Arthur Henry Mason PURDON DCM

PURDON, Arthur Henry Mason

Service Numbers: 1797, NX67447
Enlisted: 6 August 1917, East Sydney, New South Wales
Last Rank: Warrant Officer Class 1
Last Unit: 2nd/30th Infantry Battalion
Born: Sydney, New South Wales, 24 December 1900
Home Town: Pyrmont, City of Sydney, New South Wales
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Labourer (later Health Inspector)
Died: Natural causes, Sydney, New South Wales, 2 August 1983, aged 82 years
Cemetery: Not yet discovered
Memorials: Ballarat Australian Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial, New South Wales Garden of Remembrance (Rookwood Necropolis)
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World War 1 Service

6 Aug 1917: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 1797, East Sydney, New South Wales
28 Feb 1918: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 1797, 3rd Infantry Battalion, HMAT Nestor, Sydney
28 Feb 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 1797, 3rd Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '7' embarkation_place: Sydney embarkation_ship: HMAT Nestor embarkation_ship_number: A71 public_note: ''
18 Sep 1918: Wounded AIF WW1, Private, 1797, 3rd Infantry Battalion, "The Last Hundred Days"
3 Dec 1919: Discharged AIF WW1, Private, 1797, 3rd Infantry Battalion

World War 2 Service

17 Jan 1941: Enlisted Australian Military Forces (WW2) , Warrant Officer Class 1, NX67447
17 Jan 1941: Enlisted Private, NX67447, Paddington, New South Wales
14 Jan 1942: Involvement Warrant Officer Class 2, NX67447, 2nd/30th Infantry Battalion, Malaya/Singapore
16 Jan 1942: Honoured Distinguished Conduct Medal, Malaya/Singapore, Exceptional courage and devotion near Gemas
11 Feb 1942: Promoted Warrant Officer Class 1, 2nd/30th Infantry Battalion
16 Feb 1942: Imprisoned Malaya/Singapore
18 Feb 1947: Discharged Warrant Officer Class 1, NX67447, 2nd/30th Infantry Battalion

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Biography contributed by Michael Silver

Born in Sydney on Christmas Eve in 1900, Arthur Henry Mason Purdon enlisted in the 2nd AIF (NX67447) on 17 January 1941 as a member of 2/30th Battalion with rank of Warrant Officer.

Arthur Purdon had previously served with the 3rd Battalion AIF in World War 1 enlisting as a 16 years old in 1917. He was Court Marshalled for an unknown offence in England in May 1918 but found not guilty. He was wounded in action in France in September 1918 but recovered. He remained in England after the war undertaking training in woodwork and carpentry before returning to Australia in November 1919.

Arthur worked as a Health and Building Inspector for Councils in the Gloucester and Maitland areas in the years leading up to World War 2.

He joined the Militia Forces in 1936.

He embarked for Singapore on 29 July 1941 - disembarking on 15 August 1941.

Reported missing 17 February 1942 with fall of Singapore.

Interred as a POW by Japanese he spent three and a half years in captivity.

Returned to Australia in 'Esperence Bay' on 9 October 1945.

Awarded Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) on 30 August 1946 for exceptional gallantry at Gemas, Malaya on 16 January 1942 during the fall of Singapore. In the face of an overwhelming enemy force he was the last man to leave the battlefield, repeatedly assisting wounded personnel whilst under heavy small arms and mortar fire at close range. He showed exceptional courage and devotion to duty under heavy enemy fire.

Whilst held as a POW he designed and constructed numerous artificial/prosthetic limbs made from scrap materials (aircraft and other waste mechanical parts) for soldiers with amputations.