Harry Dorrington hated Malayan climate

Name: Harry Dorrington
Date: 1942-1944
Unit: Australian Army Personnel Depot
Location: Malaya

Harry Dorrington was a private in the Australian Army Personnel Depot serving in Malaya during World War II. He was taken prisoner along with thousands of Allied troops and others and spent the rest of the war until he died on 12 September 1944, as a POW in Borneo.

Before the fall of Singapore he wrote to his sister Clarice, bemoaning the climate in which he and his mates were living. It was his fate to have to continue living in those conditions as a prisoner until he died.

A Coy G.B.D.A.I.F.
Malaya
29-1-42

Dear Clarice,

I received your letter a few days ago and was pleased to hear from you and that you are well as it leaves me. I recived a parcel from you before xmas but could not write as I did not know your address. I have not much time to do any writing lately as we have been withdrawing back onto Singapore Island. You say Guyra is a B of a place. If you was in this rotten hole of a countary you would have some thing to complain about. It is as hot a hell here night and day is the same. You are always sweating all we wear here is a pair of shorts boots and a steel hat. The countary is all jungle and rubber plantations the jungles are worse than the scrub back home they are full of snakes and all sorts of things there are monkeys by the thousands. It rains every day I don't think there has been a day since I come here but it has rained. The mosquitoes are terrible. We all have nets to sleep under.

I was in Singapore twice on leave before the dirty Japs started. It is a very strange place. There is every nation in the world I think. The boys here call it the city of a million smells. Some of us went in the other night. (Of course we had to sneek away.) and the Japs came over and bombed the place four times. We were laying in the gutter and four bombs droped about twenty yards away. Belive me when there is about 50 bommers over you head and bombs droping every where you wish you were back home again. But we are getting used to them now. As I am writing this there is 54 bommer coming over the ac-ac (antiair) guns are blazing away at them and our fighter planes are waiting to have a go at them. The ac-ac guns have just got a direct hit on one and he burst into flames and exploded in the air. There are pieces falling every where. It is good to watch a dog fight. Up at the front lines our big guns have keepet up a continual roar for the last week.

I have met a few Bonalbo boy over here. I suppose poor old Speed wishes he was back in Casino driving his old truck again. It must be a cow in the sand. We have all mude here. I had not had any mail for about eight week but when I got it there was ten letters for me. I had one from Rene. She seem to have had a pretty bad time. Laurie is in the AIF now. I always write to Mum as often as I can but it is hard to get time now. I had one wrote and was carrying it around with me for a week before I could post it.

Well I have not much news so will have to close now hoping to be able see you all before long. Tons of love from Boy.

Harry Dorrington, who was known to his family by the nick-name 'Boy', died while a prisoner of war in Labuan and is commemorated on the Labuan Memorial located on a small island off the coast of north-west Borneo.

(No changes have been made to the spelling or grammar of the original letter.)

The material for this article was supplied by Mrs Bev Mitchell of New South Wales


Last updated: 3 June 2019

Cite this page

DVA (Department of Veterans' Affairs) (2019), Harry Dorrington hated Malayan climate, DVA Anzac Portal, accessed 14 August 2020, http://anzacportal.dva.gov.au/stories-service/australians-war-stories/harry-dorrington-hated-malayan-climate
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