(Information provided in April 2012 by Ross Tucker from a newspaper article. Ross Tucker was the nephew of Bill Attwood’s best friend, Roy McPherson).
William “Bill’ Attwood was born in 1912 and was educated at Caboolture State School. He was the son of William James and Mary Ann Attwood.
After leaving school, Bill became a motor mechanic and followed Roy McPherson, his best friend, to Kavieng in the 1930s where he operated a garage business. He later went into partnership with Roy’s elder brother Graham McPherson who sold his share in the business to Bill. Graham then returned to Australia in 1941, got married, and then joined the AIF.
When World War 2 broke out Bill Attwood was already engaged to a Caboolture girl who, together with her mother, visited Bill in Kavieng before the Japanese invasion. However, when Bill did not return, she eventually married someone else and subsequently had two daughters to her husband – living in Caboolture all her life until her death in 1989.
With the arrival of the invading Japanese, Bill and Roy tried to escape with Frank Saunders in Frank’s boat together with others, but due to a breakdown of one of the boats, they were all captured. Bill was retained in Kavieng by the Japanese as his skills as a mechanic could be used by them. In March 1944 American forces carried out a bombardment of Kavieng which was perceived by the Japanese as the precursor to an invasion, and as holding civilians was against the rules of war, they massacred all 24 prisoners at the Kavieng Wharf on the 20th March 1944. Unfortunately Bill was one of them. His name is inscribed on a commemorative plaque on the Kavieng Wharf and is also inscribed in a book entitled “Overseas civilians who died in World War 2” in Westminster Abbey, London.