SX15166 Private Jack Graham FRASER
Jack was born at Hamley Bridge (SA) on 1 June 1921, the eldest of five children of Norman Symon Albert FRASER and Lisette Dorothy FRASER (nee BROOKS). His family moved to Waitpinga in 1934 where they farmed new land. Jack was a trainee teacher at the time of his enlistment on 13 November 1941 in the 2nd AIF.
After basic training he joined the 2/10th Infantry Battalion as a reinforcement after it went ashore at Milne Bay (New Guinea) in August 1942. The fighting against the Japanese was bitter and costly and the Battalion suffered many casualties. At Buna, many more men were lost due to ill-conceived attacks against enemy bunkers. Jack was wounded (gunshot wound, left forearm) during this action on 30 December 1942. He was evacuated back to Australia 11 days later and spent the next five months in and out of hospitals and convalescent centres.
Jack rejoined his unit when the Battalion returned to New Guinea in August 1943. It trained around Port Moresby until deployed to the Finisterre Mountains in New Guinea on 31 December, where it participated in the operations to secure Shaggy Ridge between 4 January and 1 February 1944. Arriving back in Australia on 8 May, the 2/10th spent one year training before undertaking its final operation of the war. Jack was posted AWL on 1 December 1944 and was absent until 7 December. He was given 14 days field punishment, forfeited 21-days pay and was fined a further 21-days pay. He served the 14 days field punishment at a Provost detention centre. On completion of the sentence, Jack returned to the Battalion.
On the 16 May 1945, the Battalion embarked from Cairns aboard the CH Matson and disembarked at Morotai ten days later. Morotai was the staging base for the invasion of the Borneo in the planned recapture of the oilfields. On 1 July 1945, the Battalion landed at Balikpapan in Borneo and stormed the heights of Parramatta Ridge. In ensuing days it cleared the Japanese from in and around Balikpapan town, and was withdrawn into reserve on 6 July. It did not carry out another active role before the war ended on 15 August 1945.
On 11 September, Jack was transferred to the 2/27th Infantry Battalion. Jack served with the Battalion until his return to Australia on 25 January 1946. He had served a total of 591 days overseas.
Jack was demobilised on 1 February 1946; he resumed teaching briefly before farming at Waitpinga. He then worked for Commonwealth War Service Homes Department until his retirement in 1985.
Jack’s younger brother Geoffrey served in the army as SX33831 Lance Sergeant GJ FRASER (enlisted 28 September 1944, demobilised 6 January 1947) and a sister Norma served as WAAAF 96730 ACW NJ FRASER (enlisted 22 June 1942, demob 14 March 1945).
Service file of SX15166 PTE JG FRASER from the National Archives of Australia (www.naa.gov.au ).
Australian War Memorial data base.