Facts - Historical information regarding the 2/29th Battalion A.I.F.

Origin and Explanation of the Battalion Colour Patch and Battalion Motto

The original colour patch of the 29th Battalion was two vertical rectangular colours of BLACK and GOLD.

The GOLD signifies the Head Quarters of the 8th Australian Infantry Brigade.

The BLACK signifies that the 29th Battalion was the FIRST Battalion of the 8th Australian Infantry Brigade.

During the years intervening both wars, the 29th Battalion reverted to a Militia Unit and was reformed into the 4th Australian Infantry Brigade which was raised in Prahran in 1921. At formation, the Brigade consisted of the 14th, 22nd, 29th & 46th Battalions.

At the outbreak of WW2 the 2/29th Battalion was raised and became part of the 27th Infantry Brigade of the 9th Division together with the 2/26th & 2/30th Battalions. All three Battalions then transferred to the 8th Division during the period May - October 1940.

The colour patch of the 8th Division is a GREY OVAL.

The colour patch of the 2/29th Battalion is therefore a GREY OVAL background signifying it is part of the 8th Division together with the original BLACK and GOLD colours of the 29th Battalion.

The 2/29th Battalion is still therefore considered to be the FIRST Infantry Battalion of the 8th Division.

Meaning of the Battalion motto "NULLI SECUNDUS" is Latin for "SECOND TO NONE"- in other words "ALWAYS FIRST"

A justly proud Battalion with an equally proud motto.

Text by Gary Simmons

Australian Prisoners of War WWII – Prisoners of the Japanese

Over 22,000 Australians became prisoners of war of the Japanese in south-east Asia. The wave of Japanese victories ending with the capture of the Netherlands East Indies in March 1942 left in its wake a mass of Allied prisoners of war, including many Australians. Most of the Australians (14,972) were captured in Singapore; other principal Australian prisoner-of-war groups were captured in Java (2,736); Timor (1,137); Ambon (1,075) and New Britain (1,049). At the end of the war Australian prisoners of war were widely distributed: 5,549 on Singapore Island and in Johore (Malaya); 4,830 in Burma and Thailand; 265 in French-Indo China; 385 in Java; 243 in Sumatra; 100 in Ambon; 2 on Macassar; 7 on Bali; 150 at Kuching (British North Borneo); 2,700 distributed between Japan, Korea, and Manchuria and 200 on Hainan Island.

Dates when various prisoners-of-war left Changi Singapore and their destinations are listed below:



Below is a speech by Lieutenant Colonel Nagatomo of the Imperial Japanese Army. This was delivered at Thanbyuzayat, Burma on the 28th October 1942 to the Prisoners of War (POWs).

Lt Col Ngatomo was commander of the No3 branch Thailand POW administration in Burma. He was said to be small in stature, but large on self-importance and sarcasm

After the war, war crimes trials were held in Tokyo, Moratai and Singapore. Singapore was the venue for war crimes trials associated with the Burma Railway. Approx 120 Japanese and Korean personnel were charged for committing war crimes against POWs during the construction of the Railway.

LtCol Nagatomo was found guilty of crimes of inhumanity against POWs and hanged in Changi Gaol in 1946. Listed below is a copy of a speech he made to POWs.

"It is a great pleasure to me to see you at this place as I am appointed Chief of the war prisoners camp obedient to the Imperial Command issued by His Majesty the Emperor. The great East Asiatic war has broken out due to the rising of the East Asiatic Nations whose hearts were burnt with the desire to live and preserve their nations on account of the intrusion of the British and Americans for the past many years.

There is, therefore, no other reason for Japan to drive out the Anti-Asiatic powers of the arrogant and insolent British and Americans from East Asia in Co-operation with our neighbours of China and the other East Asiatic Nations and establish the Great East Co-Prosperity Sphere of all human beings and establish lasting great peace in the world. During the past few centuries, Nippon has made great sacrifices and extreme endeavours to become the leader of the East Asiatic Nations, who were mercilessly and pitifully treated by outside forced of the British and Americans, and the Nippon Army, without disgracing anybody, has been doing her best until now for fostering Nippon's real power.

