James Robert McCormack

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James Robert McCormack
Personal Information
Date of Birth 6 Sep 1919
Place of Birth Bunbury, Western Australia
Death 30 Aug 2003, aged 83
Place of Death West Pinjarra, Western Australia
Age at Enlistment 20 years, 7 months
Description 5'8½" (1.74m) tall ; ; dark complexion ; grey eyes ; black hair
Occupation Orchardist
Religion Church of England
Address Armadale, Western Australia
Next of Kin Father , Mr. Andrew McCormack
Military Information
Reg Number WX3518
Date of Enlistment 28 May 1940
Rank Private
Unit/Formation 2/3rd Australian Machine Gun Battalion
Military Movement
1st Departure from Australia
Journey Dates 19 Apr 1941 ‒ 14 May 1941
Transport Details SS Île de France Fremantle to Port Tewfik via Colombo
Journey Dates 31 Jan 1942 ‒ 15 Feb 1942
Transport Details SS Orcades Port Tewfik to Tanjong Priok, Java
Post War Details
Fate POW Captured Java 9 Mar 1942
Returned to Austaralia
External Monument(s) The Australian Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial Ballarat, Victoria
Medals 1939-45 Star
Africa Star
Pacific Star
Defence Medal
War Medal 1939-45
Australian Service Medal 1939-45

Pre War

War Service

At the time of his enlistment in the 2nd AIF on 28 May 1940, James was already serving in the Militia's 10th Australian Light Horse Regiment ww2. On 10 Jun 1940 he was posted to the 2/2nd Australian Machine Gun Battalion at Northam. On 8 Aug 1940 James had contracted measels and was admitted to the Northam Camp Hospital until 28 Aug 1940 when he resumed training. On 29 Oct 1940 he was now a member of the 2/3rd Australian Machine Gun Battalion and was entrained at Northam for South Australia where the unit was concentrating. Having completed training in Australia, in April 1941 the battalion embarked for the Middle East with Western Australian members of the unit being sent back to WA to enjoy pre-embarkation leave from 25 Mar until 4 Apr 1941. They rejoined their unit when they embarked aboard SS Île de France in Fremantle on 16 Apr 1941. Convoy US 10 of which they were part, departed Fremantle on 19 April for Colombo in Ceylon (Sri Lanka), arriving there on 26 Apr 1941. The section of the convoy that SS Île de France was part of (US 10B) remained in Colombo for 10 days before departing for Port Tewfik where they remained a further two days at anchor before disembarking on 14 May 1941.

Sent to Hill 95 in Palestine, in June/July 1941 the battalion saw action against Vichy French forces during the Syria–Lebanon campaign, during which time the battalion was heavily involved in supporting elements of the 7th Division. Following Japan's entry into the war, the decision was made to transfer a large number of Australian troops, including the 7th Australian Infantry Division, from the Middle East to the Pacific region. In January 1942 they had returned to Hill 69 and on 31 Jan 1942 boarded the SS Orcades for the Netherlands East Indies, eventually disembarking at Batavia on 7 Mar 1942.

The Japanese advanced rapidly through the Netherlands East Indies, with the majority of the battalion being captured during the Battle of Java in early March 1942. Initially James was reported as Missing on 7 Mar 1942. However, on 13 Oct 1942 James was reported by Japanese Radio as a POW, interned in Java Camp. At some later stage he was sent to Thailand.

On 20 Aug 1945 James was released from Japanese control in Siam (Thailand), before being taken to Singapore where he was taken in by the HQ 2nd Australian Prisoner of War Reception Group. Following a period in which his health was monitored and built up, he embarked on MV Highland Brigade on 6 Oct 1945 for Fremantle where he disembarked on 15 Oct 1945.

Following some leave, on 15 Nov 1945 James was admitted to the 110th Australian Base Hospital before being released on 24 Nov 1945 to the 109th Australian Convalescent Depot. James was released from the convalescent unit on 12 Dec 1945 to the Western Command Recruit Reception & General Details Depot for final discharge, which took place on 13 Dec 1945.

Post War


Captured Java, spent time in Thailand POW West Aust 2 Nov 1942; POW West Aust 8 Jul 1943; The Argus, Saturday 22 September 1945, page 8

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