Father John Rogers

Today we remember Army Chaplain, Father John Brendan Rogers. He was fortunate to narrowly escape the Sandakan Death March. About three months after war’s end, he was stopped in the street by a young woman desperately seeking news about her two brothers.

Father John Rogers — They’d never heard a thing, and this is … the war was over and done with. We were all home, and they’re looking for their brothers.

Father John Rogers audio file (MP4 23.89 MB)

Father John Rogers audio script

75th Anniversary of the End of the Second World War

Audio actuality

“Fellow Citizens, the War is over” — (The Hon J B Chifley, Prime Minister of Australia)

On the 75th Anniversary of the End of the Second World War, Australia remembers Army Chaplain, Father John Brendan Rogers.

He was fortunate to narrowly escape the Sandakan Death March, during which some 2,500 prisoners of war were systematically killed.

About three months after war’s end, he was stopped in the street by a young woman desperately seeking for news about her two brothers.

Father Rogers

She said, my two brothers were in 2/15th Regiment. And she said, “we’ve not heard anything about them.”

“Well”, I said, “your name?” And she’s told me something … “Nicholson.” I said, “Well, one Gerry and the other John?” She said, “That’s correct.”

I said, “They were both with me in Sandakan. And when I had to leave there, kicked out by the Japs, they were there. And what’s more, Gerry was my Batman.”

“Well, what’s happened to them?” I said, “They’re both dead.” Of course, it was traumatic for her. She burst into tears, and I think I did too.

And I think that was the thing that has impressed itself more on my mind than anything else. They’d never heard a thing, and this is … the war was over and done with. We were all home, and they’re looking for their brothers.

Saturday, August 15 marks the 75th Anniversary of the End of the Second World War. Let’s pay our respects to that amazing generation of Australians.

Open Arms — Veterans & Families Counselling provides free and confidential support for current and ex-serving ADF personnel and their families. Help is available 24/7 on 1800 011 046 (international: +61 1800 011 046 or +61 8 8241 4546) or visit OpenArms.gov.au
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