Frederick Alfred OTWAY

OTWAY, Frederick Alfred

Service Number: WX12171
Enlisted: 2 May 1941, Claremont, Western Australia
Last Rank: Sergeant
Last Unit: 2nd/2nd Independent Company
Born: Pingelly, Western Australia, 3 September 1920
Home Town: Perth, Western Australia
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Painter
Died: Natural causes (stroke), Brisbane, Queensland, 3 April 2018, aged 97 years
Cemetery: Not yet discovered
Memorials:
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World War 2 Service

2 May 1941: Enlisted 2nd AIF WW 2, Private, SN WX12171, Claremont, Western Australia
1 Jan 1944: Involvement 2nd AIF WW 2, Sergeant, SN WX12171, "Z" Special Unit
11 Apr 1946: Discharged 2nd AIF WW 2, Sergeant, SN WX12171, 2nd/2nd Independent Company

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Biography

"...The other surviving second-second member, Fred Otway, said the news about his company's guerilla war provided a huge morale boost to Australia during its darkest hour. "When we made contact they didn't believe it, they thought we were all wiped out," he said. "[US General Douglas] MacArthur made us an object of morale to the rest of Australia. "This Japanese juggernaut had come through Hong Kong, Singapore, Ambon, they were unstoppable — here was a little group of Australians that stopped them.

"We were the only ones that stopped them. "Why were we so successful was we made friends with the natives." In August 1942, the Japanese launched an all-out offensive to wipe out the Australians but they took just three casualties. "We had to fight or die. They had us pretty well surrounded," Mr Otway said. "We only had 275 fighting men, the rest were sick, malaria, dysentery. We killed about 700-800 of them. "The reason the Japs pulled out [of the offensive was] because of so many casualties." - By The Australian's Paul Cleary - READ MORE LINK (www.abc.net.au)

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