The Graves at Muntok

In the early 1960’s, Dutch authorities moved all their military and civilian graves to War Cemeteries in Java. The British and Australians, however, did not move their civilian graves, saying they had no duty of care for civilian dead. These graves, known as the ‘lost graves of Muntok’ were later built over by houses and a petrol station.

Muntok Graveyard Bamboo Coffin for web
An exposed bamboo coffin at the Muntok cemetery soon after the war

The coffins for the dead were crudely made out of bamboo and often too small to accommodate the entire body so the corpse had to be broken in places and made to fit. A list was maintained, perhaps by William McDougall, of the deaths of each male internee, the date of death, and cause of death. This list can be read HERE (<- PDF).

The Muntok Graves Plans
Muntok Graves2

Although the conditions were harsh, meticulous records were kept of where each individual was buried and as a result we have plans of the grave site which have allowed us to reconstruct approximately where many of the Australian, British, and other Commonwealth civilians were buried.

The above plan is slightly in accurate. The area marked ‘British Graves’ refers to where the Australian and British women civilians were buried. The British and Australian men were buried in the area above the women marked rows  1- 27  and columns A – I. This areas is shown in more detail on the plan below. The identities of those in the graves that are filled in on the plan below are known. Men's Graves at Muntock1A

The Men (based on the second plan above (click on the image to view in more detail)):

Plan of Muntok Graves

ROW INITIALS NAME AGE DATE of Death
D1 X X X
D2 AL Algernon Neville Laybourne  54 28/07/1944
D3 X X X
D4 X X X
D5 ME Michael Francis Enright 30/06/1945
D6 JC Sir John Bruce Stuart Campbell 14/10/1943
D7 GS G. C. Spandau 30/05/1944
D8 X X X
D9 LJ Leslie B.G. Jeffrey 52 02/05/1944
D10 GG George Basil Warburton Gray 62 12/02/1944
D11 X X X
D12 HW Hubert Victor Miles Woods 43 21/11/1943
D13 GH Geoffrey Holderness 45 28/05/1944
D14 RM Robert Wallace Morris 42 08/06/1944
D15 FF Frederick Fletcher 70 09/06/1944
D16 FL Frederick Lagharne Llewellyn 48 13/05/1944
D17 ?
D18 CA Charles John Arnold 70 09/06/1944
Rows D19-D27 we do not have records yet – Probably Dutch
E1 FB Frederick Victor Boswell 51 10/07/1944
E2 HH George Henry Hallam ? 18/07/1944
E3 JE John Samuel Evans 37 17/07/1944
E4 X X X
E5 WP Walter Penrice 47 20/07/1944
E6 DE Dr. David Richard Evans 60 30/07/1944
E7 CC Colin Douglas Campbell 53 02/08/1944
Rows E8-E10 we do not have records yet
E11 FB Francis Grainger Brown, 44 15/11/1944
E12 VP Vincent Bristow Pybus 57 11/11/1944
E13 RS Robert Stephenson 47 08/04/1945
E14 WV W. Vorlauf ? 05/02/1945
E15 DP Donald Frederick Pratt 37 01/05/1945
E16 JS James Henry Stanners 32 22/01/1945
E17 JA John C. H. Aitken 54 25/11/1944
E18 X X X X
E19 RM Riley Llewellyn Morgan 28 24/03/1945
E20 RS Reginald Joseph Strong* 55  21/02/1945
E21 JM John McGuffin ? 08/03/1945
E22 GB Gordon Burt 46 28/01/1945
E23 CA C. H. Adam ? 05/10/1944
E24 LB  Leslie Robert Blake 47 23/03/1945
E25 X X X X
E26 AW Alfred Herbert Wright 44 09/02/1945
E27 HZ Herbert Zimmerman 43 11/06/1944
F1 X X X X
F2 AW Albert Victor Wardle 47 04/01/1945
F3 RM Robert Meldrum 49 13/12/1944
F4 FT Frederick Thompson 36 27/11/1944
F5 X X X X
F6 GR Gordon Stanley Reis 55 02/11/1944
F7 HT Henry Stanley Tisshaw 56 24/11/1944
F8 X X X X
F9 WD Walter Pattison Douglas 55 23/11/1944
F10 RC Richard James Potter Clarke 56 19/11/1944
F11 TW Thomas Kinnear Wilson 53 22/11/1944
F12 HW Harry Leonard Watson 31 02/11/1944
F13 CJ Charles Martin Jenkin 51 17/11/1944
F14 X X X
F15 X X X
F16 CR C. G. Rebel ? 10/11/1944
F17 LB Lindsay Burn 58 14/11/1944
F18 X X X
F19 SM Stephenson Messenger 45 02/11/1944
F20 CG Cecil Reynold Grixoni 43 28/10/1844
F21 KD Kenneth Godfrey Arthur Dohoo 38 25/10/1944
F22 TB Thomas Burns 50 22/10/1944
F23 VC Vernon Rowe Conolly 49 17/10/1944
F24 X X X
F25 X X X
F26 JD John Gallagher Dominguez 65 11/09/1944
F27 RP Richard Henry Cozens Prior 61 15/08/1944
H20 EM E. H. M. Manden ? 23/07/1944
I27 ED E. A. M. Dumas ? 01/12/1944
Muntok Graves
The British and the Dutch graves. Gordon Burt is to the left of OMW (Okke Meinard Willem) Bekker. Directly behind Bekker is John McGuffin and then R. J. Strong. Behind Strong is C. R. Grixoni. Behind Burt is Thomas Burns.
Abandoned Graves at Muntok for web2
The Abandoned Civilian Internee Graves at Muntok

