Censored letter written by Private William 'Eric' Murphy, service number VX 60821, detailing his voyage to 'Malaya' during World War II. His service records indicate that he was sent to Singapore in January 1942, and although censors have removed reference to the location in which he was writing, remnant segments of words and a 'Singapore' the censors missed indicate he was writing from Singapore. William died on the Thai-Burma railway in August 1943.

Part of a collection of material donated to Museum Victoria in 1988 by Miss Ida Murphy in memory of her brother William Murphy and her uncle Edward Pummeroy, who was killed during World War I.

Description of Content


Physical Description

Six-page hand-written letter. Some pages have portions cut out by censors.

More Information

  • Collection Names

    Military Memorabilia Collection

  • Collecting Areas

    Arms, Public Life & Institutions

  • Acquisition Information

    Donation from Miss Ida Murphy, 06/10/1988

  • Author

    Private William F. Murphy - Australian Imperial Force (AIF), 1942-1943
    Died on service.

  • Individuals Identified


  • Inscriptions

    Written in pencil: Dear Mother/ Have reached/ Maylaya [sic], after a very/ interesting trip, covering some/ thougsands of miles by sea;/ and hundereds [sic] byland./ Went direct to Sydney from/ Caulfield, travelling all night/ did not see much of Sydney, not/ the actual city , only the/ suburbs and dock, but when/ we arrived, had ferry trip down/ the harbour to the ship./ (a big one), the harbour was/ fine well worth seeing, we got/ a great thrill when we went in/ the ferry right under the/ Bridge, the Vics all pretended/ it was nothing, but like me/ they were all very impressed/ with the immensity of it, you've/ got to be right up against/ it to get an idea of its size. its/ tremendous./ We had a good trip on the / big ship but being the last/ unit on board we were very/ unlucky in our sleeping/ quarters, which were well/ down in the ship and very/ cramped; the food was/ good and plentiful;/ Only saw Fremantle from / the harbour./ Had a naval ship escort/ but more ships were added/ later. Did no go direct into [CENSORED - paper excised - upper edge of 'S' remaining, suggesting Singapore]/ but changed into smaller/ vessels;/ in a very beautiful/ bay on an island [Illegible]/ it was something out of the/ box for our first glimse [sic] of/ a foreign land even through/ we could not go ashore./ High mountains inland and/ coconuts palm grows along the/ waters edge, like you in/ pictures of the south sea/ island./ We had an uneventful trip/ with no enemy action. / We are over the line now/ [CENSORED] being a few degrees/ above the equator./ We just passed through/ [CENSORED] so did get a/ [CENSORED] at its/ may do so, sooner or later/ had about half an hour/ in the native quarter or part/ of it. Singapore or for that/ matter what were seen of/ Mayala [sic] is a fantastic and/ at times amusing mixture of/ quaint and modern in the/ buildings and ways of living/ You see beautiful European/ type of homes surrounded by/ Native thatched huts, gasmeters/ and factories out in the bush,/ there are fine motor roads,/ Much ofthe scenery is of/ park like country with all/ sors of farms, rubber/ plantations and latt palms/ covering the landscape every/ where. / There are many varieties of/ races here, [Illegible], Chinese/ Malayan Tamils etc, we will/ be paid in native money/ which is of dollars (2/11) and/ cents. / Had our first air raid alarm/ today heard the Japs coming over/ but they laid their eggs/ elsewhere, we heard them./ Ilan wishes to be remembered to/ you all, asks dad to have a couple/ for him at Hardimans, he had/ better have some for me too, beer/ is scarce and dear here./ Well i'm keeping well hop[e you are/ all the same, will write to the/ others when we get a bit settled./ Give my love to all/ Your loving son/ Eric. / P.S. We are now making/ camp in our bast/ workshops./ Mosquitoes are rather bad/ of a night, we are to get/ nets to sleep under when/ things are settled/ We sat the Jap planes/ going over today. / Have struck the last month/ of the rainy season a bit/ cooler that in will be later/ like all eastern countries/ they have ideal conditions here/ the women do all the work/ and the men do nothing/ very gracefully./ Changing some money today, will/ get 7 dollars for (pounds)1.5.0. Yours/ Eric

  • Classification

    Military history, Service, Correspondence

  • Category

    History & Technology

  • Discipline


  • Type of item


  • Overall Dimensions

    18.8 cm (Length), 13.2 cm (Width)

  • Keywords

    Militaria: Australian, Military Memorabilia, World War II, 1939-1945, Prisoners of War