Charles Owen Parkin

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Charles Owen Parkin
Parkin Charles Owen 1.jpg
Personal Information
Date of Birth 15 Feb 1916
Place of Birth Fremantle, Western Australia
Death 30 Sep 1965, aged 49
Place of Death Hollywood, Western Australia
Age at Enlistment 25 years, 1 month
Description 6'1" (1.m) tall ; 155lbs
70.307 kg
; fair complexion ; blue eyes ; fair hair
Occupation Orchard worker
Religion Church of England
Address Holden road, Roleystone, Western Australia
Next of Kin Mother , Mrs. M V Parkin
Military Information
Reg Number WX2844
Date of Enlistment 20 May 1940
Rank Corporal
Unit/Formation 2/3rd Australian Machine Gun Battalion, D Company
Military Movement
1st Departure from Australia
Journey Dates 16 Apr 1941 ‒ 14 May 1941
Transport Details SS Île de France Fremantle to Port Tewfik
Journey Dates 31 Jan 1942 ‒ 15 Feb 1942
Transport Details SS Orcades Port Tewfik to Tanjong Priok, Java
Return to Australia
Journey Dates 5 Oct 1945 ‒ 13 Oct 1945
Transport Details HMS Formidable Manila to Sydney
Post War Details
Fate POW Java
Returned to Australia
Monument(s) Roleystone Roll of Honour
External Monument(s) The Australian Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial Ballarat, Victoria
Medals 1939-45 Star
Pacific Star
War Medal 1939-45
Australian Service Medal 1939-45

Pre War

Electoral Roll entry for 1937 - Holden road, Roleystone, orchard hand. H joined the CMF for 3 years on 7 Nov 1937 with Army No. 249807 and was posted to the HQ Squadron of the 10th Light Horse Regiment.

War Service

When Charles enlisted in the AIF he declared that he had been a member of the militia's 10th Australian Light Horse Regiment ww2 since 7 Nov 1937. On 1 Nov 1939 Charles was promoted Lance Corporal, and on 2 Feb 1940 promoted Corporal. He was discharged from the 10th Light Horse on 20 May 1940 in order to enlist in the 2nd AIF, where he was initially allocated to the 2/2nd Australian Machine Gun Battalion as a Private on 10 Jun 1940. From 12 - 18 Aug 1940 he participated in a Driver/Mechanics course at the Northam camp, before boarding a train for Adelaide on 29 Oct 1940, arriving there two days later, where he was transferred to the 2/3rd Australian Machine Gun Battalion. Granted pre-embarkation leave from 25 Mar till 3 Apr 1941, he caught a train from Adelaide to Perth where he was to later rejoin his unit which had embarked in Sydney. aboard SS Ilse de France.

On 16 Apr 1941 as part of Convoy US 10B, Charles embarked on the SS Île de France which sailed early on 19 Apr 1941 for Colombo in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) which was reached on the 26th where the ship then anchored until the morning of 6 May 1941 before proceeding to Port Tewfik where it arrived on 13 May 1941. It did not disembark its troops until the next day (14 May 1941).

Upon arrival in the Middle East, the 2/3rd Machine Gun Battalion was assigned to the 7th Division, the 2nd AIF's second division and it subsequently joined them in Palestine, establishing a camp at Hill 95 to the north of Gaza. There the battalion undertook a vigorous physical training regime to regain the fitness lost from the sea voyage. A fortnight after arrival, on 28 May 1941 Charles was appointed Lance Corporal, and then on 5 Jun 1941 he was promoted Corporal. Along with the rest of the 7th Division, the 2/3rd Machine Gun Battalion was committed to the Syria–Lebanon campaign in early June, to secure the Allied eastern flank from attack. Due to the presence of Vichy French troops, the campaign was politically sensitive and as a result of heavy censorship not widely reported in Australia at the time as the Vichy French were more numerous and better equipped than the Australians.

From 20 Sep 1941 until 25 Oct 1941 he was away from his unit for training at the Middle East Weapons Training Section. Admitted to the 2/6th Australian Field Ambulance with cellulitis on 24 Nov 1941, he returned to the battalion on 8 Dec 1941. On 31 Jan 1942 the battalion boarded a train which took them to Kantara where they were ferried across the canal to continue the journey to Port Tewfik where they boarded the troopship SS Orcades for Oosthaven in Sumatra, but disembarking instead on 15 Feb 1942 at Tanjung Priok, the port for Batavia (Jakarta). Soon after they moved to Batavia in Java where they were to attempt to hold up the Japanese advance. However, on 8 Mar 1942 the Dutch forces capitulated and the next day the British Forces surrendered. On 30 Jul 1942 the Army was advised that Charles was a POW in Java, and in the meantime the Japanese had sought to transfer him, to Japan, but on 20 Jan 1944 the ship that he was travelling on was sunk off Sumatra. Charles was rescued, and subsequently on 1 Aug 1944 he was known to be interred in the Japanese Fukuoka POW Camp as of 15 August 1945.

On 9 Sep 1945 Charles was one of the POWs recovered from the Japanese and taken to the 8th Australian POW Reception Camp in Manila. On 5 Oct 1945 he boarded HMS Formidable in Manila for Sydney where he disembarked on 13 Oct 1945. The following day he entrained for Perth, arriving there on 20 Oct 1945. Granted leave, he was on 4 Dec 1945 admitted to the 110th Australian Base Hospital for assessment after which he was transferred to the 109th Australian Convalescent Depot in Melville from where he was discharged on 18 Dec 1945.

Post War

In 1946 he married Molly English, and in 1974 his widow Molly applied for a War Service Home.

Electoral Roll entries: 1949 - 1963 at 17 Megalong road, Nedlands, Police Constable;


"Charlie joined the 2/3rd Machine Gun Battalion and served in Greece, Crete, Syria and Java where he was captured. After imprisonment in several different camps, he was shipped to Japan. Enroute his ship was torpedoed by an American submarine and sank. After many hours in the water, he and 23 other Australians were recaptured and sent to Nagasaki where Charlie survived a rather more lethal American attack in the form of "FAT BOY", the second Atomic Bomb."[1]

The 2/3rd Machine Gun Battalion did not serve in Greece or Crete, and it is unlikely that Charlie did either. However he definitely served in the Syria-Lebanon and Java campaigns and was sunk off Sumatra on 20 Jun 1944.

  1. entry posted 24 Nov 2013 by parkin07181

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