Remembering the Lost Graves of Muntok
The following is a list of British, Australian and New Zealand internees who died in Muntok and whose graves, unlike those of the Dutch civilians, were, for the most, not moved to Jakarta in the 1960’s.

The Australian nurses, who were military personnel, were moved to the Jakarta War Cemetery. In addition, the crew of the Empress of Asia, employees of Cable and Wireless, a small number of civilians who were in the police force or other services were moved to Java but the other people were not.

The vast majority of the following people remain buried in Muntok today with no named or identifiable graves. 

British and Australian Civilian Internee Women who died in Muntok and were buried first under trees near Kampong Menjelang, then moved to the Muntok town cemetery after WW2, and now believed to have been reburied in 3 communal graves in Muntok Catholic Cemetery in 1981.

(name/age/date of death)  33 graves (Some of those who died at Muntok were later moved to the war cemetery in Jakarta

Mrs Theresia ‘Resie’ Armstrong (51), 7 February 1945
Miss Dixie Armstrong (32), 5 April 1945
Mrs Mary Awmack Battensby (51), 11 February 1945
Mrs Edith Florence Bedell (65), 19 January 1945
Mrs Mary Elizabeth Brown (67), 17 January 1945
Mrs Edith Evangeline Castle (50), 19 November 1944
Mrs. Marjorie Hindhaugh Cocke (53), 5 March 1945 [Not all the lists indicate where Marjorie died but one states at Muntok]
Mrs Mary Louise Day (53), 16 December 1944
Ms. Ruth Hannah Dickson (50), 24 December 1944. Grave moved to Jakarta War Cemetery (DWC-1 Plot 5 Row H Row 7).
Mrs Helen Dixey (48), 28 February 1945
Mrs Agnes Gertrude Dominguez (63), 9 November 1944
Miss Dora Shirley Gardam (AANS) (34) 4 April 1945 (Grave moved to Jakarta War Cemetery)
Mrs Marjory Gray (55), 13 January 1945
Mrs Muriel Gregory (43), 5 November 1944
Mrs Rena Rosie Haynes (49), 10 January 1945
Mrs. Pauline Blanche Hempsted (36),  19 March 1945 (Grave moved to Jakarta War Cemetery DWC-1  Plot 5 Row 6  Grave 5)
Mrs Kathleen Mary Hutchings (46), 12 April 1945
Mrs Blanche Lucy Jones (58), 8 December 1944
Miss Sabine Elizabeth Mackintosh (57), 27 December 1944
Mrs Dorothy MacLeod (59), 1 April 1945
Mrs Joan May Maddams (36), 19 December 1944
Mrs Evelyn Mary Parr (38), 11 January 1945
Mrs Olga Mary Neubronner (39) 2 March 1945 (Grave moved to Jakarta)
Mrs Isobel Veronica ‘Mo’ Pennefather (48), 15 March 1945
Mrs Sylvia Plummer (42), 19 November 1944
Miss Eva Prouse (49), 2 February 1945
Miss Wilhemina Rosalie Raymont (33) 8 February 1945. (Grave moved to Jakarta war cemetery DWC-1 Plot 5 Row F Grave 5.)
Mrs Lillian Rodrigues (46), 1 January 1945 Ruth Russell Roberts Grave at Muntok
Mrs Ruth Russell-Roberts (36), 20 January 1945 (shown right)
Mrs Claire Sammy von Salehn (52), 18 November 1944 (reburied Leuwigayah /Cimahi).
Mrs Amy Alexandra Mary Simmons, (30),  26 February 1945
Miss Irene Ada ‘Rene’ Singleton, (36), 20 February 1945 (Grave moved to Jakarta DWC-1 Plot 6 Row F Grave 6)
Mrs Louie Sinnatt (32), 23 February 1945
Mrs Esme Barbara Skinner (38), 27 March 1945
Mrs Emily Elizabeth Smith (72), 9 November 1944
Mrs Nellie Ellen Tay (40), 21 November 1944
Miss Lottie Regina Wales (48), 3 January 1945
Mrs Cevia Deitch Warman (25), 9 March 1942
Mrs Marion Galloway Langdon Williams (46), 7 February 1945
[Mrs Johanna Kobus the Dutch mother of Marie Reid and grandmother to the five Reid children. Johanna died on 18 February 1945. For details see the Reid family page here.]

British, Australian, and New Zealand Men who died in Muntok jail and were buried by their friends in the Muntok town (Dutch or Civil) cemetery. Their Graves were not moved by their governments and are now built over by houses. 55 graves

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The area today where many of the men were buried

