Research & Articles by Lt. Col. Peter Winstanley OAM RFD (Retired), JP
Research, Interviews and Articles about the Prisoners Of War of the Japanese who built the Burma to Thailand railway during world war two. Focusing on the doctors and medical staff among the prisoners. Also organised trips to Thailand twice a year.
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George Albert Moser
Born London, England October 27 1908: Died Kenilworth, Cambridge, England April 21 1980

23 JAVA STREET, Kuala Lumpur

NUMBER: 6969

1941 – 1945

Repatriated to Perth Western Australia
Departed Singapore on 15.10.194545
Arrived Fremantle 26.10.45 - the day before his birthday!
On board the SS “MORETON BAY”

The steamer “Moreton Bay” was launched on 13th April 1921 in Liverpool.
In 1941 was converted to a Troopship.
In 1945 she was converted to a Hospital Ship.

On the 13th April 1957 she was scrapped at Barrow.

George Albert Moser was my father. Born in London in 1908 he died Kenilworth England 1980. He was senior officer for the Employers Liability Assurance Corporation, William Jacks and Co (Malaya) Ltd, 23 Java Street, Kuala Lumpur and post-war returned to Singapore with the same company.

He joined the Federated Malay States Volunteer Force, 3rd Field Ambulance, which was mobilized on December 1st 1941. His rank was Sergeant, later becoming Company Sergeant Major. His Number was 6969.

The Unit, at that time, comprised: Lieutenant Colonel Dr GF West, Commanding Officer (known as “Paddy”), Major Coutts-Mine, Second in Command,
Captain Robert Hardie, Medical Officer (I believe he brought me into this world!),
Captains: MacIntosh, Emery, J. Mitchell, Kandiah and Abbas.
Lieutenants: L. Turner,and J. Daly (QM) died Chungkai 14th May 1944
Sergeant Major: A. Robertson
Sergeants: Dick, Dunk, and Moser

December 1941 Unit mobilised
2 Unit moved from the rifle range to Camp Hospital, Circular Road, KL
14 Collection of casualties from Japanese air raid on Ipoh aerodrome

January 1942
2 West wounded and sent to Camp Hospital KL
9 Unit provided transport to move wounded from the hospital to ambulance trains
11 Japanese took KL. Unit moved to Port Dixon and on to Johore
13 Unit moved to Singapore – St Patrick’s School, East Coast Road
Dr. Hardie MO in charge of a “composite FMSVF Force depot battalion”. Some of the men were deployed into other regiments and the remainder of the original force was then moved to Telok Paku
14 Moved to Sultan of Trengganau’s Palace
17 Moved to Nan Yang’s Girls School
24 - 30 School turned into hospital

February 1942
11 Fire started in the hospital. All cases transferred to the General Hospital. Unit moved to St. Joseph’s Institute where they joined the No.1 Clearing Station
CO Lieutenant Colonel John Wright Malcolm RAMC
15 Singapore fell into Japanese hands.
17 European members civilians were moved to the civil prison at Changi.
The wounded were moved to Robert’s Barracks, Changi POW Camp under the command of Colonel Glyn White of the Australian Army Medical Corps

Between March and May 1942
Moved to Blakang Mati Island. British CO Major W. Smith (FMSVF)
CO Major Douglas Oakley 2/8 Battalion (Australian Forces)
Medical Officers; Captain J. Mitchell (FMSVF) and Captain Horace Tucker (Australian Forces)

Sometime before June 1943
Chronically ill men were returned, from Blakang Mati, to Changi and were replaced on the island by “well” men from Changi. I assume my father was one of the chronically ill but this didn’t preclude him from becoming part of “K” Force.

June 1943
24 K & L Forces left Changi for Ban Pong travelling overland
Here, they were split into many smaller units to work along the railway and therefore did not exist as one Force after arriving in Thailand. However, my father and 2 friends, original members of the 3rd Field Ambulance FMSVF, remained together; Sergeant C.F. Dunk and Private J.T.Dunk. The Unit became part of a Japanese Medical Force called “Kudo Butai” under a Major Kudo

Once they left here the men of “K” Force seem to have disappeared into thin air as nothing, that I can find, is recorded about their movements as a group. However, it does seem that “K” and “L” Forces spent time working as one Force at various times. Much of my father’s movements are gleaned from readings and flashes of memory that I have from things that he said, not to me in particular but to others when I was present. I was often sent from the room presumably because I was considered too young to hear the stories

October 1943 – August 1944
Moved to Kanburi and helped build and establish the ‘hospital’.

