This website is dedicated to Eric Ernest Hooper & the men of the 2/2nd Pioneer Battalion, his wife Marion (Molly) and children Sandra, Wendy, Kevin & Wayne.

This website is dedicated to Eric Ernest Hooper & the men of the 2/2nd Pioneer Battalion, his wife Marion (Molly) and children Sandra, Wendy, Kevin & Wayne.

An incredible story known only by family and close friends

Eric Hooper was a member of the 2/2nd Pioneer battalion who initially fought in the Syrian/Lebanon campaign in the Second World War. After the threat of a Japanese invasion became apparent his battalion was sent to Java. He was captured there and after 2 years as a Prisoner of War, was sent to work in Nagasaki, Japan. On route his ship was sunk and he was picked up after 24 hours floating on debris in the China sea. In 1945 Eric witnessed first hand the devastation of the atomic bomb. Read each chapter of Eric’s amazing story below.

Chapters

Torquay Militia Camp

After the outbreak of war, Eric quickly signed up in Wangaratta to the 8th Light Horse Battalion. His initial training took place at the sea side town of Torquay, Victoria.

Puckapunyal Training

After the soldiers learnt that the Light Horse was unlikely to see action, Eric joined the 2/2nd Pioneer Battalion. He continued his military traning at Puckapunyal, Victoria.

Passage to Syria

After training at Puckapunyal for a year, and wondering if his battalion would ever see action, the battalion was finally called up, and sent to the Middle East.

Syria | Lebanon Campaign

The battalion came under fire for the first time in Syria but aquitted themselves well in their first victorious campaign.

Operation Blackforce

After the threat from the Japanese became clear, the Pioneers were sent back to protect their homeland, but controverisally were sent to Java instead to protect important air and oil fields.

POW camps in Java

After the fall of Singapore and Java Eric and the Pioneer’s were captured and sent to several POW camps across Java.

Sinking of the Tamahoko Maru

On route to Nagasaki Eric’s ship was torpedoed by the USS Tang, leaving Eric and hundreds of POW’s fighting for their lives drifting in the China Sea.

Fukuoka 14

After being saved from the water by a Japanese Whaling ship, Eric was sent to Fukuoka Camp 14 to work at the Mitsubishi Shipyards as a slave labourer. 

Atomic Bombing of Nagasaki

After wondering if live in captivity would ever end, an atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki which ultimately ended the war.

After the War

Eric returned to Australia and tried to resume his life and put the memories of the war behind him.

Return to Nagasaki

The 50th annivesary of the end of the Second World War brought about a renewed interest in Eric’s story.

Eric Hooper’s Legacy

Eric was just an everyday man, but his experiences were extraordinary, and his is just one story out of millions of Australian men and woman who have served this country.

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