Letter written by Private Costley to his mother Bertha, Malaya 1941

Historical note: 

Private Rod Costley wrote this letter to his mother Bertha from Malaya in days before Christmas 1941. 34 year old Costley was a truck driver with 2/3rd Reserve Motor Transport Company. Costley and his mates were providing support for British and Indian troops as they fought their way back to Singapore in the face of an overwhelming Japanese force. In the letter Costly shares none of the tension and terror of enemy attack or dismay at the discomfort of his circumstances. 

Costley and over 400 men of the 2/3rd Res MT Coy made it to Singapore. From Singapore they were ordered to Java where they fought on until captured when the island fell in March 1942.

Pte Costley and his mates were sent to the Burma Thailand railway construction camps by their Japanese captors. They laboured in dangerous conditions with meagre rations under brutal guards. In August 1943 36 year old Pte Rodney Costley succumbed to disease and died in a camp by the railway in Burma. 

Category: 
Diaries and personal papers
Conflict: 
Second World War
Story: 
Private Rodney Marwood Costley
Production Date: 
December 1941

On this day

On this day
11 December

1899— 29 NSW LANCERS were part of a British force which suffered a heavy defeat at the hand of the BOERS at MAGERSFONTEIN, South Africa

1918—  HMAS BRISBANE arrived in Sevastopol, Russia, in support of White Russian forces fighting against revolutionary Bolshevik forces

1952— Operation FAUNA began in Korea. This action was planned to take prisoners to find out more about recently arrived Chinese troops and to destroy enemy trenches. It was 1RAR’s last action of the Korean War

1969— HMAS JEPARIT was commissioned into the RAN to transport stores and equipment to Vietnam. The bulk carrier had been the subject of ongoing union action since August 1966.