William Robert Reynold’s original military records did not survive the war as they were probably destroyed when the Japanese invaded New Britain in January 1942. It is known that he became a prisoner of war of the Japanese. His archive records appear to have been reconstructed after the war and it may be that as he was a member of the New Guinea Volunteer Rifles before the invasion he most likely played a role in the defence of Rabaul and consequently was given Australian Imperial Force status.
Rifleman William Robert Reynolds, the son of John Arthur Reynolds and Ada Reynolds (nee Keag), was born on 28 November 1920. He was educated at the Toowoomba Grammar School. He was enlisted into the Australian Imperial Force in the Territory of New Guinea on 21st January 1942 and allotted the regimental number of NGX480. His service records show that he had previously served in the New Guinea Volunteer Rifles with the regimental number of NG4019. His next of kin was shown as his father, Mr John Arthur Reynolds, Civil Servant, Public Works Department, Rabaul.
Rifleman William Reynolds became a prisoner of war when captured by the Japanese when the Allied Forces defending Rabaul were overcome on 22nd January 1942. He was initially reported as missing in action on 22nd January 1942. He is known to have died whilst being transported to Hainan off southern China as a prisoner of war on board the “Montevideo Maru” which was sunk by an American submarine off the Philippine Coast on 1st July 1942. The Japanese transport, carrying approximately 1050 service personnel and approximately 200 civilians, had sailed unescorted from Rabaul on 22nd June 1942 and was sunk by the United States submarine “U.S.S. Sturgeon” off the coast of Luzon in the Philippines. All prisoners died when the ship sank. At the time of his death William Reynolds was 21 years of age. He has no known grave therefore his name appears on the Rabaul Memorial, Rabaul, East New Britain, Papua New Guinea. For his service during World War 2 he had entitlement to the 1939/1945 Star, the Pacific Star, the War Medal and the Australian Service Medal 1939/1945. His name is commemorated on Panel No. 72 at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and locally on the Toowoomba Grammar School World War 2 Honour Board.
It would appear that his mother, Mrs Ada Reynolds, 22 Murdoch Street, Cremorne, New South Wales, was notified of his death on 18th October 1945 after the conclusion of the war when the news of the sinking of the “Montevideo Maru” became known.
Toowoomba Grammar School archive records show that he enrolled as a day student on 30th January 1934 and left the School on 4th December 1936. His parent was shown as Mr J.A. Reynolds of Toowoomba. He was an extension scholar and passed the Junior examination in eight subjects.
Australian War Memorial Honour Roll