Welcome to the Entwistle Collection!

This newly established digital archive is a display of 340 photographs taken by Australian soldier John Allen Entwistle during his time in Occupied Japan. Entwistle was part of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force (BCOF) from February 1946 to January 1947. While in the Hiroshima Prefecture, Entwistle experienced a side of Japan that had been forgotten by Australia in World War II and he was able to capture his personal story on camera.  

The collection includes BCOF duties and social life, glimpses of growing Australian-Japanese relations, the vivid life of Japanese culture, religion and architecture, landscapes of the Hiroshima prefecture and the aftermath of World War II. The photographs in this collection aim to shed some light on a forgotten force in Australia’s history, and bring attention to early post-war Australian-Japanese relations.

The Entwistle Collection began in 2018 when Karen Entwistle, the daughter of John Entwistle, expressed interest in having her father’s photography digitised and archived. Over the next two years, the 340 photographs were digitised and researched in detail by the project's curator and are now displayed on this site with the support of Western Sydney University.

Who was John Entwistle?

John Allen Entwistle, who went by his middle name Allen, was born in Campsie, New South Wales on March 5, 1924.

He enlisted in the army on March 31, 1942 aged eighteen years old and was allotted the rank of Private. He was posted to Thursday Island on June 29, 1943 and remained there with the 5th Australian Machine Gun Battalion until June 6, 1944. He later served in the 2/17th Infantry Battalion in British North Borneo from May 25, 1945. He then transferred to the 66th Infantry Battalion on October 22. From here he toured Morotai Island (Indonesia) from November 1945 until he was transferred to the British Commonwealth Occupation Force (BCOF) in February 1946.

Entwistle arrived at BCOF HQ at Kure on February 23, 1946 and participated in the BCOF until January 26, 1947. The majority of photographs appear to have been taken during this period.

Karen Entwistle (John’s daughter and owner of the photograph album) stated that her father was an avid photographer. He rarely drove and spent most of his time walking; it was equally rare to see him without a camera. This is one of the reasons that the collection is 340 photos, full of unique photographs capturing life in an occupied country.

John Entwistle’s full army record can be publicly accessed via the National Archives of Australia.