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Norman Lenard (Bob) Dunnell

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Norman Lenard (Bob) Dunnell
Dunnell Norman Lenard.jpg
Personal Information
Date of Birth 11 Apr 1921
Place of Birth Subiaco, Western Australia
Death 20 Jun 2013, aged 92
Place of Death Rockingham, Western Australia
Age at Enlistment 19 years, 7 months
Occupation Carpenter
Religion Church of England
Address Kelmscott, Western Australia
Next of Kin Father , Mr Harry Dunnell
Military Information
Reg Number WX17595
Date of Enlistment 10 Nov 1941
Rank Private
Unit/Formation 2nd/4th Australian Machine Gun Battalion 'D' Company, 13 Platoon
Transport Details PBY Catalina A24-377 Manila - Darwin - Perth
Post War Details
Fate POW Singapore 1942
Returned to Australia
Medals 1939-45 Star
Pacific Star
Defence Medal
War Medal 1939-45
Australian Service Medal 1939-45


War Service

Enlisted on 10 Nov 1941. Bob was one of many reinforcements who had travelled by train from Northam Training Camp to join the 2/4th Battalion on the 15th January 1942 when the HMT Aquitania dropped anchor in Gage Roads. He had undergone about 2 months training! In another month, Bob aged 21 years would be facing the invading Japanese Army.

Given his lack of preparation No doubt Bob was one of the very lucky reinforcements to survive the battle. Taken on strength by the 2/4 Machine Gun Battalion in Fremantle on 16 Jan 1942, he was posted to 13th Platoon, D Company.

Captured Malaya (Singapore), he spent ime in the Selarang Camp Changi, the River Valey Road camp and the Selarang Barracks at Changi before being allocated to 'D' Force Thailand, V Battalion, with POW Number 3/7638. They left Singapore by train on 17 Mar 1943. This Battalion was to endure one of highest death rates of all Australian work parties on the Burma Railway. He was at Kinsaiyok Main camp 170.2K, Kuii Kui Yae camp 185.6k, and Brankassi Prang Kasi camp 208K in Thailand before Bob, along with many other POWs was sent to labour camps in Japan.

In his case as a member of the Aramis Party. On arrival he was sent to Fukuoka Sub camp No. 17-B at Omuta Miike, Japan from where he was eventually repatriated. He had first been identified as a POW by the Red Cross in Thailand, until then his wife and family were uncertain if he had survived the battles for Singapore.

Bob's journey home began in Nagasaki when he embarked on USS Haven for Okinawa. here he was flown to Manila by US military aircraft, and then from Manila to Darwin via Morotai on PBY Catalina A24-359. The last stage was Darwin to Perth, again by aircraft (unknown)

Discharged 29 Mar 1946.

Post War

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