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August 18, 2020

Frederick Lewis

Commander – Royal Australian Navy

“I had a love of the Navy and a strong sense of patriotism.”

 

Frederick Lewis enlisted in the Royal Australian Navy during World War II, beginning a career in the services that would span 35 years. “I felt it was my duty. I had a love of the Navy and a strong sense of patriotism,” said Frederick. “I pledged to faithfully serve my Queen and country.”

Frederick completed his initial training and was shore based in New Guinea nearing the end of the Pacific War.

I was not involved in combat as such. We were flushing out stragglers from the main conflict. Japanese numbers were small by then and although there was an element of danger there was no fear of being killed at that time. We picked up the stragglers to bring them by ship to the mainland. We held the Japanese prisoners on the open deck at the stern of the ship with sentries guarding them day and night. We ended up with about 15 prisoners. They were exposed to the elements and bedded down roughly on the quarterdeck with blankets and pillows. They had to endure this for about three or four months. The Japanese were our enemies at the time and we had rather a dislike for them. To us the Japanese seemed like a reasonably cruel people. We felt some hatred towards them because of the atrocities of war, but we didn’t harm them. We certainly had the prisoners under control on the ship and rather than harm them we developed some sympathy towards them.”

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