SX24416 Gunner John Fraser McEWIN
John Fraser McEWIN was born at Hyde Park, South Australia on 2 April 1924, the youngest of five children of Donald McEWIN and Margaret McEWIN (nee Fraser). He was educated at Scotch College as a day student where he served two years in the school cadets. After leaving school, at age 16, he gained employment as a clerk with G Wood & Son Pty Ltd, merchants, on North Terrace, Adelaide.
John enlisted in the Australian Militia Forces on 16 December 1941, eight days after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour. He had stated his year of birth to be 1923 declaring he was over 18 years of age when in fact he was only 17 years and eight months old, too young to have enlisted in the army. He was given the serial number S40259 and after basic training, was posted the 4th Military District Motorized Ambulance Convoy Transport Wing, soon to be renamed the 16th Field Ambulance, a new unit recently established at Woodside. On 20 February 1942, John was promoted to the rank of lance-corporal. From 2-27 March, he attended No. 5 Driving & Maintenance Course at Morphettville and on completion he was rated as a qualified driver mechanic first class. His promotion to corporal (temporary) followed on 7 April.
Following seven months full-time service with the militia, John volunteered for service with the 2nd AIF on 27 July 1942. The important distinction between the militia forces and the AIF was that militia soldiers could only serve on the Australian mainland and in its territories (including New Guinea), whereas servicemen and women in the AIF were volunteers and could be posted anywhere overseas. John’s older brothers were serving in the 2nd AIF; Robert (born 9 August 1909) had enlisted on 20 January 1941 and later served with the 2/14th Field Regiment, Peter (born 2 October 1912) had enlisted on 17 May 1940 and was commissioned as a lieutenant and was serving with the 2/7th Field Regiment, whilst Cameron (born 10 October 1914) had enlisted on 27 January 1941 and was also serving with the 2/14th Field Regiment. Cameron had served for two months in the RAAF prior to his transfer to the army. All four brothers would serve in artillery regiments.
John’s service record reveals that on 19 August 1942 he was charged “Without orders from a superior officer, he left his picquet (guard post)”. He was reprimanded for this infraction. On 5 January 1943, he was evacuated to 32nd Convalescent Hospital suffering from bronchial asthma and remained there for four days before returning to his unit. On 1 March 1943, John was detached for 15 days to the 24th Field Company, Royal Australian Engineers, for driving duties.
Having already completed his basic training, John requested a posting to the 2/7th Field Regiment, the transfer being effected on 27 March 1943. On 9 April, he voluntarily relinquished his rank of corporal and reverted to the artillery rank of gunner, the equivalent of a private soldier.
The 2/7th Field Regiment had returned by convoy to Australia from war service in the Middle East where it had fought at Tobruk and El Alamein. Disembarking West Australian soldiers in Fremantle on 18 February 1943, the convoy then sailed to Port Melbourne where all other personnel were disembarked on 25 February. South Australian soldiers were entrained to Adelaide and at their first stop in Tailem Bend, they were greeted by ladies from the SA Comforts Fund who supplied them with lavish quantities of hampers, hot drinks and newspapers, whilst at the Mitcham railway station they were met by the martial music of an old timers’ band. The South Australians were then moved to Springbank camp and granted 21 days leave.
On 26 March 1943, at 1300 hours, the Regiment commenced their welcome home march through the streets of Adelaide. Leading the Regiment was Lt Col T. Eastick DSO ED and the Governor, Sir Malcolm Barclay-Harvey, took the salute. After the march the local Cheer-up Society entertained the soldiers at a luncheon at the Cheer-up Hut and where upon the Governor later reviewed the troops at Springbank camp.
The Regiment was to be reformed in Queensland and South Australian members of the unit entrained at Mitcham station on 31 March 1943 for the long journey north. Troop trains from Western Australia and Victoria were also organised however, the journeys were not incident free as the parlous state of the Australian railway system resulted in several accidents. Rolling stock lacked proper maintenance and railway employees were suffering from fatigue due to overwork. In Queensland, the South Australian train was involved in three separate accidents. Fortunately only one soldier was injured when Capt Dennis, the new Quartermaster, sustained a broken nose when the troop train collided with a slow-moving goods train near Cairns on 6 April. Had the collision occurred on the nearby bridge, the results would have been disastrous.
Detraining at Kairi, on the Atherton Tablelands, the troops travelled by motor transport in darkness for 76 miles, a journey that took 10 hours, and arrived at their new camp late in the night.
