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
24 October

1942— Battle of EORA CREEK, New Guinea. Australian troops continued to drive the Japanese back along the KOKODA TRAIL but met heavy resistance at Eora Creek

1944— HMAS AUSTRALIA was escorted to Manus Island, New Guinea, for emergency repairs after being struck in a kamikaze aircraft attack in Leyte Gulf