Australian War Memorial photograph P02468.03 of Lance Sergeant Forbes John Monley.
Lance Sergeant Forbes John Monley, the son of John Monley and Florence Forbes Monley (nee Smith), was born at Brisbane in Queensland on 29th April 1918. He was educated at the Toowoomba Grammar School. At the age of 22 years and 2 months he voluntarily enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force at Kelvin Grove in Queensland on 19th July 1940 after swearing the statutory oath of allegiance. He had previously served in the Citizen Military Force in the 11th Field Brigade of the Royal Australian Artillery. At the time of his enlistment he was unmarried, employed as a Furniture Manufacturer at A.J. Smith, Annerley Road, South Brisbane and resided at 126 Ferndale Street, Annerley, Brisbane. His physical description at the time of enlistment was that he had brown hair and hazel eyes. He stated that he was of the Church of England religion. He gave his next of kin as his mother, Mrs Florence Forbes Butler, residing at 14 Annerley Road, South Brisbane.
Lance Sergeant Forbes Monley was allotted the regimental number of QX17015 and he joined the 2nd/10th Field Regiment at Redbank Camp on 20th July 1940. He was promoted to the rank of Acting Bombadier on 22nd July 1940. He was given sick leave during the period 11th August until 19th August 1940. He was hospitalised at the Camp Dressing Station at Redbank during the period 7th December until 14th December 1940. He was given sick leave during the period 14th December until 17th December 1940. He was granted pre-embarkation leave to farewell his family and finalize his personal affairs during the period 13th January until 20th January 1941 before movement overseas for service in the Australian Imperial Force. He was promoted to the rank of Lance Sergeant on 26th January 1941. His regiment left Redbank by rail transport on 1st February 1941 and proceeded to Sydney where on the following day it boarded His Majesty’s Transport “Queen Mary” for overseas service in South East Asia. He disembarked from the ship at Singapore on 18th February 1941.
Lance Sergeant Forbes Monley was admitted to the 10th Australian General Hospital in Malacca suffering from tinea on 24th March 1941 and he remained a patient at the hospital until 16th April 1941 when he re-joined his regiment. He was granted local leave during the period 20th November until 23rd November 1941. He became a prisoner of war of the Japanese when the Allied forces at Singapore surrendered on 15th February 1942 and was interned at Changi with the rest of his regiment. On 29th March 1943 he was sent to Borneo as a member of “E” Force to Kuching and later to Sandakan in Borneo.
Lance Sergeant Forbes Monley died on 22nd February 1945 during the 1st march from Sandakan to Ranau. The Japanese recorded that his death was the result of acute enteritis and that he died at Ranau No. 1 Camp and that he was buried in the first cemetery at Ranau 1 Camp. At the time of his death he was 26 years of age. After the war the Graves Registration Unit was unable to locate/identify his body therefore his name is commemorated on the Labuan Memorial to the missing. It was not until the war had ended that Lance Sergeant Forbes Monley’s next of kin were advised of his death on 4th October 1945.
Lance Sergeant Forbes Monley, for his service during World War 2, was awarded the 1939/945 Star, the Pacific Star, the War Medal and the Australian Service Medal 1939/1945. His name is commemorated on Panel No. 17 at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and locally on the Toowoomba Grammar School World War 2 Honour Board.
Toowoomba Grammar School archive records show that he enrolled as a student on 31st January 1934 and left the school on 1st April 1935.
A detailed history of the 2nd/10th Field Regiment in World War 2 is contained in Dr Bob Goodwin’s publication, “Mates and Memories”. 2nd/10th Field Regiment Association, Rochedale, Queensland. 1998. ISBN 0 646 22166 3.
A detailed history of the prisoners of war sent to Sandakan and the subsequent ‘death marches’ is contained in Lynette Ramsay Silver’s publication, “Sandakan – A Conspiracy of Silence”. Sally Milner Publishing. 2000. Isbn 1 86351 244 6.