Richard William (Dick) LEFTWICH

LEFTWICH, Richard William

Service Number: QX5483
Enlisted: 30 May 1940, Enlisted at Kelvin Grove, Qld. To be employed as a Clerk.
Last Rank: Lance Corporal
Last Unit: 2nd/2nd Casualty Clearing Station
Born: Maryborough, Queensland, Australia, 22 February 1918
Home Town: Maryborough, Fraser Coast, Queensland
Schooling: Maryborough Grammar and High School, Queensland, Australia
Occupation: Railway Department Clerk
Died: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia , 27 January 2004, aged 85 years, cause of death not yet discovered
Cemetery: Queensland Garden Of Remembrance (Pinnaroo)
Memorials: Ballarat Australian Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial, Maryborough St. Paul's Anglican Church Book of Remembrance
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World War 2 Service

30 May 1940: Enlisted Australian Military Forces (WW2) , Private, QX5483, 2nd/2nd Casualty Clearing Station, Enlisted at Kelvin Grove, Qld. To be employed as a Clerk.
31 May 1940: Involvement Australian Military Forces (WW2) , Private, QX5483, 2nd/2nd Casualty Clearing Station, Taken on strength of 2/2 CCS as Clerk
14 Nov 1940: Embarked Australian Military Forces (WW2) , Private, QX5483, 2nd/2nd Casualty Clearing Station, Embarked in Sydney for the Middle East, per HMAT Orion
16 May 1941: Promoted Australian Military Forces (WW2) , Lance Corporal, 2nd/2nd Casualty Clearing Station
1 Feb 1942: Embarked Australian Military Forces (WW2) , Lance Corporal, QX5483, 2nd/2nd Casualty Clearing Station, Embarked in Middle East for Batavia, per HMAT Orcades
19 Feb 1942: Promoted Australian Military Forces (WW2) , Corporal, 2nd/2nd Casualty Clearing Station, Promoted upon arrival at Batavia (Java) and assigned as a member of Blackforce.
7 Mar 1942: Imprisoned Recorded as missing in action in Java, later confirmed as Prisoner of War
11 Jan 1946: Discharged Australian Military Forces (WW2) , Lance Corporal, QX5483, 2nd/2nd Casualty Clearing Station

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Biography contributed by Karan CAMPBELL-DAVIS

 

Born on 22nd February 1918 in Maryborough Queensland, Richard "Dick" William LEFTWICH was the only son of Richard William and Ada Gertrude (née BIRT) LEFTWICH.   He married June PONTI in St Paul's Church of England, Ipswich, on 10 November 1945.  He was employed as a Clerk with the Queensland Railway Department. 

In the course of his WW2 service with the 2nd Australian Imperial Force, Richard served as a Clerk, and later Medical Orderly (Australian Medical Corps), with the 2/2nd Casualty Clearing Station.   His Commanding Officer in this Unit was Lieutenant Colonel Ernest Edward "Weary" DUNLOP.

After their service in the Middle East, during which they treated casualties from the Siege of Tobruk, the 2/2nd CCS embarked for return to Australia on HMAT "Orcades", but were diverted to Java as part of "Blackforce", due to the advance of the Japanese Imperial Army.   

Following the Japanese invasion of Java, and after initially being reported as missing in action on 7th March 1942, Richard was later confirmed as having been captured by the enemy, and spent 3 and a half years in a Japanese Prisoner of War camp in Java, and subsequently Thailand.   His Unit treated those Australian POWs involved in the construction of the Thai-Burma Railway, under torturous conditions.

Richard was finally released from captivity on 20th August 1945, and spent 18 days in the 2/14th Australian General Hospital, then a further month in the 102nd Australian General Hospital recovering, prior to his discharge from the Army on 11th January 1946. 

 

Compiled by Karan CAMPBELL-DAVIS, from information contained in the Service Record, various newspaper articles on Trove, Ryerson Index, Qld BD&M, the Australian War Memorial and Volunteer War Memorial Australia websites. 

 

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