In 2003 I retired having worked for 6 years in the Bank of New South Wales, 27 years in the Reserve Bank and the last 15 years of my working life as the Associate to 2 Supreme Court Judges and a Royal Commissioner. I had 36 years in the CMF (Citizen Military Forces) and the Army Reserve, commencing as a private in National Service and retiring as a Lt Col (RAAMC) in 1994.
My interest in the Burma/Thailand Railway, started when I read a book called "Soldier Surgeon in Malaya" by Thomas Hamilton, Commanding Officer (CO) 2/4 Casualty Clearing Station (CCS) and later Senior Medical Officer (SMO) of A Force, which was in Burma. In 1991, when visiting a friend who was the Defence Attache in Bangkok, I walked through Hellfire Pass with him and was moved by the experience.
I subsequently became involved with two ex POWs who had been taking groups to the Railway for many years. These gentlemen were members of Dunlop Force who understandably were devoted to the "Dunlop" story. As a consequence, I too was initially inculcated with the same attitude. However, having personally interviewed POW Doctors Rowley Richards, Claude Anderson (both A Force) and Vic Brand, Peter Hendry and Lloyd Cahill (all F Force), I realized that there were many Medical Officers who did as much and, possibly, more than "Weary" Dunlop. Additionally, many Dental Officers, Medical Orderlies and Chaplains, all made their contribution to the care and welfare of the POWs.
In WA we have created the Burma Thailand Railway Memorial Association (Inc) (BTRMA). This is an organisation that will ensure that with the passage of time the story will continue to be told. Volunteers take tours to Thailand for Anzac Day. The tours, were originally centred around Hintock/Hellfire Pass and the Weary Dunlop story, hence the name "The Quiet Lion Tour". These Anzac Day Tours had been organized for over 30 years. I have been involved in 4 of these.
The Remembrance Day Tours, as distinct from the Anzac Day tours, were an initiative of the Defence Reserves Association (DRA) and their first Tour in 2001 was the first organized group to hold a Remembrance Day Service in Hellfire Pass. 2010 was the last DRA trip to Thailand for Remembrance Day. I have since been to Burma twice (see News). On the DRA tours we acknowledged many of the Medical Officers (Doctors) and, where possible, visited other POW campsites of significance.
Clarifying a matter. The Remembrance Day trips for the Defence Reserves Association started in 2001. Any surplus from our DRA trips has gone to the Defence Reserves Association WA. In all there have been 10 trips to Thailand. I have done 2 separate trips to Burma.
The research has involved travelling to all states of Australia, other than the Northern Territory and Tasmania, to interview ex POWs. I have also visited the Imperial War Museum in London, the National Archives in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. Visits have also been made to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and the National Archives in Perth and Canberra.
In 2015 The Australian War Memorial sought permission from me to Archive the website. I willingly gave permission to do this and the site is now archived in their PANDORA Australia's Web Archive. This site is part of the National Library.
The generosity of my webmaster, Trevor Lancaster, has been instrumental in maintaining this website and he deserves much credit for this.