Rae John

Name   John Cameron Rae       Rank: Private

Number   VX54665

Battalion   2/2nd Pioneer Battalion

Place of Birth. Glasgow Scotland 3 June 1907

Next of Kin Florence Rae, his wife. He was the son of John and Agnes Rae of Ellinbank.

Date and place of enlistment

1 May 1941 at Royal Park

Location on enlistment   Allambie 

Occupation farmer

Date and place of death

Killed in action on 4 March 1942 in Java Indonesia, aged 34

Location of grave or memorial

He has his name on the Singapore Memorial and on the honour roll in Warragul and the Leongatha Memorial.

Relationship to Woorayl Shire

 John lived and farmed in Allambie. He married Florence Paynter of Ellinbank in 1936 and they had five children.

Military History

The 2/2nd Pioneer Battalion was raised in May 1940 at Puckapunual. John would not have been part of the battalion when it sailed to the Middle East in April 1941.

John trained at Puckapunyal and other places in Australia before he embarked on the S S Orcades bound for Singapore. The British forces in Singapore surrendered on 15 February 1942 and the Orcades turned to Indonesia and finally landed at Batavia (Jakarta) later in February. The troops on the Orcades combined with Dutch forces and some other allies to defend Java against the Japanese. The Japanese landed on 28 February and by 8 March the Dutch surrendered. John was killed four days before the Dutch surrender. The Australians were reluctantly ordered to lay down their arms. The men in his battalion went on to become prisoners of war in Java, Changi, and the Burma Railway.

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