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PTe. Bernard Jenkins VX58934 - 2/40 Infantry Battalion

Trish Evans - the daughter of Private Bernard Jenkins - was four years old when her father died on Timor. Private Bernard Lawrence Jenkins VX58934 was in 4 Platoon (Carriers) of the 2/40 Infantry Battalion. Shortly after being captured, he died from his wounds and disease in Usapa Besar POW Camp on 27 March 1942.

After the war, the Catholic padre of the 2/40, Father Kennedy, wrote to Private Jenkins' parents to express his condolences, which the above photo illustrates. Also shown is a portrait of Father Kennedy and a family portrait of Private Jenkins with his young family. Trish is sitting on her father's knee.

The letter reads:

November 24 1945

Dear Mr. and Mrs Jenkins,

I fully realize how anxious you are to hear of anything concerning your son. I am very sorry that I have lost all records, and it is hard to remember all about each lad. It was hard to keep any documents hidden from the Japanese all the time.

You have every right to be proud of your son. He was a good lad in every way and well liked by all his mates.

Certainly his death was a great blow to you all but God was good to him. He died a good death, prepared to meet his Creator. He was spared many of the trials and suffering of later Prisoner of War life. Your son’s death is a great blow to you but in those dark moments always remember that he was a credit to you and that he died nobly doing his duty to his God and his country and is now safe in heaven saying a prayer for you his parents, Yours Sincerely,

Capt. John Phillip Kennedy

[VX52061 Roman Catholic Chaplain, 2/40 Infantry Battalion, Australian Imperial Forces]

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