Mr C. H. Adam, 5 October 1944
Mr Frederick Marshall Adam (38), 25 January 1945
Mr John C. H. Aitken (54), 25 November 1944
Mr Charles John Arnold (70), 9 June 1944 (Grave D18)
Mr Leslie Robert Blake (47), 23 February 1945 (Grave E24)
Mr F. V. Boswell (51), 10 July 1944 (Grave E1)
Mr Francis Grainger Brown (44), 5 November 1944 (Grave E11)
Mr Lindsay Burn (58), 8 November 1944
Mr Thomas Burns (50), 22 October 1944
Mr Gordon Burt O.B.E. (46), 28 January 1945
Mr Colin Douglas Campbell (53), 2 August 1944
Sir John Bruce Stuart Campbell (66), 14 October 1943 (Grave D6)
Mr Richard James Potter Clarke (56), 19 November 1944
Mr Vernon Rowe Conolly (49), 17 October 1944
Mr John Gallagher Dominguez (65), 11 September 1944
Mr Kenneth Godfrey Arthur Dohoo (38), 25 October 1944
Mr Walter Pattinson Douglas (55), 23 November 1944
Mr E. A. M. Dumas, Unknown, 1 December 1944
Mr Thomas Efford (59), 24 November 1944
Mr Michael Francis Enright (63), 24 January 1945 (Grave D5)
Mr David Richard Evans (60), 30 July 1944 (Grave E6)
Mr John Samuel Evans (37), 17 July 1944 (Grave E3)
Mr Frederick Fletcher (70), 9 June 1944 (Grave D15)
Mr George Basil Warburton Gray (62), 12 February 1944 (Grave D10)
Mr Cecil Reynold Grixoni (43), 28 October 1944
Mr George Henry Hallam, Unknown, 18 July 1944 (Grave E2)
Mr Geoffrey Holderness (45), 28 May 1944 (grave D13)
Mr Leslie Gordon B. Jeffrey (53), 2 May 1944 (Grave D9)
Mr Charles Martin Jenkin (51), 17 November 1944
Mr Algernon Neville Laybourne (54), 28 July 1944 (Grave D2)
Mr Frederick Langharne Llewellyn (48), 13 May 1944 (Grave D16)
Mr E. H. M. Manden, Unknown (23), July 1944
Mr John McGuffin (52), 8 March 1945
Mr Robert Meldrum (49), 13 December 1944 Sgt 529 JVE to 101 STS
Mr Jack Stephenson Messenger (45), 2 November 1944
Mr Riley Llewellyn Morgan (47), 20 July 1944 Major 2SSVF
Mr Robert Wallace Morris (42), 8 June 1944 (Grave D14)
Mr Walter Penrice (47), 20 July 1944 (Grave E5)
Mr Donald Frederick Pratt (37), 1 May 1945
Mr Richard Henry Cozens Prior (61), 15 August 1944
Mr Vincent Bristow Pybus (57), 11 November 1944
Mr C. G. Rebel, 10 November 1944
Mr Gordon Stanley Reis (55), 2 November 1944
Mr G. C. Spandaw, 30 May 1944 (Grave D7)
Mr James Henry Stanners (32), 22 January 1945
Mr Robert Stephenson (47), 8 April 1945
Mr Reginald Joseph Strong, (55), 21 February 1945 (Grave E20*)
Mr Frederick Thompson (36), 27 November 1944
