This article is reproduced with permission from Peter Dunn's 'Australia @ War' website at wwwozarwar.com
Roy Stephenson, who was at that time a Warder Clerk at Boggo Road, was firmly of the belief that the incidence of rebellious behaviour in Army Detention Centres during the war, was the fact that the enforcement of Army discipline meant that harsh measures were adopted against the prisoners collectively. The Service mentality would not allow prisoners to be treated as individuals. If one or two prisoners stepped out of line, all of the prisoners were punished. One notable prisoner held at Boggo Road was an American prisoner. He had been born in the Philippines and fought with the US Army as a sergeant in New Guinea. He was eventually captured by the Japanese. Some time later he was recaptured from the Japanese, but was found to be wearing a Japanese uniform. He was subsequently Court Marshalled and sentenced to death by hanging. He was detained at Boggo Road while his Appeals were being heard.
Stephenson befriended this American soldier, who turned out to be quite a likeable character. He admitted that he was a born loser and accepted his eventual fate at the hands of the hangman. He told Stephenson that the Japanese gave him two options, join their Army or be shot dead. His oriental extraction was one of the factors that influenced his ultimate decision. The American prisoner lost all of his appeals and his death sentence was confirmed. The American Military authorities asked if they could use the Gallows at Boggo Road. This request was denied. The Americans were astonished with the Australian decision and commented that one of their prisoners had been hanged in Pentridge Gaol in Melbourne. This prisoner was Eddie Leonski, the infamous 'Brownout Strangler', who murdered there Melbourne women. The Australian authorities indicated that because the offence took place outside of Australia there was no connection with the state of Queensland. Another reason was that Capital Punishment was no longer on the statutes in Queensland. The prisoner was flown to New Guinea a short time later where he was executed by hanging.
- 1940: 'Aid War Effort'
- 1941: 'State Prisoners Help War Effort'
- 1942: 'Boggo Road Inmates Good War Record'
- 1942: 'Gaol Life No Handicap to War Workers'
- 1944: 'It's Their War Too!'
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