August 1944 - early April 1945
Worked in Coolie camps along the Bankok – Moulmein railway

April 1945 – September 1945
Seemed to be between camps at Tamuan, Prachai, and Takri.

August 1945
Recovered by British RAPWI and sent to Bangkok. They returned to Changi overland

October 15th 1945
My father was repatriated to Australia on board the SS “Moreton Bay” arriving at Fremantle on the 26th, the day before his birthday!

The story of the capture of KL and the fall of Singapore is well known.
My father’s journey through the war is unconfirmed although I do know that he was part of “K” Force that left Changi on June 24th 1943 for Ban Pong under the command of CO Major E.E.D. Crawford JVE, Johore Volunteers attached to RAMC.
My father, as with so many of the returned men, didn’t talk much about his experiences but I do remember him talking about Kanchanaburi. It seems to be here that he met up with a particular group of Australians with whom he developed a close, and with some, a lasting, relationship and huge regard. From the 17th January to May 21st 1944 he was with Dr “Weary” Dunlop. He seems to have re-connected with Dr. Robert Hardie from March 1st to June 6th in the same year at Chungkai. There was an English doctor, Major Alexander Dunlop, RAMC who was Senior Medical Officer at Changi and Hospital Registrar, Chungkai, 1945. My father talked of both having known Alexander (Alec) at Changi. In all the reading I have done no mention is made of “K” Force being specifically at Chungkai and yet this is one of the places he mentioned that is clear in my memory.

Childhood memories. The first Christmas after the war I can remember my father being quiet and rather teary. He was remembering a specific Christmas on the “Line” when there was an “incredible concert.” I can only assume this was 1944 at Chungkai. His best mate, whose name I cannot recall, died this Christmas having deteriorated very quickly. I think he was Australian because my father called me “Bluey” because I reminded him of his Mate. Why, I don’t know because I am definitely female! Another question I should have asked.

I have a gold sovereign (given to my mother on her 21st birthday by her parents) and my father’s Longines watch that he kept with him during the war. He pawned these for money/food and got them back when it was all over. I can only assume this was Boon Pong. I also have a copy of Shakespeare’s ‘The Merry Wives of Windsor’ that he kept with him, a prize from Dulwich College where he was a student. I also have a Japanese $100 and a $10.00 note, which I assume were part of his pay at some stage.

He talked of eating snake that tasted ‘just like chicken’ and of floods that washed their huts and beds away and left everything covered in mud.

His dreams were scary because he used to shout out and thrash around. He also would, quite suddenly, become ill, sweating, agitated and violent. I was told to just “go away and be quiet, he would be all right in a minute” – they were long minutes.
When we went swimming I noticed red wheals across his back and he had a squashed thumb and fingers on his left hand. I didn’t ask. He always ‘came good’ and was fun to be with.

There are a few names I come across in my readings that I recognize as people we had known pre-war and were to meet again post war when the families returned to Malaya to “pick up the pieces”. I have photos of these people kept by my mother.

My mother and I had “got away” from Singapore at the last moment as all hell was breaking loose and arrived in Fremantle Western Australia.
We had very little. The Australian Red Cross and people who were to become friends helped us out until mother was able to arrange finances from England.

I can remember meeting my father at Fremantle after the war. At first my mother didn’t recognize him.He walked past us several times and eventually said “Marshi” is that you? – it’s me, George”. Mother burst into tears; I hid behind her skirts terrified of this person who looked like a walking skeleton. (He weighed 4stone 6 lbs) He had a kit bag with a change of clothes and a teddy bear for me – which I treasured and still do some 60 years later! Father spent some time in Hollywood Hospital before finally joining us at the flat in Broadway, Nedlands.
I wonder where the teddy came from – never asked and how I wish that I had. I wish I had had the opportunity to spend more time with him and maybe share some of his pain. It was not to be. I am left with so many unanswered questions.

Article provided by Mrs Laurie Maddison daughter of George Moser. If you have any information you may like to contact her.


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