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HOPE, James Wallace (1898-1960)

HOPE, James Wallace (1898-1960)

James Hope was born 5 October 1898, the son of George Rowland Hope and Agnes Gray nee Wallace of Gnotuk, Camperdown.

He was educated at Camperdown Grammar School before going on to Geelong College 1912-17,

He left Geelong college to enlist (No 2993) in the Australian Flying Corps (AFC) with the November 1917 Reinforcements as a 2nd Air Mechanic. He embarked from Melbourne on HMAT A71 Nestor on 28 February 1918, going by way of the Panama Canal. He served with 7 Training Squadron, AFC, in England and was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant before returning to Australia on 15 May 1919.

His family told of his activities between the wars:
'On his return from the Great War he went to Malaya, and spent some time on various rubber estates, until 1931 when he was offered a job as manager of a tea plantation in Vietnam. After an extensive trip through that country and advice from the British High Commission ‘that the Communists were likely to take over’ he returned to Malaya. He was managing a rubber plantation at Kota Bahru, Kelantan, near where the Japanese landed, and serving as CSM in the Kelantan Volunteer Forces, when he was badly wounded, taken prisoner by the Japanese, and spent some time in Changi, before being transferred to Japan, where he was held at Fukuoka. His family received a post card from him late in the war saying he was well and sent best wishes. This was the first and only communication they received during his captivity.

A pencil written note to him from his OC in the Kelantan Volunteer Forces tells of the fall of his unit, dated 28 October 1942:
'The unit is now being split up & I expect you to look after the men remaining. As & when circumstances change you will use your best endeavours to locate me & I will arrange your return.'

The Pegasus of December 1945 reported on his hopes of life after the war:

'Sergeant 'Jim Hope' (1915), of the Kelantan Volunteers (Malaya), after three years in Japan, has enjoyed reviving old acquaintances and old memories about Geelong, but is anxious to return to rehabilitate his rubber plantation in Kelantan.'

James Hope died at Portland on 21 Oct 1960.

Sources: Based on an edited extract from Geelong Collegians at the Great War compiled by James Affleck. p 217 and Geelong Collegians at the Second World War page 284 (citing Alexander Henderson, Henderson’s Australian Families (1941); Pegasus; Australian War Memorial; National Archives, Hope Family Papers).
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