VX61306 Private Geoffrey Gordon Read [POW]
29th Battalion, 27th Brigade, 8th Division
2nd Australian Imperial Force
1941-1946

This file last updated 8 July, 2019 12:46

Introduction

Identity photographs in Service Record

Identity photographs in Service Record
Geoffrey Gordon Read 1909-1998

Geoffrey Gordon Read, 1909-1998

The following information and chronological table are a summary of the entries from the World War Two Service Record of Geoffrey Read.

Having previously served with the Militia as a Corporal, he was allocated to serve with the 29th Battalion in Malaysia, and on the withdrawal of Allied forces to Singapore was captured and interned at Changi for the duration of the war.

View Geoffrey Read's Service Record. This record is extremely sparse, and while it purports to include records prior to his posting overseas, this material is absent but may be able to be sourced in the future. I have supplemented the chronological record with the Australian Red Cross Casualty Card entries, in chronological order and marked those entries in red, to differentiate them from the military record

Other information concerning Geoffrey Read can be found as follows:

Further information concerning the 2/29th Battalion, which includes a list of books can be found at the 2/29th Battalion A.I.F. Association web site.

His entry on the Australian Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial in Ballarat notes that Geoffrey Gordon Read was part of F Force, a group of 3662 Australian and 3400 British POWs who endured horrific conditions when transported to Thailand and used by the Japanese as forced labour in Thailand up to the border of Burma (Myanmar). 1060 (29%) of the Australians and 2036 (60%) of the British died. Some online references include the following:

Geoffrey Gordon Read passed away on 9 Aug 1998 aged 89 and is buried with wife Marie at Williamstown Cemetery.

This biography was prepared for Bradley Read, son of Geoffrey Read and Marie Read née Lynch by Clive Mitchell-Taylor, 28 Jun 2019.

For further information about identity numbers for Service personnel, see Regimental and Service Numbers.

In WW2, units with the same title as a WW1 unit were differentiated with the prefix '2/', so the 29th Battalion was generally written as 2/29th Battalion.


Enlistment Details

Army Number

V66516 & VX61306

What is your name?

Geoffrey Gordon Read

Unit

2/29th Infantry Battalion

Enlisted for War Service at

Town Hall, Melbourne, Victoria

Date of Enlistment

7 Aug 1941

Where were you born?

Lane Cove, New South Wales

Are you a natural born of naturalised British Subject? If the latter, papers are to be produced

Yes, natural born

What is your age and date of birth?

Age 32 Yrs, 4 months Date of Birth 24 Mar 1909

What is your normal trade or occupation?

Traveller

Are you married, single or widower?

Single

Give details of previous Military service.

AMF No V66516
Rank - Corporal
Unit - 14 Battalion, Militia 2½ years

If now serving, give particulars.

No entry in this section

Who is your actual next of kin? ( Order of relationship - wife, eldest son, eldest daughter, father, mother, eldest brother, eldest sister, eldest half-brother, eldest half-sister)

Mother, Henrietta Louisia Read
PO Artarman, NSW

[Amended on her death] Sister, Mrs E.C. Menzies
29-31 Hardware St, Melbourne

What is your permanent address?

31 Queens Rd
Melbourne

What is your religious denomination?

C of E

Have you ever been convicted by a Civil Court? If so, at what Court and for what offence?

No

Which if any of the following Educational Qualifications do you possess?

1. Certificate for entry to Secondary School
2. Intermediate
3. Leaving
4. Leaving Honours
5. Technical
6. University Degree
7. Other Diplomas

Response - all items struck out

Medical Classification

Illegible, but Unfit and Temporarily Unfit have both been struck through


Chronological Events

Entries in red are taken from the Australian Red Cross Casualty Card

Rank

Description

Date

Remarks

Private

Enlisted

7 Aug 1941

Private

Taken on Strength RPD.

12 Aug 1941

The abbreviation of the reporting entity is OC RRD (or possibly RPD), but place of occurence is Royal Park.

Private

Granted Leave Without Pay from 14 Aug 1941 to 21 Aug 1941

14 Aug 1941

Reason unknown

Private

Rejoined Unit after LWOP.

