Rodney Breavington

(1904 – 1941)

Rodney Breavington never received a medal. Yet his courage and determination in facing the enemy surely merited one. Breavington was the Acting Sergeant of Police at Northcote when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour in December 1941. He quickly resigned from the police force and enlisted in the 2nd A.I.F. In a few few weeks he had been promoted to Corporal and shipped out to Singapore shortly before it surrendered to advancing Japanese troops. With another soldier, Breavington managed to escape the Japanese. Using a small fishing boat they hoped to be picked up by allied warships. But it was not to be. Returned to Singapore, the Japanese decided to use the soldiers as an example of what happens to escaping prisoners. Marched down to the hot beach, they were made to stand several hours in the heat. Breavington appealed to the Japanese commander to spare his young colleague but the Japanese officer refused. After reading a passage from the Scriptures the Sikh firing squad opened fire. Breavington’s courage in facing certain death impressed all those forced to watch this sad incident. After the War the Breavington Memorial Park was created to celebrate the heroism of this brave man. 

Howard, Arthur. Northcote’s bravest son : the story of Cpl. Rodney Breavington executed by the Japanese 2nd September 1942. Northcote.

Smyth, John (1977). Great stories of the Victoria Cross. London.