L/Cpl Colin Trentham Wheat
Colin Trentham Wheat - born Gladstone, Qld, 14 April 1919 - second (of four) sons of William Shelley and Clara Jane Wheat.
Colin enlisted in the AIF on 21 June1940 and on 13 September, he sailed out of Sydney Harbour landing in El Kantara in the Suez Canal about 3 weeks later. They found their way to Gaza Ridge, where a hospital was set up.
A few weeks later he and two mates were instructed by Capt Reed, CO, to write a letter home --’to tell your folks that they won’t get any mail from you for goodness knows how long – cause you’re going to an area where mail will be the lowest priority that you can think of. But I can’t tell you any more other than tomorrow you’re going up to Rehovot and be attached to the 5 AGH and you’ll report to Colonel Kaye’.
On the 27 April 1941, at Ekali, (Greece),167 personnel became Prisoners of War -- Colin and his mates included.
He was repatriated to Australia arriving back early in 1944. On 26 August 1944, he married his sweetheart Isobel MacFarlane Campbell and settled in Toowoomba. They relocated to Cairns in the early 1950’s, where Colin became a bearer with the Queensland Ambulance Transport Brigade (Q.A.T.B.). He went on to become Q.A.T.B. Superintendent and served in Cloncurry and Roma before retiring.
Colin suffered from ill health for many years, but rarely spoke of his time as P.O.W.
In 1996, Colin and Isobel moved to Brisbane to be closer to family.
Colin passed away on 31 May 2006 -- Isobel passed away 15 days later on 15 June 2006. They had been married for almost 62 years, and had four children.
These photos and papers belonged to Colin, and were kindly donated to the Australian War Memorial Canberra in June 2007, by his Daughter – Heather Ellsworth -Turner. Permission was also given to the 2/5 Australian General Hospital Association, to copy and reproduce this material onto the 2/5 AGH Memorabilia DVD and the Unit Website.