Australian War Diaries



Fred Lasslett was posted to HMAS Perth in 1940. After several convoy duties from Fremantle to Ceylon, Fred eventually arrived at Alexandria, Egypt in December 1940 for active convoy duties to Tobruk, Malta and Greece. After a number of battles in the Mediterranean, HMAS Perth was transferred to the Indonesian islands in 1942 to take up the fight against the Japanese invasion in South East Asia.


Fred’s diaries vividly describe:


·         Encounters with the Japanese near Surabaya, Java


·         The Battle of Sunda Strait and sinking of HMAS Perth & USS Houston


·         Capture by the Japanese and imprisonment in Java


·         Escape and the days on the run


·         Re-capture and facing a firing squad


·         Life and entertainment in the “Bicycle Camp”


·         Transfer to Changi and Japan


·         The highs and lows of day to day life in a Japanese POW camp



Fred wrote this diary while a prisoner of war. In the form of weekly letters to ‘the elusive Nola’, his writings paint a first hand picture of three years as a prisoner of the Japanese. They tell a story of making the best of the adverse conditions, and the suffering, hope and compassion, lifted by Fred’s sense of humour. Photos, drawings, records of Japanese instructions to the Australian POWs, Australian Navy records, first hand accounts, explanatory maps and a foreword and epilogue from Fred supplement the diary.


The diaries were written by Fred Lasslett, in pencil, beginning in a small exercise book, and then continuing onto sheets of cigarette paper, which were concealed from the Japanese whilst imprisoned.


Fred passed away on July 10 2013 at the age of 94.



“Australian War Diaries” has been published by Brolga Publishing. To obtain a copy, contact .


The cost is A$24.95 (plus postage).