Mr Henry Stanley Tisshaw (56), 24 November 1944
Mr W. Vorlauf, 54, 5 February 1945
Rev. Albert Victor Wardle (47), 4 January 1945
Mr Harry Leonard Watson (31), 2 November 1944
Mr Hubert Victor Miles Woods (43), 21 November 1943 (Grave D12)
Mr Thomas Kinnear Wilson (53), 22 November 1944
Mr Alfred Herbert Wright (44), 9 February 1945
Mr Herbert Zimmerman (43), 11 June 1944

Mr Vivian Gordon Bowden (57), Australia’s Official Representative to Singapore, killed by two Japanese guards outside the Muntok cinema, 17 February 1942. The exact site of his grave, dug by Mr Bowden, is not known.

We know the following also died at Muntok but do not appear on the list above:

LA NAUZE / LANAUZE, R. F. L. [Richard]. Died in captivity 28.7.44 [54] Muntok of beriberi.

NESFIELD, W. A. [William]  Died in captivity 2.8.44 [53] Muntok of latent beriberi.

R

STEVENS, Mrs Edith Christie.  Died in captivity 22.6.45 [65] Muntok.

* STRONG, R. J. [Reginald Joseph]. Died in captivity 21.2.45 [55] at Muntok, his grave does not appear on the original schematic plan indicating where each internee was buried. However, looking at the photograph of O.M.W. Bekker’s grave we can see that Gordon Burt (Row E Column 22) is two graves to the left of Strong in the same row (E). Thus Strong is in row E20 and we indicate that on the list above.

Bekker’s grave  obscures who is between Strong and Burt but the schematic plan tells us that it is John McGuffin (Row E Column 21). Also, looking at the photograph one can just make out CR Grixoni’s grave (Row F Column 20) .

TAYLOR A.J. [Arthur John]. Died in captivity 26.6.44 [50] Muntok. (Noted in Reis’s diary)

TICKLE, W. [William] ‘Bill’.  Died in captivity 15.9.44 [37] Muntok.

The Memorial Plaque placed on the Women’s Grave at the Catholic Cemetery – Muntok:

Muntok-Graves-Memorial-List-

SOME GRAVES WERE MOVED BUT MOST WERE NOT:

At some point in the 1960’s, some of the internees were moved,  if their employers moved them or if they had military sounding roles in the Volunteers. These included people who were on the crew of the Empress of Asia, members of Cable and Wireless (BBC) in Singapore, and a few members of the Volunteer forces. In the first two instances, their employers may have paid to have them moved and somehow in the chaos in the 1960’s (the Communist Emergency) a few Volunteers were also moved.

