The Soldier's Details

Surname:
Cooper
First Name:
Hugh Myles
Rank:
Private
Regimental #:
WX15707
Company:
Battalion Headquarters
Enlisted:
12.09.1941
DOB:
8.04.1905
Place of Birth:
Tenterdon, Western Australia
Father's Name:
William Cooper
Mothers's Name:
Sarath Cooper
Religion:
Church of England
Pre-war Occupation:
Labourer
Memorial:
Kanchanaburi War Cemetery, Collective Grave, Plot 10, Row D, Grave 1-3, Age 38.
Singapore:
Selarang Camp Changi, Serangoon Road Camp, Selarang Barracks Changi
Force:
'D' Force Thailand, V Battalion
Camps Thailand:
Kinsaiyok, Brankassi, Hindaine, Kuii
POW#:
4/6017 & 2232
Cause of Death:
Dysentery
Place of Death:
Kuii, Thailand.
Date of Death:
3.10.1943
Buried:
Kuii Cemetery Grave No. 191. Exhumed from Kuii Cemetery and re-interred at Kanchanaburi War Cemetry, Plot 10, Row D Grave No 1-3

General Description

‘The midnight stars are shining upon a silent grave’

The inscription on the grave of Hugh Myles Cooper.

 

Soldier, who was a reinforcement was wounded in action on 11.2.1942. Admitted to Field Ambulance with a shrapnel wound to right thigh. Transferred to 2/13th Australian General Hospital on 16.2.1942. Discharged to unit on 16.2.1942.

Hugh Cooper was selected with the ill-fated ‘D’ Force V Battalion to work on the Thai-Burma Railway.  V Battallion suffered a high death rate and Hugh was one of a large number of 2/4th men to die at Kuii Camp.  He died of dysentery at the age of 38 years and was buried at Kuii Camp Cemetery.  At war’s end his body was moved to rest at Kanchanaburi War Cemetery and is amongst 91 men from the 2/4th.

 

Please read about ‘D’ Force, V Battalion, Kuii Camp.

 

Cooper recorded his last address as Broomehill.  His NOK, his father was residing at Mt. Barker.

Hugh married Marjorie Isabel Forsythe in September 1930.  The couple had two sons, Allan William was born in 1934 and Harold Hames in about 1938.  Allan Cooper died in SA in 1977 aged 42. It is hoped Hugh’s son Allan and descendants learn of Hugh’s very challenging and at times desperate years as a POW, particularly with ‘D’ Force Battalion which suffered a 50% loss of lives, one of the highest on the Burma-Thai Railway.

According to the electoral roles for 1931 – Hugh was working as Farmhand Mingenew, 1936 & 1937. Hugh also had employment inspecting the properties of the Migrant Farm Schemes which floundered terribly.  Marjorie remained living in Perth while Hugh was working away in the country.  It appears Marjorie moved to Bridgetown about 1938 and was managing a boarding house which was why Hugh was working as a farmhand at Bridgetown before he enlisted.

According to family history, the couple had a huge disagreement and Hugh departed to go into the army.  He was not to survive and would never again see his sons, nor his family.

The 1930’s were challenging times for all.  The depression caused widespread unemployment.  It was extremely difficult to secure stable employment for any length of time.  Which is why so many young married men enlisted.

Men saw the chance of earning a regular income enlisting with the military.    Hugh Cooper took the opportunity and he was one of 100s and 100s who did so.

The marriage between Hugh and Marjorie floundered and divorce occurred.  Marjorie Cooper remarried in 1945.

The conditions at Kuii Camp in Thailand where Hugh died in October 1943 were to say the least,  simply terrible.  He would have died thinking of his sons and we sincerely hope for Hugh

‘The midnight stars are shining upon a silent grave’

.

 

 

 

Camp Locations:

  • Selarang Barracks Changi - Singapore
  • Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
  • Serangoon Road Camp - Singapore
  • Brankassi, Prang Kasi, 208k - Thailand
  • Hindaine, Kui Mang 200k - Thailand
  • Kinsaiyok Main, 170.2k - Thailand
  • Kuii, Kui Yae, 185.6k - Thailand
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