The Soldier's Details
- First Name:
- Thomas Rantoul
- Nick Name:
- Regimental #:
- 'B' Company, No. 8 Platoon.
- Place of Birth:
- Newcastle, England
- Father's Name:
- John Rantoul Fotheringham
- Mothers's Name:
- Annie Fotheringham
- Church of England
- Pre-war Occupation:
- Wire Drawer
- Epitaph, Labuan Memorial, Panel 18, Age 24.
- Selarang Camp Changi, Johore Bahru, Adam Park
- 'B' Force Borneo
- Cause of Death:
- Place of Death:
- Sandakan-Ranau track, 2nd Ranau march.
- Date of Death:
Tom’s parents John and Annie Perry married in 1920. John had served from 1915 to 1919 with Northumberland Fusiliers, enlisting when he was 22 years of age. John’s brother Thomas Rantoul Fotheringham also enlisted and tragically died aged 21 years on 20 October 1917 in France. John named his first-born son after his brother. Twenty eight years later, the death of his son Tom aged 24 years in 1945 in Borneo would have torn John and Annie’s hearts.
Tom departed London on-board “Esperance Bay” on 22 April 1924 for Australia with his father John, a miner and his mother Annie. Tom aged 2 years was accompanied by his sister Norah aged 1 year and brother David aged 2 months.
The family took up land with Group Settlement No. 52 Lennox, Loc. 2395 near Busselton in 26 May 1924.
It is not known how long the family remained on this property before moving to Perth. The family grew to include another 5 children – Jack, Jim, Bill, Nancy and Florence.
The Electoral Roll for 1931 has the family residing on the No 523 Lennox. Tom’s father died in 1954 in Perth.
This whole Group Settlement scheme was far from satisfactory, the settlers unprepared for the harshness of Australia and the Scheme itself was fraught with failure. It left many 100s of settlers destitute.
The Fotheringham family, including Tom was residing in West Perth when he enlisted.
Tom enlisted in 24 April 1939 with the 28th Battalion Militia.
Tom was selected in Singapore to sail with ‘B’ Force’ where they were to construct an aerodrome at Sandakan. Read further.
He died of beri beri whilst on 2nd March at Murawatto in the vicinity of 42 mile peg near track to Beluran on 7 June 1945 aged 24 years.
His body was found after the war by Track Recoveries on the Sandakan-Ranau Route.
The 2nd March made up of 536 POWs left Sandakan in groups of 50-60 commencing 29 May 1945.
Below: Tom’s father John died in 1954.
- Adam Park Camp - Singapore
- Johore Bahru, - Malaysia
- Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
- Sandakan - Borneo ***