Some examples of persons who died and were buried at Muntok but who were later reinterred at Jakarta include:

Thomas Abraham Curran-Sharpe. He died on 4.2.45 aged 56 at Muntok. His wife also died at Muntok on 11.5.44 [57]. His grave today is at Jakarta.

George Oliver Roberts. Died on 16.6.44 aged 29 at Muntok of beriberi; later re interred at Jakarta War Cemetery.

Thomas Henry Roberts who died of beriberi on 25.6.44 [37] and was buried the same day at Muntok. His grave is today at Jakarta.

Ernest Henry Tunn who died of dysentery on 13.1.44 [57] and was buried the same day at Muntok. (Noted in Reis’s diary and by McDougall). After the war his grave was moved to Jakarta.

Abandoned Cemtery at Muntok 1968 for web
The Abandoned Civilian Cemetery at Muntok in 1968

The charter of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) allowed for the care of military graves and those who wore uniforms and who were in some style of forces, e.g. St. John’s Ambulance, the Police, etc. Why the CWGC only moved a very small number of Volunteers, no one knows. Margie Caldicott’s mother [Sehelagh (Brown) Lea] battled the CWGC for years to have the remaining graves cared for and later, when they were in disrepair, to have a memorial placed in Muntok.

At first, CWGC seemed somewhat interested but later, wrote to say that she would need to do it herself! As a former internee, whose Mother [Mary Brown] and so many friends had died and then herself married to a Minister in rural Canada, she had no resources to fund a memorial in far-off Indonesia in post-War days.

There is a folder of letters at the National Archives in Kew, UK from Margie’s Mother to the British Home Office etc. (with replies) asking for the Muntok graves to be cared for or for a memorial to be placed – both requests declined. There is another folder labelled Muntok graves with a cover but all correspondence inside is missing! One wonders ….

Margie’s description of the graves at Muntok can be read here. It is a real credit to Margie Caldicott and all involved today (2015) that a memorial plaque has finally been placed on a site at Muntok.

The Australian nurses, who were military personnel, were moved to the Jakarta War Cemetery. And as noted, the crew of the Empress of Asia, employees of Cable and Wireless, and a small number of civilians who were in the police force or other services were also moved to Java but the majority were not. As a result, the graves of those who were left behind began to deteriorate and the wooden crosses with their names and dates of death started to rot away. Soon the local population began to build over the grave yard.

Mango Tree at Muntok Graveyard
Mango Tree at Muntok Graveyard

Below, the graves of Colin Campbell and Gordon Reis showing their row and column numbers – E7 and F5 – respectively. They were buried close to where the Mango tree above now grows.

Grave of Colin Campbell died Muntok 1944

 

gordon stanley reis grave 150A

Muntok War Graves 9 November 1948

In 1981 the remains of 25 people were uncovered during the building of a Pertamina petrol station. On the first cemetery plan (above) this location is indicated as ‘British Graves’  – these remains were probably those of the women.

Petramina-petrol-station for web
Pertamina-petrol-station

After their disinterment, the remains were given to the local Catholic priest and re–buried in a group grave in the Muntok Catholic Cemetery. In 2005 a photograph was taken of the grave as shown below:

The grave at the Catholic cemtery

After funds were raised in 2015, the grave was repaired and a plaque listing the names of all those who had died at the Muntok camps was added as a ‘headstone’. In January 2016, a photograph was taken of the newly-restored grave by a nephew of one of the AANS (Kath Neuss)  who lost her life at Radji beach.

Catholic Cemetery Grave 1

On a visit in September 2015 Anthony Pratt (son of Donald Pratt [Row E15]) and David Man (grandson of Gordon Reis [Row F16])) looked at a plan of the graveyard held by Diane Whitehead. Behind, wearing a hat, is Judy Balcombe whose grandfather Colin Campbell was also buried at Muntok [Row E7].

Looking for the Graves at Muntok Man and Pratt