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National Prisoner of War MemorialPrint Page Print this page

13-January-2016
13-January-2016

National Prisoner of War Memorial is dedicated to all Australian prisoners of War.

The memorial was originally the Roman Catholic Our Lady of Christians Chapel in Changi prisoner of war camp, Singapore. It was constructed in 1944 from scraps of wood and corrugated iron that the prisoners scrounged from many sources. It was designed and built by Lieutenant Hamish Cameron-Smith, an architect in civilian life who was serving in the Engineer Corp of the British Army. He was assisted by Lieutenant Hugh Simon-Thwaites, who after the war became a priest, and a band of volunteer labourers. In 1945 Corporal Max Lee of the Australian War Graves Registration Unit was sent to Changi to help dismantle the camp. He decided that the chapel should be saved. He drew plans, took measurements and carefully took the chapel apart. It was packed into gun boxes and sent to Australia. It remained in a storage shed at Duntroon for more than 40 years.

In 1988 the chapel was reassembled and located at Duntroon as a memorial to all Australian Prisoners of War. The restoration was carried out by the Royal Australian Engineer Corps and financed by public subscription. Some parts of the chapel are missing including the memorial plaque and four plaques inscribed with the names of four men who died in the camp. On the northern side of the grassed area in which the memorial stands is a signboard with photographs of the original chapel as it stood in Changi.

Location

Address:Miles Road, Royal Military College, Campbell, 2612
State:ACT
Area:AUS
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -35.296761
Long: 149.16721
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
View Google Map

Details

Monument Type:Structure
Monument Theme:Conflict
Sub-Theme:Multiple

Dedication

Actual Monument Dedication Date:Monday 15th August, 1988
Front Inscription

NATIONAL PRISONER OF WAR MEMORIAL
                        

                         DEDICATED TO
THE 35,000 AUSTRALIAN SERVICEMEN AND WOMEN
TAKEN PRISONER OF WAR IN THE FOLLOWING WARS:

WAR IN SOUTH AFRICA (BOER WAR)    1899 – 1902
WORLD WAR I                                           1914 – 1918
WORLD WAR II                                          1939 – 1945
KOREAN WAR                                           1950 – 1953
                        UNVEILED BY
          'A FORMER PRISONER OF WAR'
                ON 15 AUGUST 1988

Back Inscription

               CHANGI CHAPEL
THIS CHAPEL WAS ORIGINALLY CONSTRUCTED BY 
PRISONERS OF WAR IN CHANGI CAMP, 
SINGAPORE ISLAND, IN 1944.
ITS CONSTRUCTION WAS AN ACT OF ENDURING FAITH
IN THE MIDST OF EXTREME ADVERSITY.
AFTER THE WAR THE CHAPEL WAS
RETURNED TO AUSTRALIA FOR PRESERVATION.
IT WAS ERECTED ON THIS SITE AND
DEDICATED AS A NATIONAL MEMORIAL TO ALL 
AUSTRALIAN PRISONERS OF WAR ON 15 AUGUST 1988.

Funds For The Erection And Maintenance Of 
   This Memorial Were Provided By 
           Public Subscription.

Right Side Inscription

            IN MEMORY OF
AUSTRALIAN ARMY NURSING SISTERS
WHO BECAME PRISONERS OF WAR
AND ESPECIALLY THOSE WHO DID NOT RETURN
   "WE WILL REMEMBER THEM".

Source: MA,SKP
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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