Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Brother's Murder Still Rankles; at 88, Keith Chokes Up When He Talks of How Japanese Killed His Brother

Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Brother's Murder Still Rankles; at 88, Keith Chokes Up When He Talks of How Japanese Killed His Brother

Article excerpt

Byline: DOMINIC FEAIN Reporter

KEITH Nelson, now 88 and retired on the Gold Coast, still chokes up talking of his beloved brother Arthur, who was executed by the notorious Japanese Kempeitai in the Pacific in 1944.

The aging former Lismore lad and war veteran, now retired on the Gold Coast, travelled to Lismore earlier this month, ahead of Remembrance Day with Errol R Grimmond, RAAF Association (RAAFA) Gold Coast deputy president, and editor of the RAAF Wings magazine.

He came to tell Arthur's story and donate memorabilia associated with his brother and family to the Richmond River Historical Society.

The boys' father, Thomas George Nelson, ran a general store in Keen St after moving to Lismore in 1930.

Keith joined up as an 18-year-old in 1942 and served as a radar operator in the Pacific, following the brother he worshiped a by then Flight Lieutenant Arthur Nelson a who had joined up in 1941. The two were never to see each other again.

The Kempeitai was similar to the German Gestapo, a dreaded military police feared by Japanese soldiers almost as much as by the Allied forces.

Two Kempeitai officers responsible for the Kittyhawk fighter pilot's death were later found guilty of his murder. The verdict at the War Crime Trials in Hong Kong in 1948 led to them being hanged.

But it was only just before those trials that the Nelson family back in Lismore found out the fate of their eldest son and brother.

aMum was more worried than me in 1944 because Arthur had done his time and was due back,a Keith said.

aFor years she hoped he might have been hiding with the natives in the hills or something a that sort of thing did happen a bit.

aActually it was another fellow from Lismore who was stationed with Arthur who told us what happened.

aHe remembered Arthur saying he'd be careful as went out to get into his plane on his last flight a and as fate would have it, right then a signal came through that he was posted back to Australia and this fellow ran out to get him, but it was too late, he'd already taken off.

aHis last flight was a sortie with 80 Squadron on October 13, 1944 with two other aircraft attacking a Japanese-held airstrip off New Guinea. …

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