Jack Wong Sue was awarded the Army DCM (Distinguished
Conduct Medal) but was a RAAF man. Very unusual. What is more
intriguing is that only 2 RAAF men were awarded the DCM and Dad
is the only one alive today.
Tell a little about that, and why was it important to
write your story?
As a Z Man, I was prohibited to speak or write about these events
for many years. The Australian Security Regulations prevented
us from speaking out and any talk about the Sandakan Death marches
was strictly taboo until a few years ago when certain securities
Having suffered a stroke following bypass surgery, I decided to
write it otherwise it would go to the grave with me. I feel that
it was important for young Australians to know what happened and
what price was paid for them to have freedom as they know it today.
Tell a little about your self, and growing up in Pearth
- and how you first got involved with the Merchant Marines at
I was born in Perth Western Australia on the
12th September 1925 into a well entrenched 'White Australia Policy'
of 24 years. This policy was an Australian Parliamentary Act where
Asian nationalities were unwelcome in Australia. Racial discrimination
was normality to almost all races except Caucasion (white skinned
One day, I was delivered a 'white feather' (symbol
of cowardice) which deeply offended me for I have always considered
myself as Australian as the next. So deep were my emotions at
that time, I put my age up 2 years, forged my parents signatures
to join the Norwegian merchant navy.
How did you get involved with the "Z Forces".
and mention a little about your training.
Having been rejected by the Australian Navy because
my father was a Chinese, I joined the Royal Australian Air Force
as a member of the newly formed Air Sea Rescue Crash Boats. Within
a few months, I was invited to join secret intelligence - better
known today as 'Z Special Force'. Initial jungle training was
conducted at Fraser Island - advanced jungle training was conducted
at Cairns in Queensland.
How would you describe the work of you and your unit
Clandestine warfare with guerilla units (Chinese, Malaysian and
other locals) destroying the enemy fighting machine behind their
Your description of the crucified Australian at the start
of the book is a vivd part. Tell a little about the significance
of that incident and what it mean to you.
It vividly demonstrated the beastiality of the (Japanese) enemy
we were fighting. The fact that the Japanese were content to force
march Australian and English POW more than 165 miles through thick
mud and almost impenetrable jungle ranging from sea level to 7000
feet AMSL indicated their determination to eradicate their own
Why was it important for you to return to Borneo? How
did it feel retracing your path, and meeting some of the people
you knew from the war years?
The feeling of meeting former guerillas and their grown up families
was tremendous however, it must be born in mind that my sole purpose
was to locate the Bongawan Railway Station Master Ho Ah Lee before
death claimed him. I felt I had to apologise for the severity
of the threats I made to him if he did not comply with my orders.
The bonds of comradeship and serving together,
particularly more so as we operated in small parties (AGAS 1 represented
7 men when we left the USS Submarine 'TUNA').
Why is it so important we do not forget the horrors of
POWs and brutality you witnessed?
Because this is basically the first history written by an Because
this is basically the first history written by an eye witness
as opposed to armchair historians.eye witness as opposed to armchair
What is your greatest wish for future generations, or
a lesson to pass on that has stuck with you from your memorable
That the children of World War Two Servicemen whether American,
British or Australian, never lose sight of the great price paid
for their freedom by their fathers. My second wish is that the
youth of Japan never follow the footsteps of their beastial canabilistic
Samurai and Bushido ancestors.
What advice would you have for other WWII veterans, who
haven't written 'their' story yet?
I urge them to do so without further delay.
Thank you for the interivew Mr. Sue
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