The Soldier's Details

Surname:
Clay
First Name:
John William
Nick Name:
Jack (or Silverthorne)
Rank:
Private
Regimental #:
WX12488
Company:
‘C’ Company
Enlisted:
6.04.1941
Discharged:
10.12.1945
DOB:
9.10.1916
Place of Birth:
Fremantle, Western Australia
Father's Name:
Unknown
Mothers's Name:
Unknown
Religion:
Roman Catholic
Pre-war Occupation:
Farmhand
Singapore:
Selarang Camp and Barracks Changi, Pulan Blakang Mati, Changi Gaol Camp, Kranji Camp Woodlands
POW#:
4/5998
Return Details 1945:
Singapore-Darwin‐Sydney, HMT Arawa, Sydney-Melbourne by troop train, Melbourne-Fremantle, HMT Strathmore.

General Description

SINGAPORE. 1945-09-09. MEMBERS OF 8TH AUSTRALIAN DIVISION, EX-PRISONERS OF WAR OF THE JAPANESE, AT KALANG AERODROME WAITING TO GREET MEMBERS OF THE 1ST AUSTRALIAN PARATROOP BATTALION ON THEIR ARRIVAL FROM LABUAN. IDENTIFIED PERSONNEL ARE:- SAPPER (SPR) D. H. HERBERT, 2/6TH AUSTRALIAN FIELD PARK COMPANY (2); DRIVER R. J. LEES, 2/18TH AUSTRALIAN INFANTRY BATTALION (3); SPR J. HUNTEL, 2/10TH AUSTRALIAN FIELD COMPANY (4); PRIVATE (PTE) J. W. CLAY, 2/4TH AUSTRALIAN MACHINE GUN BATTALION (5); PTE G. J. WADE, 2/4TH AUSTRALIAN MACHINE GUN BATTALION (6); SIG C. BROOKES, 8TH AUSTRALIAN DIVISION SIGNALS (8).
SINGAPORE. 1945-09-09. MEMBERS OF 8TH AUSTRALIAN DIVISION, EX-PRISONERS OF WAR OF THE JAPANESE, AT KALANG AERODROME WAITING TO GREET MEMBERS OF THE 1ST AUSTRALIAN PARATROOP BATTALION ON THEIR ARRIVAL FROM LABUAN. IDENTIFIED PERSONNEL ARE:- SAPPER (SPR) D. H. HERBERT, 2/6TH AUSTRALIAN FIELD PARK COMPANY (2); DRIVER R. J. LEES, 2/18TH AUSTRALIAN INFANTRY BATTALION (3); SPR J. HUNTEL, 2/10TH AUSTRALIAN FIELD COMPANY (4); PRIVATE (PTE) J. W. CLAY, 2/4TH AUSTRALIAN MACHINE GUN BATTALION (5); PTE G. J. WADE, 2/4TH AUSTRALIAN MACHINE GUN BATTALION (6); SIG C. BROOKES, 8TH AUSTRALIAN DIVISION SIGNALS (8).

 

Jack Clay was one of 9 men from 2/4th who was sent to Pulau Blakang Maki.  Please read further

 

View the video – audio not available – of John Clay’s return to Singapore.

 

 

Jack’s birth name was Clarence William Clay.   He was born  Unmarried Mothers Hospital, Hopetown Road, South Fremantle.  He spent his formative years at a private home, with ‘Mrs Richards’ as she was referred to by later family members.

At the age of 14 years, Jack was at Tardun Boys Home, Geraldton.  Tardun Farm was established in 1931 and later in 1948 became a hostel for aboriginal children.

Jack Clay married 1940 to Frances Helen Bedford.  They had one daughter Ann.

Below, Frances’ father dies while Jack is POW.

 

Prior to enlisting Jack was living in Fremantle area and employed as a tractor driver.

6 May 1947, at Harvey, Jack legally applied to change his birth name, ‘Clarence William’ to ‘John William Clay’.

After the war he found employment with WAGR and was found to be residing in Marmion Street,  Palmyra.  They remained here through to 1972 although Frances died suddenly in 1965. 

 

Clay, Jack 1970

 

 

In 1975 Jack remarried Ethel Best.

Jack Clay died in Rockingham in 25 October 1985 aged 69 years.

We wish to acknowledge and thank Stephanie Gregg who provided and confirmed much of the information about Jack Clay.

Strephanie is married to grandson of Jack Clay.

 

 

Camp Locations:

  • Changi Gaol Camp - Singapore
  • Kranji Camp Woodlands - Singapore
  • Pulau Blakang Mat - Singapore ***
  • Selarang Barracks Changi - Singapore
  • Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
Back