POW camp survivor honoured in emotional farewell
A BROTHERS' bond forged stronger when surviving the horrors of Japanese prisoner-of-war camps came to a sad end in Kawana.
Bob Chapman placed a poppy on the casket of his younger brother Jack Chapman as family and friends gathered on Friday to farewell a piece of Australian history.
Jack's coffin was draped in an Australian flag, a privilege bestowed only on ex-service personnel.
He and his wife Corrie had lived at Kawana for six years until Jack died peacefully on Sunday, age 94.
Jack and Bob were serving with the 8th Australian Signals Division in Singapore when the peninsula was captured by the Japanese on February 15, 1942.
They were prisoners of war together at Changi where they and their comrades were reduced to the lowest ebb of poverty and distress.
Recollections recounted at Jack's funeral on Friday told of how they maintained an eternal optimism throughout their incarceration.
Jack's honesty and fairness led to him being entrusted to divvy the meagre rice rations among the prisoners.
He celebrated his 21st birthday while captured.
His son Peter Chapman was emotional as he delivered his part of the eulogy.
"Dad was a fighter and he got through the prisoner-of-war ordeal," Peter said.
He then turned to Bob, who was sitting in the front row.
"I think it is clear he wouldn't have without your strength, your example and the brotherly bond you shared," Peter said.
Jack was kept in camps in Singapore and Japan until he was recovered in Japan in September 1945.
He arrived back in Sydney, where he was born and raised, a month later.
The woman who was to become his wife for 70 years was waiting at the harbour for him.
Jack and Corrie married in 1946 and went on to have three children together.
Jack excelled in sales and used his sharp mathematical talents for his "Saturday job behind closed blinds".
Starting price bookmaking was illegal at the time.
He started his own business importing travel backpacks and camping equipment from Asia and founded the Caribee brand of luggage.
That business proved very successful but Jack's control of it ended during the economic downturn of the early 1990s.
His daughter Wendy Coleman spoke of her father's dedication to his family.
"I will miss him every day, my best friend and I will love him forever," Ms Coleman said.