YouTube

Chinese Anzacs

This short documentary includes interviews and family perspectives from some of the descendants of Chinese Anzacs. The film is designed to accompany the Department of Veterans’ Affairs publication Chinese Anzacs, which sheds light on the individual experiences and challenges of being a soldier of Chinese ancestry.

Roy Cornford – Prisoner on the Burma Thailand Railway

TRANSCRIPT: Roy Cornford – Sinking of the Rakuyo Maru – Part 4

The [USS] Pampanito happened to come up to have a look around and spotted these rafts with people on them. They didn’t know who they were or what they were. They came up and they mounted machine guns on the deck and they came over close to one of the rafts. By this time all the rafts were five and six hundred metres apart, or two kilometres apart, and we’re all black with oil of course. One bloke had fair hair and he sung out “You sink us and now you want to shoot us!” And the sailor sung out “Who are you?” And he says “We were Australian and English prisoners of war.” And he sung back “Well, we’ll throw a rope and the man with the white hair only grab it”.

He grabbed the rope and they pulled him aboard, and they were smartly satisfied that they were prisoners and they radioed, and another submarine surfaced straight away. The submarine that first spotted us, it cruised around picking up prisoners. It had a crew of 72, and it picked up 73 [survivors] and I was one of the prisoners that it picked up. I was on the second-last raft that they came to. We had two rafts joined together and we did have 18 prisoners on the two rafts but eventually when we were picked up there was only nine of us still alive.

Roy Cornford – Sinking of the Rakuyo Maru – Part 4

TRANSCRIPT: Roy Cornford – Sinking of the Rakuyo Maru – Part 4

The [USS] Pampanito happened to come up to have a look around and spotted these rafts with people on them. They didn’t know who they were or what they were. They came up and they mounted machine guns on the deck and they came over close to one of the rafts. By this time all the rafts were five and six hundred metres apart, or two kilometres apart, and we’re all black with oil of course. One bloke had fair hair and he sung out “You sink us and now you want to shoot us!” And the sailor sung out “Who are you?” And he says “We were Australian and English prisoners of war.” And he sung back “Well, we’ll throw a rope and the man with the white hair only grab it”.

He grabbed the rope and they pulled him aboard, and they were smartly satisfied that they were prisoners and they radioed, and another submarine surfaced straight away. The submarine that first spotted us, it cruised around picking up prisoners. It had a crew of 72, and it picked up 73 [survivors] and I was one of the prisoners that it picked up. I was on the second-last raft that they came to. We had two rafts joined together and we did have 18 prisoners on the two rafts but eventually when we were picked up there was only nine of us still alive.

Roy Cornford – Sinking of the Rakuyo Maru – Part 3

TRANSCRIPT: Roy Cornford – Sinking of the Rakuyo Maru – Part 3

On the first day on the raft, the water was very calm. And when you sat on the raft, the 18 of us, the raft used to go about this far under the water but then the life jacket you had on would take your weight and you’d just float up and down with the rise of the current.

Well we just talked of good things back in Australia and what we’d so when we got home and all this. No one talked of death or not being rescued or anything. And then on the second day we noticed a couple missing. We spotted a Jap – dead –you used to see lots of prisoners floating in their lifejackets that were dead and we’d say “Oh, there goes so-and-so and there goes so-and-so”.

Then I spotted a Jap come close to us and he had a water bottle around his neck. And I says “Well, I’ll get that water bottle.” So I dog paddled about five metres to it, got the water bottle and I was flat out dog paddling back to the raft. They pulled a stick from under the raft, we’d been shoving sticks under the raft and bits of plank and that under the raft to help hold us up higher. They poked the stick out and pulled me aboard and we got the water bottle, it had no cork in it and was full of salt water.

