The Soldier's Details

First Name:
Eric Francis
Regimental #:
‘A’ Company
Place of Birth:
Perth, Western Australia
Father's Name:
Henry Joseph Osbome,
Mothers's Name:
Edith Beatrice Osborne (nee Ash)
Roman Catholic
Pre-war Occupation:
Kranji War Cemetery, Collective Grave, Plot 30, Row A, Grave 9-13, Age 19.
Cause of Death:
Killed in Action
Place of Death:
Buona Vista
Date of Death:
In a common grave at map reference 784112

General Description

  • Eric Francis Osborne
  • Soldier received a shrapnel wound to the skull. He had spent most of his life in an orphanage.


The above notice is from Eric’s brother Arnold known as ‘Barney’, Allan and sister Lear Beatrice; his mother’s sister Alice, her husband Walter.

Research has found Eric’s mother died in 1929, aged 29 years her youngest child, daughter was about 6 months old.


Edith Beatrice Ash was born 1900 Lake Boga, Victoria.  She married Henry Joseph Osborne at Geraldton in 1922. Henry Osborne was born about 1889 Greenough to John Osborne and Honoria ‘Nora’ Sweeney (died 1963 Fremantle aged 72 years)  John  was working around Greenough in 1922 and 1925, moving to Northampton in 1931.  Edith was recorded on Electoral Roll of 1925 living Harwood Street, Leederville area when she died. Edith had given birth to Henry Rupert Osborne during 1925, he however died in 1928. In 1928 she gave birth to Allan Stanley.  Her daughter Lear Beatrice was born in 1929 and was less than 6 months old when Edith died in December 1929.  This was just months after Rupert Henry died of accidental poisoning – a terrible and shocking moment for Edith to live with.

At the time Edith was mother to Arnold ‘Barney’, Eric, Allan and Lear.  The three boys were sent to Clontarf Boys home, and it is thought Lear was raised by Rupert Ash and his wife Bertha. (Rupert was brother of Edith).



Eric’s Grandfather John Osborne has his name included in the Early Pioneers of Greenough.

Arnold ‘Barney’ Osborne also enlisted in WW2 and returned home, he died in 2010.  Allan Osborne died 2005.

Eric Osborne enlisted the day he turned 19 years of age – at that time 19 was the minimum age.  When he was selected to join 2/4th reinforcements (boarding ‘Aquitania’ which had sailed into Fremantle’s Gauge Roads on 15 January 1942, anchored and departed the following day to Singapore) he had undergone training for no more than four months.  This was the case with so many reinforcements, too young and many more with less training, some for as little as one or two months – and the odds were not in their favour when  ‘E’ Company  ran into the Japanese Ambush where nearly all their (trained) officers were killed and the death rate was too high.  Please read about ‘E’ Company 


Today in 2018 so much has been revealed and written about the horrors children were confronted with at Clontarf.  It is our deepest wish that Eric and his brothers were safe.  For information about the life Clontarf provided the children who were placed there,  please go to

Eric and his brothers may have been placed in the workforce outside of Clontarf at young ages, however for many they remained working at the orphanage, mostly unpaid.  It is tragic Eric and Barney most likely sought to enlist to escape to a better life, as thousands of men did throughout Australia.  On the upside, it may well have been the case, that the three boys were taken from Clontarf by their father or relatives.

Eric enlisted at Isseka which is located in the Shire of Northampton, 10 kms south of Northampton and 32 kms north of Geraldton.  Does this men Eric had been sent to work here, or he had made his way here because his father was working here or nearby, and he required Dad’s permission to enlist?  Or perhaps the boys were taken from Clontarf by their father or extended family much earlier.

Below:  Sister Lear, Allan, Eric and Barney (in uniform)

Allan John Osborne married Northampton 1954 to Verna Jean Mitchell.

Lear Osborne married 1952 Northampton to Trevor M. Murphy.