John Hector Willson

#112, (7 May 1914-9 May 1975)
FatherFrank Bourne Willson (c 1885-)
MotherMarie Louise Loutit (c 1890-)
ChartsAylott Family - descendants
Brett Family - descendants
Darby Family - descendants
Deane Family - descendants
Fairclough Family - descendants
Leonard Family - descendants
Manthorpe Family - descendants
Read family - descendants
Smith family - descendants
Wayte Family - descendants
Descendents of Richard Darby
Hec Willson 15 Feb 1942
     NOTE: The information on this page is my research to date and is subject to change as I become better informed. I very much welcome any corrections or additional info you might have - my email address is at the bottom of this page - Tim Hill.
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John was born on Thursday, 7 May 1914.1 He was the son of Frank Bourne Willson and Marie Louise Loutit. John Hector Willson was known as Hec.2 He was a student at Scot's College Bellevue Hill and later at Sydney Grammar and Sydney University, graduating in 1939.3 He was a student in January 1935.4 He and Ruth Isabella Willson were found on a passenger list on the 'Mariposa' on 26 January 1935 from Sydney to San Pedro, Wilmington and Los Angeles.5 John Hector Willson and Ruth Isabella Willson were found on a passenger list on the 'Mariposa' on 28 January 1935 from Sydney to San Franscisco, California.4 He lived with his father at at 8 Birriga Road in the Sydney suburb of Bellevue Hill in 1937.6

He served as an officer in the military circa 1941 at Greta Camp, in Greta, New South Wales.3 Hec Willson also trained circa 1941 at Gunnedah, New South Wales.3 He wanted to be a surgeon but the army had plenty of surgeons; instead they asked him to be an anaesthetist.3

He married Pattie Smith, daughter of James Smith and Elsie Florence Darby, at St. John's on Monday, 16 February 1942 at the Sydney suburb of Darlinghurst. He was 27 and his wife Pattie was 25. News of the fall of Singapore to the Japanese reached Australia the same day..1
Pat and Hec Willson 16 Feb 1942


Hec Willson was on a ship to the Middle East which was diverted to Western Australia following the bombing attack on Broome. in March 1942.3 He spent the next 17 months in difficult conditions in Western Australia, including Morowa, Western Australia.3 He was then, for a period of time, sent to at New Guinea.3 Hec was 2IC of the Cowra Japanese POW camp's hospital when at least 545 Japanese attempted to break out. The prisioners inflicted ghastly wounds on themselves and Hec operated for 72 hours. His wife read in the paper about the breakout but was not informed of Hec's condition for a month. He sufferred from emotional and physical injuries; his back and neck was injured, and he said he witnessed far more disturbing wounds in Cowra than he saw in New Guinea.3 After the breakout - where the Japanese suffered many self-inflicted blade and gunshot wounds - the Australian surgeons performed 44 operations in the first 24 hours and a further 33 in the following 48 hours. Hec later questioned one of the Japanese officers trying to elicit what they had to gain. He replied that that they hoped to kill as many Australians as possible and then commit suicide as the disgrace of imprisonment meant they couldn't return to Japan.3

Hec Willson c1963
(source: Tim Hill collection)
Hec, aged 30 and Pattie Smith, aged 28 became the parents of Peter John Willson on Friday, 23 February 1945 at at St. Luke's hospital in the Sydney suburb of Darlinghurst.1 Hec Willson was made Honorary Specialist Anaesthetist at Brisbane General Hospital and also Greenslopes Military Hospital. he was also a lecturer at St. Lucia University on general anaesthsia to the dental faculty. He was president of the Queensland Society of Anaesthetists for 9 years, and in private practice would travel to Brisbane and Queensland country towns, carrying his McKesson Machine and Nuffield vaporisor. in 1946 at Brisbane.3 John, aged 33 and Pattie Willson, aged 31 became the parents of Richard Frank Willson on Thursday, 4 December 1947 at Brisbane.1 John and Mavis lived in 1948 at at 185 Adelaide Street in the Brisbane suburb of Clayfield.7 John Hector Willson was a medical practitioner in 1949.8 He was a doctor in 1949.7 John and Mavis lived in 1949 at at 'Bidston' 42 View Street in the Brisbane suburb of Eagle Junction.8 Hec Willson was awarded the Foundation Fellow of Anaesthesia at the Royal Australian College of Surgeons in 1952.3 He was a medical practitioner in 1958.9 He was retired in 1968 at Sydney.3 John and Mavis lived in 1968 at at 14 Bale Street in the Brisbane suburb of Ascot.10