That was I think the second day, and then on the third day it rained. Well, we put our hands up to our mouths like this, and I’d say everybody would have got a couple of good mouthfuls of water. It was still very calm and the water was warm and the nights were warm and the days were warm. Well, they were hot the days, because you got badly burnt. All my arms were burnt right up here and right up there. And where you were in the water all the time your skin had gone – you only had skin, you got practically no flesh under the skin – it had all congealed up and sort of come in to look like big scabs.

On the third night, we still had about 16 of us on the raft. When daylight come the next morning, there was only nine of us left. I never saw one of them disappear. On that third night I got into the middle of the two rafts that we’d joined together and took my lifejacket off, tied a strap to my arm and lay down in about six inches of water and had a sleep. And I slept very well, because we were very, very tired I’ll admit and knocked about, we were only skin and bones.

And then the next morning there was only nine of us on the two rafts and we were floating around and we saw this, looked like a small fishing trawler, going to rafts about four or five kilometres away from us. Someone kept saying “Oh, it’s a small ship”. And then it started coming closer to us, and we’re waving and waving, and when it got closer we realised it was a submarine.

Audio

Les Williams

Listen to Les Williams dicussing supplies. [No: S00959, Murdoch Sound Archive, AWM]

Rationing Commission radio broadcast

A radio broadcast presented by the Rationing Commission to the workers of Australia

Rationing Commission question and answer session

A question and answer session about rationing and coupons? This radio broadcast excerpt from the Rationing Commission answers a question about sugar rationing.

Mister Doughboy

Mister Doughboy by Jack Davey

MR DOUGHBOY

There is a man called Uncle Sam
Who’s always stuck to his guns.
He heard a shout to help us out
And sent us one of his sons.

Mister Doughboy, Mister Doughboy
Gee, what a guy, you sure look pie to me.

When everything looked black
For the Union Jack
The Stars and Stripes came over
And they helped to put it back.

Mister Doughboy, don’t you know boy
That all of us have cottoned on to you.
It’s a wonderful combination
All for one and one for all
The Eagle, the Lion and the Kangaroo!

You are the kind that’s great to find
A fighting son of a gun
We like the way you said OK
And came along on the run.

Mister Doughboy, Mister Doughboy
Hear the applause and it’s all yours, siree
For years your loyal sons
Made us arms in tons
And now you’ve come in person
With your tanks and planes and guns.

Mister Doughboy, off we go boy
We’ve taken it, but we can give it too.
Tommies, Diggers and now the Doughboys
All for one and one for all
The Eagle, the Lion and the Kangaroo!

Mister Doughboy, Mister Doughboy
Gee, what a guy, you sure look pie to me.

When everything looked black
For the Union Jack
The Stars and Stripes came over
And they helped to put it back.

Mister Doughboy, don’t you know boy
That all of us have cottoned on to you.
It’s a wonderful combination
All for one and one for all
The Eagle, the Lion and the Kangaroo!

Publications

Century of Service series

Decision—Stories of Leadership in the Services

We all make decisions every day – they shape the lives we lead. In times of war, decision-making can take on a greatersignificance. Many Australians over the past century of service have demonstrated leadership with the decisions they have made.

A Bitter Fate—Australians In Malaya & Singapore

In December 1941 Japanese forces landed at Malaya and began a rapid advance southwards towards Singapore. Australians were among the Allied forces fighting to halt the advance. On 15 February 1942 the city fell to the Japanese, and more than 130,000 British and Allied troops were taken prisoner of war, including some 15,000 Australians. More than 1100 other Australians were either confirmed dead or listed as missing in action, and hundreds of others remained unaccounted for.

Century of Service series

Resource—Stories of innovation in wartime

Century of Service series

Ancestry—Stories of multicultural Anzacs

This commemorative publication is the third book in the Century of Service series and is aimed at upper primary and lower secondary school students.  It explores stories of individuals and families from different cultural backgrounds who served in Australian units during the First World War.  The stories contain educational questions, historical facts, did you know questions and a glossary of terms used in the text. Copies are available for sale from the Australian War Memorial.