Name: Peter Paul Michael Gillen
Service Number: SX11641
Units Served: AASC 4th Reserve Motor Transport Company
Peter Paul Michael Gillen was born on the 29th July in 1897 at Clare. He was the son of Thomas Philip and Therese Gillen. He was a stonemason by trade before joining the Army.
Enlistment Details: He enlisted on the 5th March 1941 at Woodville, Adelaide. He had previously been enlisted as a Trooper in the 9th Light Horse.
Details about his role in War: He arrived in Singapore on 24th April, 1941. He spent time in Singapore and other parts of Malaya before being captured after the fall of Singapore in February 1942. He spent time in the notorious Changi Prison before being transferred to Sandakan in Borneo in July of 1942. He remained there until his death from malaria on 8th January 1945. Over 2400 prisoners of war died at Sandakan, many on forced death marches, while only 6 survived.
Age at Death: 47
Peter Paul Michael Gillen only had the opportunity to contact his family twice in the nearly 3 years that he was imprisoned, and the second time just before Christmas 1944, was a pre printed postcard that simply stated “Health good. No letters from home.” It was on December the 3rd 1945, almost 11 months after he died and 4 months after the end of the war that his parents were told of his fate. This was the same for the families of the other prisoners who died at Sandakan.