At this time (July 2021), we do not know much about Corporal Rex Jen. He is not included in the databases of those who served in World War 2. He could be a Rex Jenkins, a Victorian who enlisted in South Australia, serving in the AMF then transferring to the AIF to serve in the 2/9 Armoured Regiment serving in Tarakan, and then Labuan and Brunei Bay, in British North Borneo May - July 1945. We will need to wait until this soldier's records are released for confirmation.
What Rex did leave for us is a poem, written when he was in Port Moresby in 1942. It gives an insight into the thinking of the AMF or "militia", "choco" soldiers gathered in haste and rushed to defend our northern frontier whilst our seasoned troops were still in Libya, Egypt and Syria, half a world away. The poem was sent to us by Jane Faull of Sulky Victoria, she found it whilst sorting her parents' belongings.
If you hear of flowing rivers and green sweeping plains,
If you hear of scant clad maidens and the dusky warrior swains,
Over land of milk and honey where like nests of drowsy bees,
You can settle down in luxury to live a life of ease.
You'll know it isn't Moresby cause Moresby's full of dust,
It's full of filth though camouflaged by a James Fitzpatrick crust,
And if you live here long enough to penetrate the shell,
You'll find that Papa is nothing but a godforsaken hell,
You'll find it full of rats and mice spiders snakes and fleas,
You'll find it full of bugs and flies mosquitoes and disease.
This Australia's frontier against the scourge,
Where soldiers stand beneath land and Nippon southward surge,
Where are these men - you may well ask - who guard the outflung post,
You never hear them moan or groan complain or brag and boast.
And yet I have lived a life of hell at least it's far from sweet,
To sleep on ground in mud and slush and never smell fresh meat,
Once it was folly for a white man to work in midday heat,
And during his siesta it was always best to sleep.
But the men had Moresby have no breaks,
Picks and shovels are their tools,
And they dig and dig the clock around like a patch of blasted fools,
Perspire no they always sweat like a pack of mangy dogs,
And their backs are just a gluepot for a thousand other wogs.
They needed at Port Moresby men experienced and tough,
So they sent a bunch of Chocos who were plenty good enough,
Yes they were only the militia but they know their way around,
They've had their share of bombings too, and sheltered underground,
And they've taken toll Japanese planes, of their ack-ack they are proud
So if you must call them Chocos please call it out aloud!
Have you ever slaved from dawn to dusk in the blaze of a Tropic sun?
Have you ever worked for months without a single bit of fun?
Or lived in musty dugouts floor roof and walls of dirt?
And thought that every "Jappo egg" was aimed at you for cert?
They all admit they loathe the place and they'd welcome their relief,
But while they're here they'll do their job let that be your belief,
Yes there only the militia but I think they've earned some fame,
As the Choco Moles of Moresby which will always be their name.