Harry Nesbitt

‘I had to crawl home on my hands and knees.’

30 June 2020

Today we remember Harry Nesbitt, who was taken prisoner of war by the Japanese following the Battle of Singapore in February 1942.

Harry Nesbitt — I had to crawl home on my hands and knees.

Harry Nesbitt audio file (MP4 23.67 MB)

Harry Nesbitt 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 Harry Nesbitt, who was taken prisoner of war by the Japanese when Singapore fell in February of 1942.

Harry remembered one particular time his captors sent him out to work on the Burma-Thailand Railroad against doctor’s orders.

Harry Nesbitt

At Hintok, on the last camp that I actually worked on, I had been taken out of the hospital tent to go to work that day. And that was typical of what was happening — blokes with ulcers as big as teacups were made go out and work.

I was sent out to work when I could hardly walk. I had no skin left on the soles of my feet. Didn’t matter how sick or how hard you were working, it was never quick enough — it was always “Speedo, Speedo”.

And, when you got back to camp, they used to hold Tenko, which is actual roll-call. And I couldn’t walk home — I had to crawl home on my hands and knees. And they held all the rest of the working party there until I crawled into the camp, before they could make the roll-call complete.

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.