is a true story,
enjoy it and remember,
these are true words.
Journey From Java
One of our colleagues, on reading my journey
to Java, asked me how I got away from there or did I become a Jap POW? To put
everyone's mind at rest I will tell how I left that island.
One day the C.O (wing commander Bateson) told
us that the Japs were getting rather near and the sooner we left the better. The
remains of 211 and 84 squadron then got onto lorries which drove off to the
south (all except an American wireless operator / air gunner of 84 squadron with
the improbable name of Ffolliot Foster who walked north with two .38's strapped
to this waist and announced "I'm not running from those yellow bastards")
The lorries took us to a port on the south
coast called Tjillatjap, there were two tramp steamers there, one to head to
Australia, the other, called the Kota Gede, to go to Ceylon. A warrant officer
names Russell Who I remembered as in charge of the cadets at 10 I.T.W steered us
(the was the RAF and army) into one or the other ship on some system known only
unto himself, Les, Graham and I became Kota Gede passengers.
There had been some looting at the port on
our arrival - all I looted was a sack of Pineapples!
On boarding we were sent to the lower deck -
no bunks or blankets and only steel to sleep on, there were 2,800 on board. Off
we went, rations consisted of a cigarette tin of water twice a day and the same
tin once a day filled with stew (the voyage to Ceylon was ten days so thanks to
my Pineapples). The sea at times was very rough and some of the fellows on the
bottom deck were sea sick so it was all rather smelly; luckily provision was
made for our other bodily functions.
When we disembarked at Colombo we were then
put on a troopship (the air force that is) bound for Karachi (Drigh Road
aerodrome) where we were put in tents for a while. The permanent staff were
rather scathing and accused us of running away from the Japs! (None of them ever
heard a shot in anger)
This is what I looked like 66 years ago in
Incidentally, I later learned that the ship
bound for Australia was bombed and sank!