One Man’s Experience in World War 2
1940 to 1945
The End and the Beginning
‘How can one sum up the life of a man who lived for 85 years in the short time we’re gathered here. Alf Malcolm, Alf to his wife May, his son-in-law and friends. Dad to his children and to those of you who may not be aware, he had an extended family. Pop to his grandchildren and Big Pop to his great grandchildren.
Pop was a very special man - a loving father and grandfather and a man who was a great friend to family and those outside the family. He is cherished by those close to him.
Everyone who knew Alf and was touched by him, knew he was a rare person in today’s harsh world – a gentleman who was warm-hearted and caring.
Over the past 20 years or so, Pop had more than his fair share of illnesses (including some near-death experiences) but he never once thought he was badly off. He could always see somebody else who was worse off than him and would consider himself lucky that he didn’t have bigger problems. The spirit that pulled him through three and a half years as a Japanese prisoner of war in Changi and the Burma Railway – was the spirit that he carried with him the rest of his life.
Pop considered everything a challenge to be overcome and invariably did so.
On numerous occasions when he was in hospital and we rang family and friends saying you had better come – Pop’s very sick. He would defy the odds every time. Any wonder he was getting the nick name of Lazarus.
Through all of these physical and emotionally difficult times Pop continually saw the bright side of life. He had a great sense of humour that could see the funny side to any situation – no matter how serious – and many times he’s cheered us up when it should have been us cheering him up. He could laugh at the silliest things and inevitably everyone around would crack up laughing as well.
A fortnight ago whilst he was in Concord Hospital, I was finding it hard to keep up my spirits and Pop’s, which for once was at a low ebb. I mentioned I hadn’t heard a good joke for ages. Well, he was chuckling to himself before he even told them to me and he rattled off about three.
He was a good listener and sensitive to someone who needed support or a hug, be it family or friend.
During this last month he was fighting what turned out to be his final battle, but this time his body was too tired and frail to fight anymore. As happens to everyone, there is a time to go and Pop said his goodbyes last week.
He was recently quoted this saying’:
‘Life is not what happens to you, but what you make of what happens to you. Everyone dies but not everyone fully lives’
Alf’s Enlistment Records
Overview of the 2/3rd MAC in Malaya, 1941
With The Indians
2/3rd MAC under Australian command in Malaya
2/3rd MAC in Singapore
The Aftermath of Malaya and Singapore
Alf in 'K' Force on the Thai-Burma Railway
Toward the end
Alf’s Demobilization Records
Alf’s Photo Album
Thai-Burma Trip 2019