Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Master of Arts


School of Social and Cultural Studies


Faculty of Arts

First Supervisor

Dino Gava

Second Supervisor

Geoffrey Bolton


Stimulated by a pronouncement of Joan Beaumont that prisoners of war are a neglected subject of historical inquiry this thesis undertakes an empirical and analytical study concerning this topic. Within the context of the prisoner of war experience in the history of the 2/11th Infantry Battalion during the Second World War, it puts a case for including non-operational strands of warfare in the body of Australian official military history. To facilitate this contention the study attempts to show the reasons for which historians might study the scope and range of the prisoner of war experience. Apart from describing the context and aims of the study, the paper utilizes Abraham Maslow's theory of a hierarchy of needs to highlight the plight of prisoners of war. Amongst the issues explored are themes of capture, incarceration and recovery. Suggestions are made to extend the base of volunteer soldiers curriculum in favour of a greater understanding of the prisoner of war and an awareness that rank has its privileges. In addition to the Official Records from the Australian War Memorial, evidence for the study has been drawn mainly from the archive of the 2/11th Infantry Battalion, Army Museum of Western Australia, catalogued by the writer as a graduate student, December 1992, and military literature that were readily available in Perth. At every opportunity the men are allowed to speak for themselves thus numerous and often lengthy quotations are included.