Son sees father's WWII death finally noted

Rick Goodman
The bravery of Anthony Ablong's (centre) father in WWII has been officially recognised in Britain

Dr Anthony Ablong's quest to discover how his father died in World War II has ended in an emotional journey to London to see his dad's bravery and death finally recognised.

Alfred Ablong was shot dead at age 55 by a sniper during Japan's invasion of Hong Kong in December 1941.

The father of seven was volunteering as an air raid warden and was on a daring hunt for food and supplies for starving civilians when he was killed.

But for years his family didn't know how he died and in the confusion of war, Mr Ablong's death was not reported to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

His youngest son Dr Anthony Ablong spent decades researching and he's finally delivered "due justice" to his father nearly 80 years after his death.

Dr Ablong, 82, recently flew to London to see his father's name added to the CWGC's Civilian Rolls of Honour at Westminster Abbey.

"This quest of mine was to make sure my father got due justice, if you like," Dr Ablong said after the ceremony on Friday.

"Now I can understand the fables about searching for the Golden Fleece and finding it."

Dr Ablong's voice broke as he explained the feeling of completing his history-fixing journey and seeing his father recognised.

"It's an emotional time and I think I'm still going through it," he said.

"Probably some time this evening I'll have a period of reflection where I'll probably end up bawling my eyes out."

Dr Ablong was only five years old and living with his family in Hong Kong when his father died.

His family home was shelled and destroyed but his mother and siblings saw out the war in Hong Kong.

The Ablongs spent years at a civilian internment camp and were later secreted off to the then-Portuguese colony of Macau.

Dr Ablong was later repatriated to Australia because his father was Australian and he has lived in Canberra since.

During his research into his father's death, Dr Ablong returned to his former home of Hong Kong, where he obtained military records.

"I revisited Hong Kong and walked through all the areas I had experienced during World War II.

"I visited the very road my father was shot by a Japanese sniper."

Mr Ablong's name was among more than 130 added to the honour rolls, having been missed from the original rolls for various reasons, including war-time secrecy.

They include three boys, aged 11, 12 and 13, who died in an explosion at a school in Surrey after a bomb was taken back to their dormitory and fell to the floor.

The handwritten rolls contain more than 68,000 names and are held in Westminster Abbey near the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior.