HON. WAYNE SWAN MP
FEDERAL MEMBER FOR LILLEY
90 SECOND STATEMENT – CENTENARY OF ARMISTICE
FEDERATION CHAMBER, CANBERRA
MONDAY 21 MAY 2018
***CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY***
I’d like to acknowledge the extraordinary role played by one of my constituents, Mr Alister Kentwell, in the forging of peace as Japanese forces surrendered in Borneo over 70 years ago.
Born an Australian citizen in Kobe, Japan, 1925, Alister was bilingual from a young age. He was only 18 when he enlisted with the AIF in Brisbane in 1943.
On the 10th of September 1945, Alister’s linguistic skills placed him at a pivotal point in our wartime history.
Photos held by the Australian War Memorial show the young Corporal Kentwell – who was acting as interpreter for Brigadier Wood – listening intently as Japanese Rear Admiral Nomura speaks during the surrender ceremony in the jungles of Borneo.
After hostilities ceased, Alister was assigned as a translator, assisting the New Zealand contingent in the British Commonwealth Occupation Force in Japan. He returned to Brisbane in 1947, at the ripe old age of 22.
The Centenary of Armistice is a unique opportunity to reflect on the great weight placed on young soldiers in conflict. I can only marvel at the black-and-white pictures of the calm, collected, Corporal Kentwell, taking in his stride the momentous role that he played at the conclusion of the Second World War.
I know his family are incredibly proud of him. And on behalf of our community in Lilley, I thank him for his service.