By April 20, the Regiment had been brought up to full strength with the arrival of the New South Wales members of the unit. The Regiment’s new camp was situated close to the fast flowing Barron River and the surrounding terrain was ideal for jungle training and for the veterans who had served in the North African desert, it was a dramatic change. The Regimental area was in hilly gum country, well drained, free from mosquitoes and with training jungle close by. All troops were living under canvas and facilities such as messing, toilets and other amenities were all open air.
The first week after their arrival was spent on route marches, swimming and clearing of scrub within the camp lines and firebreaks around the perimeter. Thereafter, two or three nights a week were devoted to night training and all-day route marches with full packs became more frequent. Infantry sergeants came from the 20th Infantry Brigade to form a cadre for a school in bayonet fighting, patrolling and grenade training. At the same time, work progressed on building mess huts and other more permanent structures, although the tools and equipment were limited to a few axes, picks and shovels. There was even a shortage of nails.
On 11 May 1943, the Regiment received its first guns – 10 25 pounders and 10 tractors-artillery whilst small arms and ammunition began to arrive and by mid-June, the unit was almost up to war establishment with all arms. John and other new reinforcements were trained on the job in the highly complex tasks of artillerymen. The Regiment, now up to full strength, comprised Headquarter Battery, the 13th, 14th and 57th Batteries. Each Battery was equipped with eight 25 pounders making 24 for the Regiment. John was a member of 13 Battery. On 1 July 1943, John was classified as proficient as a gunner.
In October 1943, the commander of artillery in the 1st Australian Corps, Brigadier W.E. Cremor, visited the Regiment and after viewing the Batteries on exercises, found their proficiency levels were inadequate. Brigadier Cremor had served as a gunner on the Western front in World War One, and as a senior artillery officer in Greece with the 6th Division in the recent campaign. He knew artillery and soon called together a large gathering of officers and NCOs and slated them for the woeful performances he had seen, in particular their lack of attention to road discipline and natural camouflage. He stated that unless there was a marked improvement, a two day holiday bivouac at Etty Bay would be cancelled and he would consider recommending the “unit was unfit to go into action”. The problem lay in the fact that the veterans of North Africa were used to carrying out their duties in a way that was conducive to battle conditions and the geography they had successfully operated in before, whereas now they were being trained for a different terrain and different kind of warfare. The training manoeuvres continued in new earnest and eventually the Brigadier was satisfied, but not after the period October to December 1943 became known to every artilleryman in the 1st Corps as “The Reign of Terror”.
The Regiment earned a stint at the Etty Bay rest camp with local leave grated to nearby Innisfail. There was a dance held in the town every night and the soldiers drank the town dry of beer. When the black market beer (at eight shillings, or 80 cents, a bottle) ran out, the black market wine (10 shillings a bottle = $1.00) appeared. In the sub-tropical climate the men went down like flies. Benefitting from previous units’ experiences, the Regiment was ready with a three-ton truck that did the rounds of the town and scooped up the men where they lay.
In late November 1943, 24 days home leave was granted to troops and the first batch of soldiers, 10 percent of the unit strength – some 75 soldiers, proceeded on leave. Other drafts followed until all the men had been sent home. By March 1944, action for the Regiment seemed remote and the men wondered if they would ever leave the Tablelands.
On 14 May 1944, the Regiment received a warning order for movement to Ravenshoe and eight days later the 2/7th moved to their new camp. By the end of July it was apparent that the focus of training was on “combined operations” and amphibious training commenced at Trinity Beach. Training invariably never extended beyond the seashore due to the non-availability of landing craft. Only one Battery managed to obtain one day’s use of an LCT (Landing Ship Tank).
The training continued and a number of exercises were carried out in conjunction with other units including amphibious training where LSTs and LSIs had since become available. Practice loading of equipment and disembarkation was undertaken including two and three-day exercises with Royal Marines on LSI Greenearn and Empire Spearhead, British ships that had taken part in the D-Day landings in France. In early December 1944, a divisional artillery demonstration was held with spectators totalling 10,000 from the 6th, 7th and 8th Divisions, with 72 guns delivering a barrage on a 525-yard frontage.
In 15 January 1945, John attended 1st Australian Corps Waterproofing School and undertook Wheeled Vehicles Course No. 13 where he was instructed in the general waterproofing of regimental vehicles. This course was designed to protect wheeled vehicles in amphibious landings and the wet jungle environment they would soon be operating in. The course report stated he was a “keen worker” and had “fair mechanical knowledge”.
