The Official 2/26 Battalion Website

In affiliation with the 2/26 Battalion Family & Friends Association Inc.

"This website came to fruition in an attempt to tell the true story the 2/26th Infantry Battalion, (the only Infantry Battalion raised in Queensland; part of the 27th Brigade, 8th Division) played during the Malay Campaign of World War II.... "The 8th Division constituted 14% of the British force but it took 73% of the battle deaths."

Prisoners of war lived with very little in the way of personal possessions or "luxuries". However, some found materials from some of the most unlikely places and through incredible ingenuity were able to create pieces of art. Below are some photos which show such ingenuity from Nev Anning, who as a POW in Changi was able to decorate drinking flasks by etching with a darning needle and creating tobacco tins from the aluminium of crashed airplanes.


A  water bottle 1942-1945 with Australia scene on it. A Javanese bottle engraved with a timber cutter & bullock team. Nev worked in all kinds of timber cutting before the war. A Javanese water bottle. Nev swapped a new kangaroo hide belt and his own enamel bottle for it. It was engraved with a darning needle (army issue). A birds eye view of Changi engraved on the back of a tin. Tins were made in last few months of war 1945. Tobacco tin  made from the baffle of a zero fighter bomber in 1945 Nev made these tins from the aluminium of the baffles off a crashed plane. This tin is made from the wings of a downed aircraft and is very hard. The picture is of a Tiger. These knives were made in a nail factory March to August 1945 outside Changi jail. Made at a forge when the Japanese guard was sleeping off lunch.

Len Hoyling made his guitar while he was a prisoner in Changi, prior to his departure in F Force to slave on the Thai-Burma Railway. Len made the guitar from discarded Aluminium that was used for drying the sap from rubber trees. Stan Carlyle designed the guitar, with Len making and engraving it.
Originally, the whole instrument was made from aluminium, but did not work properly. Then when he showed it to a friend, who was a member of the "concert party", his friend laughed and then offered to see if he could arrange to have a wooden neck made. This was duly done, but Len does not know what kind of timber was used.
Len took his guitar with him when he was sent off with F Force and came very close to losing his life when he had stolen a cup of sugar from a Jap kitchen and hid the sugar in his guitar. The sugar was not found and Len escaped a beating.
The guitar only has four strings, so it cannot play a proper tune, but it does make some lovely music. Prior to the opening of the museum in Toowoomba a music shop proprietor put a bridge on it.

Len Hoyling & his guitar Len's guitar - originally made from metal but it didn't work.