NX58805 Dudley Boughton
Diary of Private Dudley Boughton
Born:12th July 1914 Sydney
Extract of Private Dudley Boughton Diary - NX58805, POW No. 80 Naoetsu
15th September 1942 (Singapore)
“Two battalion soldiers died last night from dysentery. They had been given blood transfusions to no avail. I and several others offered but were not needed. I’ve heard thousands of rumours since been made prisoner. Latest is, will be free in fortnight, marvellous imaginations some blokes have!”
On November 28th 1942 he became part of “C” force, a group of 1,400 prisoners destined for Japan, of which 550 were Australian. They were shipped on the “Kamakura Maru” on December 7th, 1942. They arrived in the port of Nagasaki and were then moved into a train to commence a 52 hour journey to Naoetsu on the west coast of Japan north of Toyama. During the trip to Naoetsu, Private Dudley Boughton, recorded the following:
“Came to Kamazawa and one of the most touching scenes I ever saw at 11.30am. I’ll never forget that place. Two Japanese officers saluted every one of us and a couple of station men and half a dozen ladies ran themselves to a standstill, almost running up and down the platform with tea. The whistle went and they all lined up and the old ladies bowed us out the officers saluted us again and the porters stood strictly to attention. The Japanese guard who spoke in English told us they were very sorry for us and this was a way of showing it. It was a beautiful gesture – fully appreciated by us and never likely to be forgotten.”
At Naoetsu they were put to work, working as labourers in local factories the main work being stoking furnaces and breaking rock for smelting. Each day they were woken at 5.30am, commenced work at 6.30am and finished around 6.00pm.
“There were 25 of us in this room and more in most of the others they are close together on big thick mats and we have ten blankets each. We are not allowed to smoke in rooms but outside we may do so. Just got weighed. I am 79 kilograms”.
Christmas Day 1942 (Naoetsu)
“At roll call last night, a Japanese interpreter said tomorrow is a holiday – enjoy yourselves – we permit musical instruments. It is now about 9am. Reveille was at 6am though I was awake at 4am like some of the others, I just lay there thinking about home and Molly (wife). At 7am I had a smoke in the corridor and I could plainly see Molly going to church.”
By April 15th, 1943, he weighed 64 kilograms.
29th May 1943
“Our third tragedy, George Sherdon of the 20th, number 51 POW passed away this morning from pneumonia plus lack of nourishment. Another great fellow gone. Came from Sydney. Was 13 stone in Singapore prior to getting ill.”
30th September 1943
“Our ninth death Pop Hawkins of Leichardt passed away with pneumonia. Been sick for awhile was over 50 and very popular.”
Christmas Day 1943
“Merry Christmas and all my love to those at home. Woke up very squeamish this morning after spending the night on the pan are still very bad in the stomach and headache at 9am. Been awake since 4am. Reveille 6.30am all woke up singing a bit and passed on compliments of the season”.
His weight was now down to 57 kilograms.
30th December 1943
“Now just on tea time and the intervening space has been definitely the worse and the most dangerous period of my life (war included). My thoughts when capable of any have been solely on decent food and lemonade especially cakes I just can’t describe how I feel except that I can barely move to get on the pan and if I stand up I fall over ……….
4th January 1944
“ ‘Slim’ Tracy of 2/20 died this morning from diarrhoea had been a bad case for weeks but improved a lot lately and was quite okay and was talking to us and had a drink at 6.45am he died around 7.15am very sudden and most unexpected. This makes 10% of our original complement.”
This was the last entry in Private Dudley Boughton’s diary for he died of dysentery on January 28th, 1944. He is now buried in the Commonwealth War Graves in Hodogaya, Yokohama, Japan.
We wish to also remind you that the story is provided with written permission of John and David Boughton on behalf of their uncle. This permission does not permit the copy, electronic or otherwise of the material presented for ANY use, personal or commercial, without the express written permission of the Secretary of the 2/18th Battalion (AIF) Association.
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2/18 Battalion (AIF) Association. - A.B.N.
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