Donald Laidlaw was born in Adelaide in 1923. In the Second World War he joined the Intelligence Corps, working as a filing clerk at Keswick Barracks and East Terrace. The first months of his employment were dull, so to overcome his mental boredom he chose to study Japanese, which led to his appointment as a Japanese interpreter with the rank of Acting Lance Sergeant at Loveday. Though he worked mainly with the Japanese there, he became acquainted with other national groups also. He noted, ‘Dobbing in a rival as a suspected enemy sympathiser became quite fashionable especially amongst Italians and, although many of the internees subsequently got released upon appeal to a Court of Review because of lack of substantive evidence against them, the process took time and meanwhile the numbers of internees brought to Loveday increased dramatically.’ Laidlaw spent some six months working in 14C under Major Lott. In February 1943 he was transferred to the Central Bureau Intelligence Corps in Brisbane, where he devoted his working life for the next two and a half years to decoding Japanese radio signals.
D H Laidlaw, Anecdotes of a Japanese Translator 1941-1945, Adelaide: the author, 2001.