Weary Dunlop's Experience as a Prisoner of War

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In The War Diaries of Weary Dunlop: Java and the Burma-Thailand Railway 1942-1945, Edward Dunlop talks about his experiences while serving as a senior medical officer.

Early Life and Education

In his family, Dunlop was the second of the two children and was born on 12 July 1907 (Dunlop). Dunlop obtained his medical and pharmaceutical qualifications while in Australia and acquired a strong work ethic. He served as a school cadet until 1929 when he left to pursue pharmacy studies.

World War II Service

However, during the World War II, military service saw him move from Australia to Jerusalem, North Africa, Greece and later Japan (Grey 41). It is important to note that it was while he was in Japan that Dunlop rose to the rank of a lieutenant-colonel of the Royal Australian Army Medical Corps.

Prisoner of War Experience

Dunlop highlights of his accounts as a prisoner-of-war during the World War II after capture by Japanese soldiers. At some point, he worked with Lt Colonel Gallegham with some soldiers under his command. The conflict between Lt Colonel Galleghan and Dunlop that ensued in 1943 saw him go to serve in the construction of the Burma-Thailand railway in Singapore (Kelly 76).

Heroism and Personal Survival

Dunlop narrates of how he risked his life given the brutality of the Japanese captors. Despite the fact that there were other medical officers captured during the time, Dunlop managed to become a hero given the inspiration of personal survival.

Return to Australia and Honorary Rank

In 1945, Dunlop returned to his home country, Australia, where he later received the Honorary Colonel rank. Earlier, Dunlop served at the Army Headquarters alongside Brigadier Blackburn. His goal was to obtain justice for his fellow counterparts who served as prisoners of war.

Works Cited

Dunlop, Edward. "The war diaries of Weary Dunlop: Java and the Burma-Thailand Railway, 1942–45." (1986). https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/accessing-records-at-the-memorial/findingaids/private/dunlop

Grey, Jeffrey. A military history of Australia. Cambridge University Press, 1999.

Kelly, Paul. The march of patriots: The struggle for modern Australia. Melbourne Univ. Publishing, 2009.

November 13, 2023

Life War

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