In February 1945, the divisional area was inspected by the Governor-General, HRH the Duke of Gloucester. The Regiment had last seen the Duke in Syria.
On 10 March 1945, the CO assembled the Regiment and read the warning order for embarkation. The work of packing and preparation began with earnest and on 16 March, the Regiment was placed on 12 hours notice. On 30 March, the 2/7th moved by motor transport to Innisfail and then onto the Julago staging camp, a few miles from their embarkation port, Townsville. On the afternoon of 8 April 1945, the Regiment embarked on the USS General H.W. Butner. The Butner was a ship of 20,000 tons and had been built for the US Army as a troop carrier. The 5,000 soldiers on board filled the ship to capacity and were well more than she was designed to carry in basic comfort. The interior of the ship soon became a furnace in the tropics and the air below quickly became foul with the poor ventilation, as there were no portholes below decks. Two meals only were served a day as the cooks could not handle serving three with 5,000 troops onboard. Those who rostered for duties or anti-aircraft watch were served three, so there were a plentiful number of volunteers.
The Butner called into Finscafen for about an hour on 12 April and then sailed onto Biak Island, reaching there on 14 April. The voyage to date had been smooth and uneventful. Biak was formerly a Japanese staging area and had been captured by the US forces and it was now a busy port with Allied planes taking off and landing continuously, whilst numerous Liberty ships were anchored around the bay. Shortly after arrival, a small warship escorted the Butner on her forward journey and during the voyage alarm drills were practiced, which quickly led to speculation of attack, however the voyage continued without incident. On 16 April, in the early hours of the morning, the convoy berthed at Morotai. It was 2200 hours before all troops and their gear were ashore on the docks where they were transported to their new regimental area by Army Service Corps trucks.
The next morning the CO briefed the officers, stating that ahead of the Allies was the recapture of Tarakan, and the Regiment would form part of the invasion force known as Oboe One. In the meantime, the men cleared scrub in their camp area, eliminated the abundant number of snakes around and built shelters. Water was in short supply and the men were restricted to hard rations. The nearby beach looked inviting with its sandy shore and palms, however coral snakes were evident and no soldier dared to swim. Their equipment had been shipped separately and when this arrived there were three days of hard toil – unloading and preparing stores and equipment, and then reloading in readiness for the invasion. John recalled that at night there were movies shown for the troops at a temporary outdoor cinema. The island had not been entirely secured and a US battalion, manned by negro soldiers, had been detailed to maintain guard and security around the staging area from 2100 hours to 0900 hours each day, as a form of punishment. The guards’ vigilance was lax, as Japanese soldiers had been spotted sneaking close to the perimeter to watch the movies. During their time on Morotai, the Regiment was not called upon to provide any fire support missions.
The Regiment’s advance party had embarked from Morotai on 20 April, and John and his fellow soldiers embarked on LST 584 for Tarakan. The invasion fleet had a naval escort of destroyers and corvettes with overhead air cover for the voyage. The Regiment was spread over two separate convoys and 11 different craft.
Tarakan is a small island, situated a few miles east off the north-eastern Borneo mainland and is about 15 miles long and 11 miles wide at the top. The township of Tarakan and its port of Lingas are situated on the south-western side. The climate is of extremely high humidity and it rains almost year round. The coastal terrain is swampy and mostly devoid of beaches. To get ashore, the Allies would have to land at the only beach available, Lingas Beach. Preceding the invasion, the 57th Battery was landed with its guns on Sadua Island to cover the invasion force. This idea suggested by Brigadier Eastick, Commander of the Artillery Corps, 9th Division. This would be the first time this had been done, where field guns would support an amphibious force. Their positioning on Sadua would give them observed fire to support the infantry almost from the time they landed and all targets around the township of Tarakan were within range.
The invasion of Tarakan was preceded by a naval bombardment of the landing areas and when this had ceased Liberator bombers dropped their payloads in a precision-like manner on the beachhead. “H” Hour was 0800 on 1 May 1945 and as the landing craft moved in position, so did rocket firing support craft to support the landing. The Japanese launched land-based torpedoes against the landing craft but fortunately these passed straight under the craft due to their shallow draft. The assault craft prepared for obstacles placed closed to shore, however none of the craft suffered any damage thanks to the good work of the Australian engineers. A few enemy snipers were positioned in the beachhead area but these were soon eliminated.
