David Hinder was born in Summer Hill, Sydney 4 August 1910. His secondary education was at Shore Grammar School, Sydney from 1926 to 1928. He left school at 16 years with the intention of going on the land. Some years later he decided to study medicine. Following further study he went to Medical School and graduated in 1939. He was a big-framed man and was a good tennis player.
On 5 November 1940 after a year of residency at Royal Prince Alfred hospital he enlisted into the AIF and was allocated to the Australian Army Medical Corps. In September 1941 he moved to Singapore with the 2/13 Australian General Hospital and was later attached to the 2/19 Battalion. He was with that unit when capitulation took place on 15 February 1942.
In March 1943 Captain Hinder was one of six Australian Medical Officers who were sent to Thailand as part of “D” Force. The others were Major Alan Hazelton, Captains Dick Parker, Reg Wright, Phil Millard, Ian Duncan and a dentist Jim Finimore. “D” Force was a force of 5,000, made up of approx 2,800 British and 2,200 Australians. Within “D” Battalion he was allocated to “U” Battalion, which was commanded by Captain (Roaring Reg) Newton. “U” Battalion was moved through Kamburi (Kanchanaburi) north to Tarsao. It would be difficult to positively identify where David worked. “U” Battalion was worked along the line as far North as a camp called Rintin 180 Km up the line. It is said that “U” Batallion had a low mortality rate and this is attributed to the leadership of Captain Reg Newton and the care of the medical officer David Hinder and his team of medical orderlies. They were under the control of Hiromatsu Sojo (called “Tiger”). Hiromatsu was in charge of “U” Battalion and later also in command of POWs en route to Japan on board the “Byoki Maru”. The voyage took 70 days and is a story in itself.
When the line was finished it is known he was at a hospital camp Tamuang and it was here that the party of POWs going to Japan was assembled. It is also known that three medical officers of “D” Force went to Japan. They were David and Captains Dick Parker and Ian Duncan. In Japan he was in POW Camps at Yaminie and Nihama.
Jack Boon (2/20 Battalion) was with “D” Force. He remembers Captain Hinder doing two appendectomies. One was on a Jap. He also recalls one arm amputation. David may have worked with fellow POW Medical Officer Captain Dick Parker on the odd occasion.
Jim Elliott (2/4 Machine Gun Battalion) was also with “D” Force and also with David Hinder in Japan. Jim Elliott says, “ David Hinder managed to convince a Jap medical officer that I had pneumonia- told him this man will die if his chest is not drained. Two days later I was taken to a civilian hospital, where a tube was inserted into my back by a Japanese surgeon. Dr Hinder stood at the head of the operating table and comforted me. There was no anaesthetic. Back at camp, he visited me every day and examined my wound. He was on the same ship as me on the way home after the war and went out of his way to look me up and see if I had recovered.”
Frank Baker (2/20 Bn) was with David on the Burma Thailand Railway (D Force) and Japan. For part of the time Frank carried out medical orderly duties. Of David, he says “Very down to earth - matter of fact gentleman. Also witty.” Frank said David carried medical books with him and frequently referred to them when concerned about his patients. Frank was involved in the situation when the Jap commandant demoted David. (See detail in story by Charles Edwards below).
Charles Edwards (2/19 Bn) Charles is an unashamed fan of David Hinder and has been pressing me to write of this wonderful Medical Officer. When in Thailand “D” Force “U” Battalion was commanded by Captain (later Major) Reg Newton. The death rate in this battalion was less than most others. Charles attributes this to the Newton/Hinder team. He says this about David Hinder. “ He was a very good doctor and was affectionately called “Doc” by all who had cause to go to him, and that was just about everyone. The Jap in charge of their detail was Hiromatsu Sojo known as “Tiger” by the Prisoners. Charles recounts this incident in Thailand, “Doc had displeased Tiger over a trivial incident (details not recalled), so Tiger demoted Doc to Sergeant (banished him to work in the kitchen) and promoted medical Sergeant Frank Baker (see above) to Captain medical officer. This went on for about a week, when Tiger went to the Doc for a bit of minor surgery. Doc told him sergeants weren’t permitted to operate and told him to go and see Captain Baker. The ranks were immediately reversed.”
The following is an extract from the wonderful eulogy for
Captain David Hinder. -
Post war he did some time in General Practice then went into ophthalmology. He continued to work for his ex POWs and had filing cabinets at his home full of correspondence with the Veteran Affairs Department.
He passed away on 2 January 1989 aged 78 years.
Quote by David Hinder –“I am a forth generation Australian and I have never been so proud of being one, before and since, as I was when a POW of the Japanese, for as you know, our boys were on their own.”
Article written by Lt Col Peter Winstanley OAM RFD (Retired)