The Soldier's Details

Surname:
Arbery
First Name:
Ronald Edward
Nick Name:
Ron
Rank:
Sergeant
Regimental #:
WX10787
Company:
'D' Company
Enlisted:
15.01.1941
Discharged:
24.01.1946
DOB:
4.02.1919
Place of Birth:
Perth, Western Australia
Father's Name:
John Thomas Arbery
Mothers's Name:
Elizabeth Agnes Arbery
Religion:
Church of England
Pre-war Occupation:
Warehouseman
Singapore:
Selarang Camp Changi. Johore Bahru, Adam Park, Selerang Barracks Changi
Force:
'D' Force Thailand, S Battalion.
Camps Thailand:
Kanu II, (evacuated sick to Kanchanaburi 5.7.1943‐30.11.1943), Chungkai (1.12.1943‐20.4.1944), Tamuang (22.4.1944-22.6.1944)
Camps Japan:
Yamane, Nihama (blast furnace)
POW#:
4/4433, 8716, 1527.
Japan:
Rashin Maru Party
Return Details 1945:
Wakayarna-Okinawa, USS Sanctuary, Okinawa-Manila, USS Bingham , Manila-Sydney, HMS Speaker, Sydney-Fremantle, HMT Dominion Monarch.

General Description

Soldier was wounded in action at 0800 hours on 8/2/1942.  Admitted to 2/13th Australian General Hospital on 10/2/1942 with a gunshot wound to his scalp.  Transferred to  2/2/nd Convalescent Depot on 12/2/1942 and discharged to unit on 20/3/1942.

Ron was versatile musician.  It is believed he played at social events.  He was a French Polisher by trade and returned to his trade.

On 20th May 1952 Ron Arbery committed suicide. He was 33 years old.

He remained unmarried and had resided with his mother for a time.  Ron’s closest 2/4th mates had known of his struggle, however times were challenging.  The returning POWs were instructed not to discuss their lives and experiences – and families and friends were told not to talk about their men’s’ war.   

Ron in his despair chose death over life.  He ended his life by lying on the railway line near Maylands. 

Ron was not the only suicide in the 2/4th group.   There were a number of suicides.

The helplessness and inability to prevent these deaths continues to rip apart families and communities. What did these tragedies do to former POWs, particularly to those mates and those known to Ron?     

To survive 3 1/2 years being a POW in the most inhumane circumstances and live to return home and safe and choose death over life shows us the fragility of not only their physical welfare but as importantly their spirits, which were so often crushed. 

These events occurred after WWI; were repeated after WW2 and today the same events tear families apart when their sons/husbands return from the war zones.  The authorities must effectively address these terrible events.

No soldier who has served his country should live his life feeling unworthy, alone and so filled with despair that they find their only option is to end their lives. 

We as communities are obliged to press relevant departments to act to prevent the loss of young Australian lives.

These events live with families for generations.

For further reading D Company

 

 

 

Camp Locations:

  • Adam Park Camp - Singapore
  • Johore Bahru, - Malaysia
  • Selarang Barracks Changi - Singapore
  • Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
  • Chungkai, 60k - Thailand
  • Kanu II, 152.30k - Thailand
  • Tamuang, Tha Muang 39k - Thailand
  • Nihama, Hiroshima #2-B- Japan
  • Yamane, Hiroshima #3-D - Japan
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