A number of the LSTs beached before reaching firm ground and there were delays in getting ramps and pontoons in position, whilst the LST John travelled on was shunted up the beach by a US destroyer in order for it to offload the men. During this attempt the LST was pushed over a large tree log and became wedged and remained stuck. Destroyers repeatedly tried to tow it out, but the tow bollards broke. It would eventually be refloated about six weeks later.
Further work by the engineers was required as the tide receded and it was not until early afternoon that the gunners could make a dry landing with their equipment. Once on dry land, the men had to contend with land mines, booby-traps, snipers and badly congested gun areas with the result that the rest of the day was spent in getting the guns into position. The use of land mines and booby-traps by the Japanese on Tarakan was on a scale not previously encountered anywhere else in the Pacific.
On the first night, the Regiment shelled Lingas Beach for one hour. The 13th and 14th Batteries engaged suspected enemy positions, laying down a number of rounds in an effort to flush out the Japs. The use of aerial spotting of targets was to be attempted when an Auster plane commenced its take-off from a rough and makeshift runway. The plane hit a huge sawn log on take-off and crashed into a 10-foot bank of the Dutch anti-tank ditch, about 50 yards from the 13th Battery’s command post. The pilot was thrown clear but the air liaison officer was engulfed in flames and despite being rescued by air force personnel, he later died from the injuries he received. Following this, no further attempts of air observation were made until the island’s airfield was captured from the Japanese.
After securing the area around the beachhead, the 26th Brigade Group advanced east into Tarakan Town and north towards the airstrip. The Australians encountered increasingly determined Japanese resistance as they moved inland. The task of capturing Tarakan’s airstrip was assigned to the 2/24th Battalion. The Battalion’s initial attack on the airstrip on the night of 2 May was delayed when the Japanese set off large explosive charges, and the airstrip was not secured until 5 May. While the capture of the airfield achieved the 26th Brigade Group’s main task, the Japanese still held Tarakan’s rugged interior.
During the first week of the invasion, 7,000 Indonesian refugees passed into the advancing Australian lines. This was a larger number than had been expected, and the refugees, many of whom were in poor health, overwhelmed the Dutch civil affairs unit. Despite the devastation caused by the Allied bombardment and invasion, most of the civilians welcomed the Australians as liberators. Hundreds of Indonesian civilians later worked as labourers and porters for the Allied force.
As the infantry moved inland towards their objectives, the artillery followed close behind, ready to provide fire support whenever called upon. On 3 May, the 2/23rd Battalion launched an attack against Tarakan Hill and 13th Battery launched a barrage prior to the assault, followed by a low level attack by Mitchell bombers. During the infantry assault, two platoons were pinned down in their effort to reach enemy mortar and machine gun posts tunnelled into Tarakan Hill. At the end of the day the 2/23rd Battalion managed to get their casualties out and it was decided to use 2/4th Cavalry Commando Squadron, supported by tanks, to complete the assault. The next morning the second attack took place and with supporting artillery fire from the Regiment, the enemy was blasted out of their posts by that evening.
The battle for control of the airstrip took the 2/24th Battalion three days, such was the determined enemy resistance. 14th Battery provided fire support prior to the Battalion’s assault, however the infantry failed to get across the exposed areas of the airstrip. C Troop’s observation post was hit by a 75mm enemy shell and during the fight four soldiers from the Regiment became casualties; Lance bombardier R.T. Tippins was killed, whilst Lance-bombardier J.C. Williams, Gunners A.M. Daley and N.J. Turnley were wounded. Further regimental casualties were suffered the next day, 4 May, when D Troop received a direct hit from a mortar round.
The retreating Japanese had blown up the oil wells and the fires were so intense the earth forming the mounds around the wells was entirely glazed. Oil company engineers came ashore later in an effort to put out the fires but their task was immense and they did not succeed in extinguishing the fires for some time.
On 6 May, immediately after the capture of the airfield, aerial observation and spotting flights were resumed and on the same day, 14th Battery took up position on either side of the landing field. During a reconnaissance patrol, a signals jeep hit a land mine and Gunner R.L. White was wounded. The following day, Gunner J.H. McCaig was wounded by a sniper whilst driving a jeep along Anzac Highway.
