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SPOKES Allan Samuel

Service: Army2/21 Australian Infantry Battalion
Service number: VX27270
Locality on Enlistment: Colac
Duration of Service: 15 Jun 1940 – 19 Jul 1945
Prisoner of War: Yes
Honours: None for display
Date and Place of Birth: 29 Nov 1906 Winchelsea
Parents: Samuel SPOKES and Bessie KEMP
Spouse: Mary NOONAN
Occupation: Slaughterman
Date and Place of Death: 14 July 1945 Ambon, Maluku Indonesia
Place of Burial: Ambon War Cemetery

NOTES: The 2/21st Infantry Battalion began assembling and training at Trawool in central Victoria on 11 July 1940. On 23 September the battalion began to move to Bonegilla, near Wodonga, a 235 km journey made on foot, arriving on 4 October. Training soon resumed and occupied the battalion until it moved to Darwin on 23 March 1941. Allan wrote a couple of letters to his daughters from Darwin, possibly the last. On 13 December the battalion travelled to Ambon, Indonesia to join “Gull Force”. Despite instances of brave and determined resistance, the 2/21st could not hold back the Japanese. On 2 February 1942, B and C Companies were massacred around Laha Airfield. The remainder of the battalion surrendered on 3 February and were imprisoned at their former barracks on Tan Tui. Conditions for the prisoners on Ambon were harsh and they suffered the highest death rate of any Australian prisoners of war. A contributing factor was the transfer of all but a small number of medical personnel to Hainan Island on 25 October 1942. Allan had survived nearly three and a half years as a POW only to have died one month before wars end.  Australian War Memorial