21 Aug 1941

Private

Transferred to 6 Inf Trg Bn, d[itt]o* from RPD.

27 Aug 1941

* ditto - the same thing again
Place of occurence annotated as Royal Park.

Private

Attached from 6 Training Battalion to 2 AIF Rfts

10 Dec 1941

Note discrepancy with date of the next occurence, even though they appear to be for the same transfer

Private

Detached for Duty with 2 Group*

16 Dec 1941

[Unable to locate any description of '2 Group', it appears to be a local term for 2nd AIF Reinforcements]

Private

Marched out from attachment to 6 Trg Bn

24 Dec 1941

[to Darley Camp, now Bacchus Marsh]

Acting Corporal

Promoted to Acting Corporal

30 Dec 1941

Acting Corporal

Transferred to 4th Reinforcements to 2/29 Battalion

2 Jan 1942

Acting Corporal

Embarked HMAT115(?)

10 Jan 1942

Ship's name not yet identified

Acting Corporal

Disembarked Singapore, taken on strength of 2/29 Bn

26 Jan 1942

Although his rank is recorded as Corporal in all other lists, including the Australian War Memorial, his Service and Casualty Form records the acting promotion but otherwise has his rank as Private

Acting Corporal

Declared Missing in Action (MIA) in Malaya*

10 Apr 1942

* At this time, Malaya included Singapore

Acting Corporal

Australian Red Cross Casualty Card has Next of Kin, Sister, Mrs E.C. Menzies of 29-31 Hardware St, Melbourne making enquiries as to the status of her brother. Unofficial status from Malaya is that he is Missing.

11 Jun 1942

Acting Corporal

Australian Red Cross Casualty Card annotation records that Casualty List V319 reports the member as Missing

19 Aug 1942

Acting Corporal

Australian Red Cross Casualty Card records that Casualty List V509 the the member previously reported as Missing is now reported to be POW.

26 Oct 1943

Acting Corporal

Australian Red Cross Casualty Card notes that List J.B.246 * advises that Singapore Radio alleges that he is POW.

5 Dec 1943

* JB is likely to indicate the report is from Johor Bahru

Acting Corporal

Australian Red Cross Casualty Card notes that 2nd Echelon advise that a card was received from Malaya, advising VIC[toria].

21 Apr 1944

2nd Echelon in this context is a rear Headquarters.

Acting Corporal

Declared Prisoner of War (POW)

22 Aug 1944

Acting Corporal

Australian Red Cross Casualty Card notes that 2nd Echelon advise that a card was received from Malaya.

23 Nov 1944

Possibly a duplication of the previous entry, but the dates are well separated.

Acting Corporal

Australian Red Cross Casualty Card notes that Army Casualty report 3552 advises that the member is reported to be alive at Changi Camp, Singapore on 4 Sep 19145

20 Sep 1945

This is the last entry on the Casualty Card

Acting Corporal

Embarked from Singapore per 'Esperance Bay'

22 Sep 1945

Acting Corporal

Disembarked at Sydney and taken on Holding Strength

9 Oct 1945

Acting Corporal

Marched out to Vic Lof C Area, RRD GDD

23 Oct 1945

Acting Corporal

Marched out to AMFDD

16 Nov 1945

Acting Corporal

Discharged

19 Nov 1945

At Royal Park

Acting Corporal

Discharge Document notes the following:

  • Home Address - 3 St Aubins Avenue, Caulfield, Victoria
  • Date commenced Full Time Duty - 12 Aug 1941
  • Date of Birth - 24 Apr 1909
  • Marital Status - Single
  • Dependants - None
  • Age - 36 Years 8 months
  • Height - 5ft 9in [175cm]
  • Eyes - Blue Grey
  • Complexion - Dark
  • Hair - Dark
  • Marks/Scars - None noted
  • Trade Group - None noted
  • Operational Service - Malaya 1369 Days
  • Embarked from Australia - 10 Jan 1942
  • Disembarked in Australia - 9 Oct 1945
  • Certificate of Discharge No - 306318
  • Unit - 2/29 Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Continuous Full Time War Service - 12 Aug 1941 to 19 Nov 1945
  • Total Effective Period - 1561 Days
  • Being 41 Days in Australia & 1369 Days Overseas
  • War Badge - Returned From Active Service No 214701
  • Discharged From AIF - 19 Nov 1945
  • Assessment of Priority - Normal