There remained the daunting task of clearing the enemy from the inland areas of the island. The terrain was thick jungle with a myriad of small paths meandering their way through the area. Visibility was limited due to the intense vegetation and finding the enemy proved difficult for the infantry. The amount of support artillery could provide was limited due to the close proximity of the observation party (OP) to the enemy and the inability of the OP to observe. In some instances, infantry were killed at a range of ten yards and less; such were the conditions under which they had to operate. The Japanese were masters at camouflage and concealment, the laying of mines and booby traps. Numerous booby-trapped 75mm shells and small pressure mines were planted along the tracks and paths, whilst bunkers and machine gun posts were well concealed.
The obvious methods of destroying the enemy deep in the jungle prior to launching an infantry attack were naval bombardment, precision aerial bombing, napalm strikes and artillery. An infantry assault on Tarakan against the enemy without any of the foregoing would have resulted in considerably high casualties.
Naval gunnery was dependent upon artillery observation and at this very time, part of the naval force was being deployed elsewhere. Precision aerial bombing could be accurate, however the target area needed to be specifically defined by smoke and once this was done, the enemy merely retreated from their bunkers to a rear area, or into the tunnel complex, and waited until the bombing ceased. They then returned to their bunkers and waited for the infantry assault.
The enemy could not predict artillery salvoes, and whilst the overhead tree cover caused bursts, inevitably the shells would find their targets once they were identified. The problems faced by the artillery were the angle of descent, observation, razor-backed knolls and proximity of friendly troops. The gunners quickly worked out solutions to these hurdles and their fire became increasingly accurate and effective.
At the time the enemy force was reliably estimated to number between 2,500 and 3,000 soldiers. Intelligence had determined the enemy headquarters as being in two tunnels each over 50 metres long, very deep, and in the vicinity of grid reference 433 691. The whole ridge between points 105 and 102 was likely to be heavily occupied and the likelihood was that the enemy would stand and fight to the finish.
The infantry battalions and commando squadron continued their slow advance and whenever determined resistance was met, artillery strikes were called in to pulverise the enemy. During this time 13th Battery supported the 2/23rd Battalion, 14th Battery the 2/24th Battalion and 57th Battery the 2/48th Battalion. 14th Battery moved from its airfield position to Djoeata oilfield on 17-18 May in order to bring down fire on the previously unreachable northern sides of the central ridge between Points 105 and 102, the area of the enemy headquarters. As the pressure on the enemy increased, primarily from aerial bombings, mortar and artillery strikes, the main Japanese force withdrew leaving behind suicide defenders. The artillery fire missions were so intense that by about 19 May, ammunition expenditure was restricted to 100 rounds per battery per day, except for specially authorised tasks.
On 25 May, Warrant Officer J.A. Christie, one of the Regiment’s original members, was wounded from an enemy shell. He died of his wounds two days later. Lt J.R. Smith was wounded, and during the following two weeks a further eight soldiers from the Regiment were wounded in action.
The Japanese garrison was gradually destroyed, with the survivors abandoning their remaining positions in the hills and withdrawing to the north of the island on 14 June. On this day, 112 Chinese and Indonesian labourers left the Japanese-held area with a note from a senior Japanese officer asking that they be well treated. While Radio Tokyo announced that Tarakan had fallen on 15 June, the last organised Japanese resistance was encountered on 19 June and the island was not declared secure until 21 June. On that day the Regiment fired its last shot of the war when a salvo was delivered on an enemy concentration in the northeast of the Island.
Whilst the island was considered secured, there remained isolated pockets of enemy that still held out. On 6 July, Signalman D.F. Nippard was killed when leading a small patrol, and four days later Gunner B.J. Patis was killed whilst on sentry duty. On 24 July, Gunner M.J. Doyle died from accidental burn injuries received the previous day. On 3 August, Gunner K. Reddish died from illness. He was the second fatality from illness during the campaign; Lt P.J. Lane having died on 20 May.
While the infantry of the 26th Brigade Group fought the Japanese in the hills, the RAAF engineers of No. 61 Airfield Construction Wing were engaged in a desperate effort to bring Tarakan’s airstrip into operation. The airstrip had been heavily damaged by pre-invasion bombing but it also lay in marshy terrain and proved much more difficult to repair than had been expected. It took eight weeks, not the expected single week, to restore the strip to a usable state. Extensive use was made of interlocking steel plates laid down like matting. The airstrip was finally opened on 28 June, but this was too late for it to play any role in supporting the landings in Brunei or Labuan (10 June), or the landings at Balikpapan. No. 78 Wing RAAF was based on Tarakan from 28 June and flew in support of the Balikpapan operation until the end of the war.
