to perpetuate the memory and history of our dead
During the defense of Java, the main US contingent under the command of LTC Tharp, were part of what is termed the ‘Black Force’ under the overall command of Australian BG Arthur Blackburn. This defense force was cobbled together from fragments of Australian units. Many of the men from these units ended up as part of Groups 3, 4 & 5 who worked the TBR in Burma.

2/4 MG BN on Java
While the majority of the battalion was fighting on Singapore, a small detachment of 106 men were sent to Java. The majority of these were the 94 men that had failed to return in time from their unofficial leave in Fremantle. After missing their ship, they had been arrested by the military police and were confined to quarters in Karrakatta Camp for two weeks. On 30 January they were released and under the command of two officers and a small group of NCOs, they embarked upon Marella, which set out for Singapore via Palembang in Batavia, escorted by Canberra.
After reaching Tanjong Priok on 10 February, the detachment found itself placed under Dutch command and formed into a composite infantry company, within the reserve battalion of the ad hoc formation known as “Black Force”, which had been formed under Brigadier Arthur Blackburn. At the end of the month, having taken Sumatra, the Japanese invaded Java with three divisions and a strong naval task force. Fierce fighting at sea ensued, during which 14 out of a force of 18 Allied ships were sunk. Several Japanese transports were also sunk but the majority of Japanese troops were landed. The detachment from the 2/4th found itself around Buitenzorg, where the majority of the 2/4th personnel formed part of an ad hoc infantry force, known as the Reserve Group consisting of eight platoons, under Major John Champion de Crespigny. They fought several defensive actions before being overwhelmed and taken into captivity on 12 March 1942. A small number continued to fight as guerrillas but were eventually all captured. Some of the men were held in camps in Java and Sumatra, although the majority were later sent to Singapore before being transported to camps elsewhere in south-east Asia.

2/2 Pioneer

British AA Batteries:,_Royal_Artillery#Java

Australian Medical Staff:

Other Australian units:

A detailed description of medical issues is provided by COL (Dr.) F.J. Dillon of the Royal Indian Army Service with F-force:

Overview of AUS POWs:

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