John and Frank, both doctors and married to sisters, became good friends.11 John and Mavis lived in 1972 at at 179 Spit Road in the Sydney suburb of Mosman.12

John died on 9 May 1975 at age 61.3

Timeline

DateEventPlace
Family
1914Birth1
Education3
1935Occupation4
1935Passenger list5
1935Passenger listSan Franscisco, California4
1941Milit-BegGreta Camp, in Greta, New South Wales3
1942Marriage at St. John's in the Sydney suburb of Darlinghurst1
Pat and Hec Willson 16 Feb 1942
1948Residence at 185 Adelaide Street in the Brisbane suburb of Clayfield7
1949Occupation8
1949Occupation7
1949Residence at 'Bidston' 42 View Street in the Brisbane suburb of Eagle Junction8
1950Occupation-hide1
1958Occupation9
1958Residence-hideEagle Junction9
1963Occupation-hide13
1963Residence-hide at 42 View Street in the Brisbane suburb of Eagle Junction13
1968Occupation-hide10
1968RetirementSydney3
1968Residence at 14 Bale Street in the Brisbane suburb of Ascot10
1972Residence at 179 Spit Road in the Sydney suburb of Mosman12
1975Death3

Family

Mavis Constance Smith (11 Mar 1916-17 Jun 2018)
Children

Citations

  1. [S259] Mavis 'Patti' Willson,.
  2. [S485] Tim Hill, personal knowledge, unknown date.
  3. [S543] Letter from Mavis 'Patti' Willson to Tim Hill, various.
  4. [S474] Website California Passenger and Crew Lists, 1882-1957 Name: John Hector Willson; Arrival Date: 28 Jan 1935; Age: 20; Ship Name: Mariposa; Port of Arrival: San Francisco; Port of Departure: Sydney, Australia; Archive information (series:roll number): M1410:311.
  5. [S474] Website California Passenger and Crew Lists, 1882-1957 Name: John Hector Willson; Arrival Date: 26 Jan 1935; Age: 20; Ship Name: Mariposa; Port of Arrival: San Pedro, Wilmington and Los Angeles; Port of Departure: Sydney, Australia; Archive information (series:roll number): m1764:57.
  6. [S483] Australia - Electoral Rolls 1900-1980, (Ancestry.com, (no ref.)) Electorate of Wentworth, Subdivision of Bellevue Hill 1937 p.148.
  7. [S483] Australia - Electoral Rolls 1900-1980, (Ancestry.com, (no ref.)) Electorate of Lilley, Subdivision of Toombul 1949 p.194.
  8. [S483] Australia - Electoral Rolls 1900-1980, (Ancestry.com, (no ref.)) Electorate of Petrie, Subdivision of Windsor 1949 p.19.
  9. [S483] Australia - Electoral Rolls 1900-1980, (Ancestry.com, (no ref.)) Electorate of Petrie, Subdivision of Windsor 1958 p.171.
  10. [S483] Australia - Electoral Rolls 1900-1980, (Ancestry.com, (no ref.)) Electorate of Lilley, Subdivision of Clayfield 1968 p.168.
  11. [S259] Mavis 'Patti' Willson, 11 Mar 2018.
  12. [S483] Australia - Electoral Rolls 1900-1980, (Ancestry.com, (no ref.)) Electorate of Warringah, Subdivision of Middle Harbour 1972 p.25.
  13. [S483] Australia - Electoral Rolls 1900-1980, (Ancestry.com, (no ref.)) Electorate of Petrie, Subdivision of Windsor 1963 p.165.