19 Nov 1945

Acting Corporal

Awards posted. 1939/1945 Star, Pacific Star, War Medal, Australian Service Medal

29 Jan 1952

Acting Corporal


Attribution

MILITARY CAMPS AND LOCATIONS DURING WW2 are from https://www.ozatwar.com/ozatwar/militarycamps.htm on 19 Jun 2019.


Medals and Dress Embellishments

1939-1945 Star, Pacific Star, War Medal 1939-1945, and Australia Service Medal 1939-1945.

 

Use the hyperlinks or scroll down to see further information.


Rifle, Short Magazine Lee-Enfield .303in, Mark III
Rifle, Small Magazine Lee-Enfield .303in, Mark III with sword bayonet

2/29th Australian Infantry Battalion

Source: Australian War Memorial https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2/29th_Battalion_(Australia)
Unit Shoulder Patch
2/29th Infantry Battalion


The 2/29th Infantry Battalion was formed at Bonegilla in Victoria in October 1940. It was part of the 8th Division's 27th Brigade, which was the last AIF infantry brigade raised for service during the Second World War. The battalion did its initial training at Bonegilla before travelling to Bathurst at the end of February 1941. The 2/29th remained at Bathurst for the next five months. At the end of July it sailed with the rest of the brigade to Singapore, arriving on 15 August. In the second week of September the 2/29th travelled to Segament in Malaya, where it continued its training. The battalion would soon put what it had learnt into practice.

Japanese forces landed at Singora and Patani in Thailand, and Kota Bahru in northern Malaya, just before midnight on 7 December. By 15 January they had reached Muar River, in northern Johore. The area was defended by an inexperienced and poorly trained Indian brigade and the 2/29th and the 2/19th Battalions were sent to Muar as reinforcements. The 2/29th reached Bakri on 17 January and assumed defensive positions. The Japanese attacked the next day. The fighting was fierce but the battalion and the 2/4th Anti-Tank Regiment destroyed several Japanese tanks. In the meantime, the 2/19th had arrived at Parit Sulong, south of Bakri, having fought its way through the Japanese beginning to encircle the 2/29th.

The 2/19th attacked along Muar Road on 19 January and held a vital crossroad long enough for the 2/29th and Indians units to withdrawal. However, the Japanese had already outflanked the 2/19th position and the Australians and Indians began to withdraw towards Parit Sulong the next morning. Constantly harried from the rear and the air, the force fought its way through a succession of Japanese roadblocks but was halted by strong positions around the bridge across the Simpang Kiri River at Parit Sulong. With its ammunition exhausted, casualties mounting, and no chance of relief, the combined Australian-Indian force struck out through the jungle for Yong Peng on the morning of 23 January. The forced had to leave their wounded behind - about 110 Australians and 40 Indians (described by a witness as a "maimed and bloodstained"). Almost all were massacred by the Japanese.

Two hundred and seventy-one men from the 2/19th reached the British lines at Yong Peng, but only 130 from the 2/29th made it. The remaining men were withdrawn to Johore Bahru and then Singapore Island. Despite their heavy losses, both battalions were ordered to be ready for battle again within a few days.

After Bakri, the 2/29th was reinforced with 500 men - many of whom had only recently arrived from Australia - and subsequently fought as part of the defence of Singapore. However, they could not stop the Japanese and on 15 February the British commander on Singapore surrendered.

The 2/29th spent the next three-and-a-half years as prisoners of war. Concentrated in Changi goal, the battalion was used to supply labour for work parties, first in Singapore and then in other parts of Japan's Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere. Men were sent to Burma and Thailand to work on the railway, while others were sent to Java, Sumatra, Borneo, and Japan.


