BUTHERWAY, Jack Herbert, Pte, VX37645
(DOD 8 Jul 1945, Borneo)
Jack Herbert Butherway was born 20 November 1918 at Clifton Hill, the son of Thomas James and Florence Mary Butherway of Clifton Hill, younger brother to Harry (UK 1911) and Tom (1914). His father was a coach/car painter by trade however work must have been hard to find as the family moved shortly after Jack’s birth to Kinglake West where his father sought work as a labourer, then on to Whittlesea as a sawmill hand. By 1924 Thomas was painting coaches again, in Collingwood, and around 1930 the family moved and settled in Falkiner Street, Eltham where Thomas initially continued as a coach/car painter but by 1936 had set himself up as a printer.
Educated at Eltham High School, Jack played cricket with several local teams. In 1935, playing for Diamond Creek, Jack was the star performer. Only just left school, Jack took six wickets for nine runs. The Advertiser said, “This lad should develop into a fine cricketer.” Coincidentally, he was a cricketing and football mate of Theo Feldbauer, though on opposing teams, and suffered the same fate as Theo at Sandakan. He won the best bowling average in 1938 for Lower Plenty and was also caught and bowled by Theo Feldbauer for Research. His brother Tom Butherway was a star football player for Eltham.
Before enlisting, Jack worked at Jack O’ Lantern knitting mills in Richmond. His service file is currently not freely available from the National Archives, but we know he enlisted at Royal Park on 16 July 1940. Jack was assigned to the Australian Corps of Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, A.I.F., 2/4 Field Workshop. At a function arranged by the Badminton Club held in the Church of England Hall on 23 January 1941, Jack was guest of honour and was presented with a money belt on behalf of the members. He was posted to 22 Independent Brigade Group Ordnance Workshop Australian Army Ordnance Corps, his rank Craftsman, when Singapore fell on 15 February 1942. Jack’s father, Thomas, died early June 1942 not knowing his son’s true fate. Jack was listed as missing in July 1942 and a Prisoner of War in April 1943.
The Australian War Memorial advises Jack was one of over 2,000 Allied Prisoners of War (POW) held in the Sandakan POW camp in north Borneo, having been transferred there from Singapore as a part of B Force. The 1,494 POW’s that made up B Force, were transported from Changi on 7 July 1942, on board the tramp ship Ubi Maru, arriving in Sandakan Harbour on 18 July 1942. Jack ultimately died, only 26 years old, a prisoner of the Japanese on 8 July 1945, at Ranau Number 1 Jungle Camp (near Sinarut). It was recorded that he was buried at Ranau Number 2 Jungle Camp (First Cemetery, near Japanese hut, used from 11 June to about 9 July 1945). Although Jack died young, his elder brother Harry kept his memory alive till 101 and is buried in Eltham Cemetery.
Even before the end of the Second World War, the citizens of Eltham began to consider an appropriate form of memorial for those from the area who fought and died in the Second World War. In 1943 the Eltham Women’s Auxiliary raised funds for the construction of buildings to be established on land to be purchased for the proposed War Memorial. On March 27th, 1945, the Eltham District Progress Association called a meeting of local people who in turn set up and registered the Eltham War Memorial Trust Inc. As a focus for the purpose of the memorial, the newspaper notice read: –
“Those who have had a member of their family in the fighting services will want to see that the form of a memorial we are concerned with is the one which will be a constant reminder to us of those who fought for us and the little ones for whom they fought and died.”
Jack’s name is one of eleven listed on the Eltham Honour Roll (Second World War) located in the Eltham War Memorial Hall. Whist listed in order of rank; Jack was the last of the eleven from the Shire of Eltham who made that ultimate sacrifice for us, during the Second World War.
The following notices were published in the newspaper in memory of Jack.
The Age, Friday, 2 November 1945, p8
- BUTHERWAY. – To honour the memory of our pal, Jack, VX37645, 2/10th Ordnance Workshop, died P.O.W. in Borneo on July 8. – Inserted by the Eltham Cricket Club.
The Age, Saturday, 3 November 1945, p11
- BUTHERWAY. – VX37645, Jack, died P.O.W., in Borneo, July 8. A great pal, sadly missed. – Inserted by the Eltham Fire Brigade.
- BUTHERWAY. – VX37645, Jack, 2/10th Ord. Workshops, died July 8, P.O.W., Borneo. Not just to-day but every day in silence we will remember you, Jack – From all who worked with him at Jack O’Lantern.
- BUTHERWAY. – VX37645, Jack, 2/10 Ord. W’shop, died July 8, P.O.W., Borneo. – Inserted by his friend, Lillian.
The Argus, Saturday, 3 November 1945, p20
- BUTHERWAY. – VX37645 Jack, 2/10th Ord. Workshops, died July 8, P.O.W., Borneo. – Not just today, but every day, in silence we will remember you Jack. (From all who worked with him at Jack O’Lantern.)
Jack is remembered on Panel 29 of the Labuan Memorial in the Labuan War Cemetery. The Labuan War cemetery is located on the small island of Labuan (part of Sabah, Malaysia) in Brunei Bay, off the north-west coat of Borneo.
BUTHERWAY, Craftsman JACK HERBERT, VX.37645. A.I.F.
2/4 Fd. Wksp. Australian Corps of Elec. and Mech. Engineers
8th July 1945. Age 26.
Son of Thomas James and Florence Mary Butherway, of Eltham, Victoria.
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LEST WE FORGET
“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.”
ROLL OF HONOUR
Soldiers of the Shire of Eltham remembered on the Eltham Roll of Honour for their supreme sacrifice; located in the Eltham War Memorial Hall
- Australian War Memorial https://www.awm.gov.au/
- Commonwealth War Graves Commission https://www.cwgc.org/
- Electoral Roll Records via Ancestry.com
- Family history search , Births Deaths Marriages Victoria https://my.rio.bdm.vic.gov.au/efamily-history/-
- World War Two Nominal Roll, Department of Veteran Affairs, Australian Government https://nominal-rolls.dva.gov.au/ww2
- ELTHAM DISTRICT ASSOCIATION (1935, October 18). Advertiser (Hurstbridge, Vic. : 1922 – 1939), p. 5. Retrieved August 6, 2020, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article56840855
- Eltham PRESENTATION TO SOLDIER (1941, January 24). Eltham and Whittlesea Shires Advertiser (Vic. : 1940 – 1942), p. 4. Retrieved August 6, 2020, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article57493676
- Family Notices (1942, June 5). The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 – 1954), p. 5. Retrieved August 6, 2020, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article206821195
- Lemon, A. (2020). “Research notes on the men honoured at the WW2 Eltham War Memorial Buildings, Main Road Eltham.”
- Taylor, R. (1997). Butherway, Jack Herbert. Britain at War, Roll of Honour, Atrocities, Sandakan. Retrieved August 6, 2020 from https://www.roll-of-honour.org.uk/atrocities/sandakan/B/html/bu_database_39.htm
Read the stories of all the men from the Shire of Eltham who sacrificed their lives in the Second World War and to whom the Eltham War Memorial is dedicated.