Digger's Story Book Extract - Bill Tucker

In March 1942, the survivors of the USS Houston and the HMAS Perth, both of which had been destroyed, joined the Australians British, Dutch and Indians at Changi. By then it was home to some 60,000 POWs. Digger met and made friends with quite a few of the Americans. (He explained)—

"I became friendly with Bill Tucker, who was a very personable guy. We spent a great deal of time thinking up schemes that we would implement in the United States when the war was over.

 ‘You come to the States, pal, and we will make a bundle,’ Bill used to say to me in his broad American accent.

We became great friends, and when he was called to join A Force in May 1942, we exchanged gifts as a token of our friendship. I gave him a vial of iodoform, a sure cure for tropical ulcers, and he gave me his belt buckle.

Unfortunately, Bill, strong as he was, succumbed to a tropical ulcer at 80 Kilo camp, south of Thanbyuzayat. I reckon he probably gave all the iodoform away to others suffering ulcers when really he needed it himself."

Many years after the war, Digger tried to trace Bill’s relatives to return his belt buckle, but he never found anyone who claimed to know him. So he did the best he could. He had the buckle silver-plated and engraved with both their names, and today it resides in the American National Prisoner of War Museum in Andersonville, Georgia.