Battle Honours

Johore, Malaya 19141-1942, Singapore Island, The Muar


1939-1945 Star

1929-1945 Star

The 1939-45 Star is awarded for service between 3 September 1939 and 2 September 1945 for:

  • a period of six months (180 days) operational service for RAN and Army personnel and RAAF non-air crew personnel;
  • a period of two months operational service for air crew personnel; and/or
  • a period of six months service at sea for Merchant Navy provided at least one voyage was made through one of the specified areas of active operations;

The 1939-45 Star is awarded to Australian Civilian Personnel who served afloat with the United States Army Small Ships Section between 8 December 1941 and 2 September 1945. Eligibility is the same as that for Merchant Navy personnel. See required evidence to support a claim.

Design

The six–pointed star is yellow copper zinc alloy. The obverse has a central design of the Royal and Imperial cypher, surmounted by a crown. The cypher is surrounded by a circlet containing the words ‘The 1939-45 Star’.

Stars issued to Australian personnel have recipient names engraved on the plain reverse.

Ribbon

The ribbon has three vertical stripes of dark blue, red and light blue. The dark blue stripe represents the Naval Forces and the Merchant Navy, the red stripe the Armies and the light blue stripe the Air Forces.

Clasps

The ‘BATTLE OF BRITAIN’ clasp was awarded to eligible air crew involved in the Battle of Britain.

The ‘BOMBER COMMAND’ clasp was introduced in 2012 and is awarded to eligible Bomber Command aircrew.

When the ribbon is worn alone the standard silver rosette ribbon emblem is worn to denote the award of a clasp. The silver rosette emblem is not supplied by the Directorate of Honours and Awards.


Pacific Star

The Pacific Star is awarded for entry into operational service in the Pacific Theatre of Operations between 8 December 1941 and 2 September 1945.

Navy and Merchant Navy personnel are eligible if the 1939-45 Star is earned by six months service or if they entered the Pacific Theatre between 2 March 1945 and 2 September 1945.

The Pacific Star is awarded to Australian Civilian Personnel who served afloat with the United States Army Small Ships Section. Eligibility is the same as that for Merchant Navy personnel. See required evidence to support a claim.

Design

The six–pointed star is yellow copper zinc alloy. The obverse has a central design of the Royal and Imperial cypher, surmounted by a crown. The cypher is surrounded by a circlet containing the words ‘The Pacific Star’.

Stars issued to Australian personnel have recipient names engraved on the plain reverse.

Ribbon

The ribbon has central yellow and green stripes that represent the forests and the beaches of the Pacific, flanked dark blue, light blue and red stripes that represent the service of the Naval Forces and Merchant Navy, the Air Forces and the Armies.

Clasp

The Burma clasp was issued for the Pacific Star.

When the ribbon is worn alone a silver rosette ribbon emblem is worn to denote the award of a clasp.


1939-1945 Star

1929-1945 Star

The 1939-45 Star is awarded for service between 3 September 1939 and 2 September 1945 for:

  • a period of six months (180 days) operational service for RAN and Army personnel and RAAF non-air crew personnel;
  • a period of two months operational service for air crew personnel; and/or
  • a period of six months service at sea for Merchant Navy provided at least one voyage was made through one of the specified areas of active operations;

The 1939-45 Star is awarded to Australian Civilian Personnel who served afloat with the United States Army Small Ships Section between 8 December 1941 and 2 September 1945. Eligibility is the same as that for Merchant Navy personnel. See required evidence to support a claim.

Design

The six–pointed star is yellow copper zinc alloy. The obverse has a central design of the Royal and Imperial cypher, surmounted by a crown. The cypher is surrounded by a circlet containing the words ‘The 1939-45 Star’.

Stars issued to Australian personnel have recipient names engraved on the plain reverse.

Ribbon

The ribbon has three vertical stripes of dark blue, red and light blue. The dark blue stripe represents the Naval Forces and the Merchant Navy, the red stripe the Armies and the light blue stripe the Air Forces.

Clasps

The ‘BATTLE OF BRITAIN’ clasp was awarded to eligible air crew involved in the Battle of Britain.