You are only a few remaining skeletons after the invasion of the East Asia for the past few centuries, and are pitiful victims. It is not your fault, but until your government do not wake up from their dreams and discontinue their resistance, all of you will not be released. However, I shall not treat you badly for the sake of humanity as you have no fighting power left at all.

His Majesty the Emperor has been deeply anxious about all prisoners of war, and has ordered us to enable the operating of War Prisoner camps at almost all places in the south west) countries.

The Imperial Thoughts are inestimable and the Imperial Favours are infinite and, as such, you should weep with gratitude at the greatness of them. I shall correct to amend the misleading and improper Anti Japanese ideas. I shall meet with you hereafter and at the beginning I shall require of you the four following points:

(1) I heard that you complain about the insufficiency of various items. Although there may be lack of materials it is difficult to meet your requirements. Just turn your eyes to the present conditions of the world. It is entirely different from the pre-war times. In all lands and countries materials are considerably short and it is not easy to obtain even a small piece of cigarette and the present position is such that it is not possible even for needy women and children to get sufficient food. Needless to say, therefore, as such inconvenient places even our respectable Imperial Army is also not able to get mosquito nets, foodstuffs, medicines and cigarettes. As conditions are such, how can you expect me to treat you better that the Imperial Army? I do not prosecute according to my own wishes and it is not due to the expense but due to the shortage of materials at such difficult places. In spite of our wishes to met their requirements, I cannot do so with money. I shall supply you, however, if I can do so with my best efforts and I hope you will rely upon me and render your wishes before me. We will build the railway if we have to build it over the white man's body. It gives me great pleasure to have a fast-moving defeated nation in my power. You are merely rubble but I will not feel bad because it is your rulers. If you want anything you will have to come through me for same and there will be many of you who will not see your homes again. Work cheerfully at my command.

(2) I shall strictly manage all your going out, coming back, meeting with friends, communications. Possessions of money shall be limited, living manners, deportment, salutation, and attitude shall be strictly according to the rules of the Nippon Army, because it is only possible to manage you all, who are merely rabble, by the order of military regulations. By this time I shall issue separate pamphlets of the house rules of War prisoners and you are required to act strictly in accordance with these rules and you shall not infringe on them by any means.

(3) My biggest requirement from you is escape. The rules of escape shall naturally be severe. This rule may be quite useless and only binding to some of the war prisoners, but it is most important for all of you in management of the camp. You should, therefore, be contented accordingly. If there is a man here who has at least 1% of a chance of escape, we shall make him face the extreme penalty. If there is one foolish man who is trying to escape, he shall see big jungles towards the East which are impossible for communication. Towards the West he shall see boundless ocean and, above all, in the main points of the North, South, our Nippon Armies are guarding. You will easily understand the difficulty of complete escape. A few such cases of ill-omened matters which happened in Singapore (execution of over a thousand Chinese civilians) shall prove the above and you should not repeat such foolish things although is a lost chance after great embarrassment.

(4) Hereafter, I shall require all of you to work as nobly is permitted to do nothing and eat at the present. In addition, the Imperial Japanese have great work to promote at the places newly occupied by them, and this is an essential and important matter. At the time of such shortness of materials your lives are preserved by the military, and all of you must award them with your labour. By the hand of the Nippon Army Railway Construction Corps to connect Thailand and Burma, the work has started to the great interest of the world. There are deep jungles where no man ever came to clear them by cutting the trees. There are also countless difficulties and suffering, but you shall have the honour to join in the great work which was never done before, and you shall also do your best effort. I shall investigate and check carefully about your coming back, attendance so that all of you except those unable to work shall be taken out to labour. At the same time I shall expect all of you to work earnestly and confidently henceforth you shall be guided by this motto."

Y. Nagatomo Lieutenant Colonel
Nippon Expeditionary Force
Chief No. 3 Branch Thailand POW Administration

Speech by Colonel Nakamura to the POWs at Kanchanaburi, Thailand on the 26th of June 1943