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02-April-2011
02-April-2011

Photographs supplied by Glen Yeomans

The Plaque is dedicated to members of the 2nd / 21st Battalion who were prisoners of war on the islands of Ambon in Indonesia and Hainan, an island off the south coast of China, during the Second World War. The plaque location is indicated by the red poppy in the second image.

Gull Force lost 15 men killed during the defence of Ambon, and another 309 men at Laha who were either killed in action or murdered by the Japanese in mass executions which occurred on 6 February and between 15–20 February. Although several small parties managed to escape Ambon and return to Australia, at least 791 men of the former garrison were captured. The survivors subsequently went into captivity as prisoners of war for the remainder of the conflict. Conditions for the prisoners on Ambon were poor and they suffered the highest death rate of any group of Australian prisoners of war during the conflict. Meanwhile, some members of the battalion, including the majority of medical personnel were transferred by the Japanese to camps on Hainan Island in October 1942. Following the surrender of Japan in August 1945, the survivors began to be evacuated on 10 September 1945, with those on Hainan following two days later.

The battalion was disbanded later in 1945, having lost 661 dead and 12 wounded. 

Note: This plaque was dedicated on 1 May 2009 at a ceremony held at the Australian War Memorial. Note that the dedication ceremony for this plaque was rescheduled, and as such differs from the date as inscribed on the plaque.

Location

Address:Fairbairn & Limestone Avenues, Australian War Memorial Sculpture Garden, Campbell, 2612
State:ACT
Area:AUS
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -35.281167
Long: 149.148469
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Details

Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:Conflict
Sub-Theme:WW2

Dedication

Actual Monument Dedication Date:Friday 1st May, 2009
Front Inscription

GULL FORCE
1941 - 1945
AMBON   LAHA

To those units of Gull Force, comprising the 2/21st Australian Infantry Battalion, AIF, and supporting sub-units and detachments, who defended Ambon, notably in fighting around Laha.  We honour the bravery in the face of an overwhelming Japanese force and commemorate their suffering and sacrifice as prisoners of war on Ambon and Hainan.

LEST WE FORGET

Dedicated by Gull Force (2/22 Bn) Association on 20 March 2009

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