Well-known veteran mourned

World War II veteran Gordon Jamieson at Carinity Cedarbrook aged care in Mudgeeraba on the Gold Coast in 2020.

One of the last remaining survivors of the infamous Thai-Burma Railway has

passed away on the Gold Coast.

Gordon Jamieson, who lived at the Carinity Cedarbrook aged care community

at Mudgeeraba, died at the age of 102.

Gordon was a prisoner of war who laboured on the infamous Thai-Burma

Railway during World War II.

After fighting in the Malayan campaign with the Australian Army, Gordon was

captured by Japanese troops in 1942. He then spent almost four years as a

prisoner of war.

Held in Changi prison, he and other prisoners were forced to work up to 18

hours a day on construction of the Thai-Burma Railway, building

embankments, bridging creeks and digging cuttings with picks and shovels.

“On the completion of a strenuous day at work our boys would commence the

walk back to camp, several kilometres in pouring rain with little or no

footwear,” Gordon wrote.

“Then someone would start to sing a tune… and others would follow, and the

heads would be lifted proudly.

“The workforce had been reduced to one-third strength due to illness and

death, mostly caused from diseases and tropical ulcers resulting in limb

amputations.”

Around 16,000 prisoners of war, of which about 2,800 were Australian, died on

what was dubbed the ‘Death Railway’. Only five of Gordon’s small platoon of

16 soldiers survived the war.

Upon his return to Queensland following the war Gordon operated a café,

worked in a chicken abattoir, owned welding and tractor businesses, and

raised three children with his wife, Shirley.

Gordon also lobbied Australian and Japanese Governments for reparations for

prisoners of war and visited the set of the 2013 film The Railway Man, based

on the Thai-Burma Railway.

“My wartime experiences convinced me of the futility of war. The memories of

my war are not those of victorious battles or ignominious defeat, but of the

human spirit of our Australian soldiers,” Gordon wrote.

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