Japanese P.O.W Correspondence Ronald C. Killick

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Japanese P.O.W Correspondence - Ronald C. Killick

As the world's largest flea market, ebay is definetely the best place not only to buy that elusive rare stuffs but also serves as a treasure trove to understand, appreciate and learn history. Last month in January several Borneo P.O.W correspondences were auctioned in ebay. Although not as thrilling as, for example, Agnes Keith's POW correspondence, they still serve as a constant reminder of the dark stain in human history - WWII.

All three correspondences are related to a British Army Royal Artilery, Gunner Ronald C. Killick. The first of these letter is from Killick's wife, Ethel, sent from Southampton on 26 March 1945. 3d Prisoner of war postcard was used with a 25-word message on reverse. Although the Australian 9th division started landing in Brunei and Labuan around June 1945 and that the Japanese officially surrended in Borneo in September 1945, the card didn't seem to reach the adressee.

Although it may have reached Japan, futher sea transmission to other overseas Japanese territories would have been impossible due to vigorous American submarine action. Of note, the card is addressed to Kuching, Borneo where all the prisoners of war were interned. The last known cards received in the POWs camp in Kuching was 2nd December 1944. The card was eventually sent back to Ron Killick's wife with the cachets:

"UNDELIVERED FOR REASON STATED / RETURN TO SENDER"

"RETURNED IN UNDELIVERED MAILS / FROM TERRITORY FORMERLY OCCUPIED / BY JAPANESE FORCES"



The next correspondence is a telegram sent from Australian rest camp in Labuan where Gunner Ron Killick was recovering in hospital after the war. The cable was despatched from Melbourne on the 26 Sept 1945 and received in Southampton on 28 Sept 1945. The message reads "Am safe (in) Australian hands, hope be home soon..". It also advised writing to "LIBERATED P/W CARE AUSTRALIAN BASE P. O. MELBOURNE"


From the Australian camp in Labuan, Ron C. Killick must have been subsequently transferred to Singapore. The next telegram was sent from Singapore on 23 October 1945 and duly received in Southampton on 26 Oct 1945. The message this time reads "Am safe in British hands, hope to be home soon. It also advised a reply to be sent to "C/O PO BOX 164, LONDON EC1, KILLICK". Accompanying the telegram is another letter explaining the situation and some instruction on how to send a reply.


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