The Soldier's Details

Surname:
Crane
First Name:
Thomas Daniel
Nick Name:
Danny
Rank:
Private
Regimental #:
WX16441
Classification:
Batman/Runner to Lt DeMoulin
Company:
Headquarters, ‘E’ Company, Special Reserve Battalion
Enlisted:
10.09.1941
Discharged:
17.10.1946
DOB:
8.09.1907
Place of Birth:
Zeehan, Tasmania
Father's Name:
John Isaac (Jack) Crane Jnr
Mothers's Name:
Ada Sarah Crane (nee Maudsley)
Religion:
Church of England
Pre-war Occupation:
Bogger
Singapore:
Selarang Camp and Barracks Changi
Force:
‘D’ Force Thailand, T Battalion, W.O.II, John Dooley Party
Camps Thailand:
Chungkai, Non Pladuk, Tarsau, Wampo, Kanu II, Hintok, Kinsaiyojk
Return Details 1945:
Saigon-Bangkok‐Singapore by aircraft

General Description

 

Read about Dooley Party

Recovered Saigon Docks Camp 2/9/1945.

Read about Both Party, Saigon.

Arrived Singapore ex-Saigon 20/9/1945.

 

‘Danny’ Crane was selected in Singapore to work on Burma-Thai Railway with ‘D’ Force T Battalion (Group 18) which departed by train from Singapore about 16 March 1943 for Bampong, Thailand. He joined the WO Dooley Party.

At Non Pladuk 4.3.44 he joined Capt Harris Party.

On 2.2.1945 Crane left Chungkai for Saigon where he remained until the end of the war and was recovered on 2.9.1945.  He arrived at Singapore from Saigon on 20 Sept 1945.

 

Daniel Crane was the youngest of 10 children born to his parents Ada Sarah Maudsley and John Isaac Crane and the family resided at Strahan, Tasmania.  There were 6 boys and 4 girls.  The eldest child, Gordon Maudsley Crane enlisted WW11 with 12th Battalion in 1926.  He was KIA September 1918 aged 30 years.

It is not known when Thomas Crane moved to WA nor when he returned to live in Tasmania.

He died 19 January 1974 aged 70 years and was buried at Strahan Cemetery, where most of family including his wife Gwen are also buried.

 

 

Below is a transcript of Rob Crane’s interview in which he mentions his grandmother Ada Sarah Crane, mother of Thomas Daniel Crane.

30 April, 2014 3:04PM AEST

Cowboy Crane’s life with Huon pine  By Rick Eaves

Bob ‘Cowboy’ Crane is undoubtedly one of Tasmania’s greatest bush characters. At 91 the former Huon piner and miller fears only one thing; ‘bloody boredom’

The men who cut Huon pine in the extreme isolation of Western Tasmania’s wild river systems were some of the more unique and capable characters you could hope to meet.

Of course there aren’t many left to meet these days, 48 years after the selective logging of the world-famous boat-building timber was stopped.

Cowboy is 92 this year and still a resident of Strahan, where he was born. Along the way he has worked horse-teams in the west coast wilderness and stayed a competitive axeman into his mid 80s.

He’s officially retired from working his Huon pine sawmill in Strahan, but that’s where you’ll often find him anyway.

He sharpens the mill’s saws and his many amazing life stories, always told in a characterful drawl befitting the name Cowboy.

These days, the three surviving Huon pine mills on the west coast, including the Crane’s, are fed largely by ‘down’ or dead timber from the Teepookana Plateau.

Cowboy doesn’t mind going ‘out on a limb’, quite literally, to relieve the ‘bloody boredom’ of retirement.

A decade or so ago he shimmied up a huge King Billy log, angling up from the ground, to get a view of the timber growing under Mt Strahan. He used his axe to grip the log and hauled himself up on it. When the bark gave way, he found himself hanging upside down by his ankle.

“You know what me thoughts was as I was hanging there? I thought ‘me boys are going to come out here and find a skeleton hanging from the tree’,” he says with a hearty laugh.

Cowboy’s life is rich and full, but the story of his predecessors is even more so. His great grandfather, Patrick O’ Doherty, was a transported Irish convict, flogged twice for escaping work gangs in Hobart before being sent to Port Arthur.

“Here it is in all that beautiful handwriting; 30 strokes of the cat, 30 days of solitary.”

On his release he went to the wild and remote Port Davey to cut Huon pine. Like a lot of freed convicts, Cowboy thinks he wanted a bit of distance from the system.

“He drowned down at Esperance. His boys rowed up here to Strahan and set up their pining operations on the South bank of the King.

“My sons Michael and Kelly are the fourth and my grandson Daniel is the fifth generation to work in Huon pine. Long time isn’t it!?”

Cowboys grandmother, Ada Sarah Crane, was another memorable character of the west coast. She owned trotters and was the only woman who dared to go under the grandstand with the men to ‘booze on’ after the races in Strahan, Queenstown and Zeehan.

“She remembered, cause she lived out of Hobart as a kid, her and her friend they seen Martin Cash and his gang coming along the road towards them.

“They hid in the scrub ’til he went past so there you go, there’s a bush ranger coming at ya. She was only a young girl then.”

The retired Cowboy Crane has terribly sore knees but he still sharpens the saws and does a bit of bush work for the mill. He can’t imagine not working with the pine and being around its distinctive aroma.

“I don’t know, I have to do things. I just get so bloooddy bored!” he says with that trademark drawl and grin.’

 

 

 

Camp Locations:

  • Selarang Barracks Changi - Singapore
  • Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
  • Chungkai, 60k - Thailand
  • Hintok River Camp, 158k - Thailand
  • Kanu II, 152.30k - Thailand
  • Non Pladuk, 0k - Thailand
  • Tarsau, Tha Sao 125k - Thailand
  • Wampo, Wang Pho 114k - Thailand ***
  • Saigon - French Indo China
  • Kinsaiyok Jungle No.2 Camp, 167.7Km - Thailand
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