Saturday, June 8, 2013

Sepia Saturday: Army hospital


WW1, a kitchen on a hospital train, nurses, cooks, pots and pans. I'm looking forward to reading the other blogs for this week's theme on Sepia Saturday, but I'm going to write about WW2 hospitals (and not a train in sight).

Have you heard of a place called Tarakan? Or Morotai?

Both are islands in the Indonesian archipelago and in WW2 and both were held by the Japanese until battles late in the war secured them as bases for the Australian and American forces. I had heard of Morotai because my father was on Morotai with the Australian Army until he was hopitalised there with a tropical skin condition and then sent home. I had never heard of Tarakan.

But then an album of photos came my way, small photos taken by an Australian soldier while he was serving in Morotai and Tarakan in WW2. We aren't sure who the soldier was but I have now scanned all the photos and added them to my online Flickr album and the associated National Library of Australia's group called Trove. Maybe we'll find out for sure who the photographer was one day.

I was interested to see that there was a photo of a hospital at Tarakan and also Morotai. I showed my dad but he said he couldn't remember what the hospital looked like but he did remember almost falling out of the ambulance because he had a high fever!

Hospital, Tarakan, WW2
Army Hospital and ambulance on Morotai, WW2

14 comments:

  1. Seeing these photos and hearing your dad's story makes me realize just how much world was involved in World War II.

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  2. I am glad that your dad came home safely from the war. Did he tell you many stories?

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    1. Lots of stories but all light-hearted. He didn't talk about the serious side of war.

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  3. Morotai looks quite an attractive place to be. Maybe it was as I just read...."The last Japanese holdout from the war, Private Teruo Nakamura, was discovered by the Indonesian Air Force on Morotai, and surrendered to a search patrol on December 18, 1974"...!

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  4. Tarakan airfield was on the board game "Air Charter" which I played as a kid.

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  5. Those are important historical records. I will have to look those places up in my atlas.

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    1. There was an oil field on Tarakan so it was important for fuel supplies.

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  6. I'm glad the album came into hands like yours - that treasured them and shared them.

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  7. You did a great job of scanning those pictures in the unknown soldier's album. By viewing your Flickr album we were treated to a picture of a train after all! That small goods train with the children clambering over it would make a great Sepia Saturday prompt.

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    1. Ha, Yes I was tempted to put that train photo in.

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  8. A fascinating story and it told me about an area of war I knew nothing about.

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  9. While it looks more exotic in Morotai,
    the one in Tarakan seems more legit.
    I wonder, surely they kept records of the patients they treated...
    :)~
    HUGZ

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  10. I hadn't heard of either place but was aware of the terrible coditions in the area. Well done for rescuing the photos.

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  11. Its Interesting That your Dad didn't talk about the War in detail.Very Common reaction I think.Neither my Dad nor Uncle did either.I,m glad he came back safe.

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I love to read your comments. Thankyou for your interest.

Lorraine