Uren Oswald

Name   Oswald Henry Uren Rank: Private

Number VX28803

Battalion 2/21 Infantry Battalion

Place of Birth   Fish Creek 17 July 1918

Next of Kin Edith Uren, his mother. He was the son of Richard Uren and husband of Ida Mary Uren. He married Ida Mary Owens in 1941 and she became his Next of Kin.

Date and place of enlistment

3 July 1940 at Caulfield

Location on enlistment   Fish Creek 

Occupation fruitier

Date and place of death

7 December 1943 aged 25 on Ambon Indonesia

Location of grave or memorial

He is buried in the Ambon War Cemetery and is on the memorial in Leongatha and the cenotaph in Fish Creek.

Relationship to Woorayl Shire

 In 1939 when Oswald enlisted in the militia he was recorded as being a fruitier of Meeniyan. After the war his parents, who were retired,  lived in Meeniyan. 

Military History

The 2/21st Battalion was formed on 11 July 1940 at Trawool in central Victoria as part of the 2nd AIF. Oswald was in this battalion from the start. The majority of the battalion’s initial intake of volunteers were Victorians. The battalion undertook basic training at Trawool until 23 September, then moved on foot to Bonegilla, a march of 235 kilometres completed by 4 October. At Bonegilla, the battalion participated in more complex training. The Australian government decided to keep the 23rd Brigade in Australia and deploy the battalions to the islands to Australia’s immediate north, Ambon, Timor and New Britain, if war with Japanese broke out. As part of this plan, the 2/21st was set to reinforce Dutch troops on Ambon if the Japanese attacked. Therefore the 2/21st Battalion was moved to Darwin as the chance of war with Japan increased.

The battalion began arriving in Darwin on 9 April 1941. Following the Japanese attack on Malaya on 8 December the battalion moved north, arriving on Ambon on 17 December as part of Gull Force. Gull Force consisted of the 2/21st Battalion supported by anti-tank artillery, engineers and other supporting arms with a combined strength of 1,100 men. Netherlands East Indies forces on Ambon numbered 2,600 men consisting of both Dutch and Indonesian troops. The small Australian and Dutch force totaling just 3,700 men was considered too small to defend Ambon. After much fighting the force eventually surrendered and the troops became prisoners of war

Oswald would have suffered from brutal treatment, lack of food and medical care.

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