The ‘BOMBER COMMAND’ clasp was introduced in 2012 and is awarded to eligible Bomber Command aircrew.

When the ribbon is worn alone the standard silver rosette ribbon emblem is worn to denote the award of a clasp. The silver rosette emblem is not supplied by the Directorate of Honours and Awards.


Australia Service Medal 1939-1945

Australia Service Medal 1939-1945

The Australia Service Medal 1939-1945 was instituted in 1949 to recognise the service of members of the Australian Armed Forces and the Australian Mercantile Marine during World War II.

The medal was originally awarded to those who served at home or overseas for at least 18 months full-time service, or three years part-time service, between 3 September 1939 and 2 September 1945. Members of the Australian Mercantile Marine must have served the qualifying time at sea.

In 1996 the qualifying time was reduced to 30 days full-time or 90 days part-time service. To be eligible for the medal a serviceman or woman must have been honourably discharged from the Australian Armed Forces.

Design

The medal is nickel silver with the crowned effigy of King George VI on the obverse. The reverse has the Australian coat of arms, placed centrally, surrounded by the words ‘THE AUSTRALIA SERVICE MEDAL 1939-1945’.

Ribbon

The ribbon has a wide khaki central stripe, flanked by two narrow red stripes, which are in turn flanked by two outer stripes, one of dark blue and the other of light blue. The khaki represents the Australian Army, and the red, dark blue and light blue represent the Merchant Navy, Royal Australian Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force respectively.

Attribution

The above information is from the Defence Honours site at http://www.defence.gov.au/Medals/Imperial/WWII/Australia-Service-Medal-1939-1945.asp, taken on 19 Jun 2019.


The Rising Sun Badge

This version of the Rising Sun Badge was worn by soldiers of the 1st and 2nd Australian Imperial Forces, and the badge has become an integral part of the Digger tradition.

Worn on the the upturned brim of the slouch hat, it is readily identified with thespirit of ANZAC.

There are a number of versions of the genesis of the badge, the most widely acceptedbeing that it derived from a Trophy of Arms - various swords and bayonets mounted ona semi-circular display in Victoria Barracks, Melbourne.

The original version worn in South Africa was modified in 1904 and worn by Australian soldiers through two World Wars.

Later changes were made to the style of the crown and the wording on the scroll. The "King's Crown" is the one shown to the left, while arches of the "Queen's Crown" rise at the same angle as the base of the crown, curve at their highest point to a level mid-way on the orb below the cross and then down to below the orb.

In 1949 the scroll was changed to read "Australian Military Forces".

In 1969 the badge was modified to incorporate the 7-pointed Federation Star with a central Queen's crown over the Torse wreath (a twisted roll of fabric) from the original 1902 version, and the scroll wording changed to "Australia".

In the 75th anniversary year of the the ANZAC landings at Gallipoli, there was a drive to return to traditional accoutrements worn by Australian soldiers during the World Wars, which clearly identify the Australian Army. The Queen's crown returned to its central position and the scroll now reads "The Australian Army'.


Returned From Active Service Badge

The Australian Defence Force Returned From Active Service Badge features a tri-services badge (with an anchor, wings and Rising Sun) surmounted by the King's or Queen's crown of the reigning monarch, with a boomerang underneath with the text 'RETURNED FROM ACTIVE SERVICE' . The reverse of the badge has a pair of pin clips for attachment to the wearer's clothing.

The Returned from Active Service Badge (RASB) is issued to Australian Defence Force personnel who have rendered warlike service. The badge enables individuals to display their involvement in warlike service while wearing civilian attire. It is worn when the wearing of service medals is not appropriate or possible. As the award of the RASB is not governed by statute, it has been the practice of Australian Governments to determine conditions of eligibility for each conflict in accordance with the circumstances existing at the time.

Since 1945, with the award of the Australian Active Service Medal (AASM) 1945-75 and the current AASM, the badge has been awarded automatically. The bronze badge was introduced in 1953, and is identical to the earlier post-Second World War Returned from Active Service badge, apart from the replacement of the King's crown with the Queen's crown.