Efforts to re-start production at Tarakan’s oilfields were delayed by serious damage to the facilities and Japanese holdouts; they did not become operational until after the war.
Following the end of organised resistance, the surviving Japanese on Tarakan split into small parties, which headed to the north and east of the island. The 26th Brigade Group’s main combat units were allocated sections of Tarakan, which they swept for Japanese. Many Japanese attempted to cross the strait separating Tarakan from the mainland but were intercepted by Allied naval patrols. Allied troops also searched for Japanese on Boenjoe Island, fifteen miles northeast of Tarakan.
From the first week of July, the surviving Japanese became short of food and attempted to return to their old positions in the centre of the island and raid Australian positions in search of supplies. As their hunger increased, more Japanese surrendered. The Australian units continued patrols in search of Japanese until the end of the war, with several Japanese being killed or surrendering each day. These patrols cost the 26th Brigade Group a further 36 casualties between 21 June and 15 August, whilst 300 Japanese evaded capture and did not surrender until after the end of the war.
Following Japan’s official surrender, the troops were given two days holiday on 16-17 August to mark the end of the war. The question that now remained in each soldier’s mind was when would they be repatriated? There was a worldwide shortage of shipping and repatriation of troops was determined by reference to length of overseas service.
John later recalled that earlier in the invasion an operation had been proposed to rescue Allied POWs from the Sandakan area and volunteers were called for from amongst the Australians on Tarakan. There was an Australian sloop in the harbor and Sandakan was a mere 150 miles away from Tarakan. The plan involved sending a medical crew on the sloop, however Lieutenant General Blamey, GOC of Australian forces, vetoed the plan, as he was unsure of the fighting quality of the Japanese troops in the Sandakan area.
On 14 October 1945, the 2/7th Field Regiment was declared a redundant unit and the remaining members of the Regiment were consolidated into the rapidly shrinking Batteries. Between 15 August and 30 November, 352 members of the Regiment had embarked for Australia. On 6 December, John and the remaining 56 soldiers of the Regiment sailed on the SS Stamford Victory from Tarakan and disembarked at Brisbane on 14 December. On 21 December, the Regiment’s remaining guns, 24 25 pounders, were returned to 7th Base Ordnance Depot at Banyo, Queensland.
The Australian commander on Tarakan, Brigadier D.A. Whitehead, later wrote: “it was good to know that he had a whole artillery regiment to support his operations on the island. It was certainly good to know,” he wrote, “that the Regiment was the 2/7th.”
John entrained to Adelaide, arriving there the day before Christmas. After leave, he was attached to the 5th Advanced Ordnance Depot and the General Duties Depot at Keswick. On 25 February 1946 John was detached to the army’s Special Investigation Branch (SA), where he remained until 13 May.
On 21 May 1946, Pte John Fraser McEWIN was demobilised. John was the last of the four brothers in the family who served to be “de-mobbed”. He had served a total 1,618 days in the military forces of which 251 days had been served outside Australia. Robert was demobilised on 8 June 1942, Peter on 18 October 1945 and Donald on 7 November 1945. John was later awarded the 1939-1945 Star, the Pacific Star, the War Medal 1939-1945, the Australia Service Medal 1939-1945, the Australia Service Medal 1945-1975 (with SW Pacific clasp).
On his return to civilian life, John commenced sawmilling operations with brother Peter at Hindmarsh Valley and they bought a property from the Estate of Mrs Lindsay Page. In 1948, John married Pauline QUAYLE and there were three children of the marriage. In 1951, he left the business and commenced work for Clarksons Limited, managing their contracts department. He later joined John Lysaght Limited, where he remained until his retirement in 1983. In 1988, John and his wife moved back to Victor Harbor.
John died on 9 August 2010, age 86.
Service file of SX24416 John Fraser McEWIN purchased from the National Archives of Australia
Wikipedia: The Battle for Tarakan, Operation Oboe One.
Australian War Memorial: the 2/7th Field Regiment.
Goodhart, David, The History of the 2/7 Australian Field Regiment, 2/7th Field Regiment Book Committee, Adelaide, 1952.
Roberts, Tom and Roberts, Patricia, Will We Be Disappointed After, P.R. Roberts, Richmond, SA, 1995.
Compiled by the RSL Victor Harbor Sub-branch History Research Team, August 2010.