Private George Beale was born in Quirindi, New South Wales, in 1904. In June 1941, along with his younger brother Frederick, George enlisted in the Australian Army. George and Frederick were sent to the 2/20th Battalion, to defend the Malay peninsula in 1941. However, the Japanese forces drove the British forces into Singapore. In1942 the Beale brothers, along with thousands of others, were captured by the Japanese and became prisoners of war and were later sent to Japan, to work in the Naoetsu Camp. Here George worked in a steel mill under extremely harsh conditions. Prisoners were forced to run to and from the mill, a mile from the camp, on an inadequate diet. They often worked long shifts, frequently a full 24 hours, in inadequate clothing and often barefoot.