Alexander George Cardwell
- Born: 7 May 1916, Tallangatta, Victoria, Australia
- Marriage (1): Jessie Agnes Tobias on 17 Jun 1944 in Deepdene, Victoria, Australia
- Marriage (2): Lillian Helena Tobias in Gympie, Queensland, Australia
- Died: 20 Feb 2006, Noosa Heads, Queensland, Australia at age 89
Another name for Alexander was George Cardwell.
He was commonly known as George.
George Cardwell endured a terrible time while serving with the 2/22nd Battalion of the AIF in Rabaul in New Guinea. The 2/22nd, along with a couple of other units formed the so-called "Lark Force" whose role was to protect the airfields at Lakunai and Vunakanau, the seaplane base at Rabaul, and to provide early warning of Japanese activity in the islands to Australia's north. They were ill-equipped and woefully undermanned. In January 1942 the 1400 strong Lark Force was completely overwhelmed by a relentless Japanese bombing campaign and the eventual arrival of 5000 enemy troops. On 23 January the commanding officer, Colonel John Scanlan, issued the order to retreat on the basis of "every man for himself". The chaotic retreat saw only 400 of the men, including George, successfully evade the invading Japanese forces either in small groups, pairs or singly. They all made their own way along the coast and tried to find a boat of some description to get them off the island and back to Australia. George and two of his mates managed to escape on a native fishing boat known as a "Lakatoi" which they sailed to Cairns. They were emaciated on arrival and George and was suffering from malaria.
Most of the men of Lark Force were not so fortunate. 160 Australians were captured by the Japanese and summarily executed at Tol Plantation while another 839 were taken as Prisoners of War. Most of them subsequently died when the ship taking them as prisoners to Hainan Island, the Montevideo Maru, was torpedoed by a US submarine and sank. The handful of Australian officers who were not on that ship were later sent to Japan where they remained as POWs until the war ended in 1945. According to one of George's daughters his wartime experiences deeply affected him for the rest of his life.
George married Jessie Tobias towards the end of the war and they had three daughters together in the years immediately after the war after moving to the Cardwell family property "Riversdale" in Tallangatta, Victoria. The marriage ended in the early 1950's and George moved to Tenterfield in NSW where he built a new life with Jessie's sister Lillian and had another two daughters with her. In 1973 they retired to Queensland.
Alexander married Jessie Agnes Tobias, daughter of Robert James Tobias and Euphemia Cadzow Jones, on 17 Jun 1944 in Deepdene, Victoria, Australia. (Jessie Agnes Tobias was born on 15 Nov 1910 in Harrietville, Victoria, Australia and died in 1998 in Ashwood, Victoria, Australia.)
Alexander next married Lillian Helena Tobias, daughter of Robert James Tobias and Euphemia Cadzow Jones, in Gympie, Queensland, Australia. (Lillian Helena Tobias was born on 3 Jul 1915 in Harrietville, Victoria, Australia and died on 21 Feb 2007 in Noosa Heads, Queensland, Australia.)