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William Edwin Pidgeon’s Jeep Train Illustrations

• CATEGORIES: Artists/Drawings, Features, Old Images • TAGS: .

Australian Bill Pidgeon (Wikipedia) had a successful career as an illustrator, painter and correspondent from the 1920s through the 1970s. A three-time Archibald Prize winner, one of Bill’s descendants (Peter Pidgeon) has created a wonderful website devoted to Bill’s life. Among the items the site includes are drawings and photos of jeep trains encountered by Bill in the Pacific war-theatre during his trip as a war correspondent for The Australian Women’s Weekly. In his ‘war letters‘ are some detailed observations about daily life in Borneo following it’s release from Japanese control.

One of Bill’s more interesting observations was recorded in Borneo. On August 16th, 1945, he wrote:

From Labuan another four and a half hours of sitting on a barge like a redhot waffle iron will bring you to the area occupied by the 24th Bgde. This is the land of the celebrated jeep train. Steam engines used to haul the train from Weston to Jesselton but on their hurried way out the Nips did their best to incapacitate the locomotives and the RAAF filled the boilers full of holes. So the engineers put iron tyres on the jeeps and shoved them on the rails and hooked the trucks behind.

Here is an example of an illustration and photo published on the site. There are others from an August 4-6, 1945, letter:

1945-08-04-bill-edwin-pidgeon-jeep-train-ill2 1945-08-04-bill-edwin-pidgeon-jeep-train1An additional illustration sketched by Bill that might interest restorers includes a detailed look at designs and colors used to mark one jeep train.

 

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