Sketch by Jack Chalker

Liberation September 1945

Liberation - September 1945

That miracle came in the shape of a burly Australian Sergeant Major. He was among the first of the Australian forces to enter the camp and evacuate the seriously ill prisoners.

Bending over Dennis, he picked him up in his arms and carried him out to a waiting truck lined with mattresses. Dennis heard his saviour curse the Japs, “We’ll make sure the bastards pay for this.”

Then he laid him gently onto a mattress on the truck.

The last thing Dennis heard before he fell unconscious, was fellow prisoner Viv Orchard shouting after the departing vehicle, “Cheerio Den, and good luck.”

POW wating transportation
A P.O.W. awaiting transport to hospital

Kuching - transporting sick
Australian forces transporting the sick to hospital in Kuching

They were in safe hands at Kuching hospital. The photos below illustrate the sad plight of the POW’s.

Gnr Milburne-1

Gnr Milburne-2

Gnr Milburne LAA RA

Sgt Hickson Royal Signal Corps

Dennis awoke twenty-four hours later, in a bed, with Australian nursing staff looking at him. He was in the Kuching Civil Hospital and the doctors told him he had been 24 hours away from death.. He had undergone blood transfusions and spent the next eight weeks in this hospital with Aussie medic, Harold Crowther looking after him. They kept in touch with each other until Harold died in 2003.

 

Next Chapter

Going Home

 

 

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