The Soldier's Details

Surname:
Holding
First Name:
Walter
Nick Name:
Wally
Rank:
Private
Regimental #:
WX17634
Company:
‘E’ Company, Special Reserve Battalion
Enlisted:
12.11.1941
Discharged:
29.11.1945
DOB:
13.08.1919
Place of Birth:
Bassendean, Western Australia
Father's Name:
Walter Holding
Mothers's Name:
Hilda Rose Holding
Religion:
Church of England
Pre-war Occupation:
Engine Cleaner and Driver (Railways)
Singapore:
Selarang Camp Changi; Johore Bahru; Adam Park; River Valley Road Camp; Selarang Barracks Changi; Levelling Party, Changi Aerodrome; P Party; Changi Gaol Camp
Force:
‘F’ Force Thailand
Camps Thailand:
Shimo Sonkurai, Sonkurai, Kami Sonkurai
POW#:
1/8062
Return Details 1945:
Singapore-Darwin-Sydney, HMT Arawa; Sydney-Melbourne by troop train; Melbourne-Fremantle, HMT Strathmore

General Description

Wally was with 10th Light Horse Militia prior to enlisting AIF however he was manpowered because he was working for WAGR. In his keenness to serve, he regularly applied every time the recruiting agencies visited.  Finally Wally approached a former employer from Mullewa, a  WW1 Sergeant Major from 11th Battalion.    Within 10 days in Nov 1940, Wally finally received notice to report to Claremont Camp.

On arrival at Singapore 1942, Wally was transferred to newly established ‘E’ Force Special Reserve Battalion made up from the 128 reinforcements who joined 2/4th at Fremantle 15 Jan 1942 on board ‘Aquitania’.  Too many of these men were ‘raw’ recruits having enlisted Oct,Nov and as late as Dec 1941.

‘E’ Company Special Reserve Battalion ran into a Japanese ambush at Bukit Timah on 11 Feb 1942 and the loss of lives was horrendous, more than half of battalion died including nearly all experienced offers who had transferred from other 2/4th Companies.

Please read further.

Wally was selected from Singapore to work on Burma-Thai Railway with ‘F’ Force.  Please read further about ‘F’ Force.

Wally’s own words provide an insight into ‘F’ Forces participation of working on the railway.  Again there were far too deaths from starvation and tropical illnesses when ‘F’ Force returned to Singapore late 1943 and early 1944.  This group of POWs returned in the most appalling state, most of them unrecognisable.  Some too ill remained behind in Thailand – if they recovered they returned to Singapore.

He was recovered from Singapore at the end of the war.

 

_____________

 

In 1943 Wally’s family receives the first ever news of him since the war ended in Singapore, 15 months earlier.

You can read entire copy of Wally’s writings, now uploaded to AWM.  Please go to

https://www.wa.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-01/Holding_Walter.pdf

 

Service commemorating 65 years since VJ Day - 2010
Service commemorating 65 years since VJ Day – 2010.

Wally Holding 3rd from Right.

POW Memorial, Kings Park, 2013 Service to Remember End of War & Victory over Japan - Veterans John Gimour, Ron Badock, Dick Ridgwell, Wally Holding.
POW Memorial, Kings Park, 2013 Service to Remember End of War & Victory over Japan – Veterans John Gimour, Ron Badock, Dick Ridgwell, Wally Holding.

 

Hulland, Turrell, Colevas, Holding, Dunnell & Worth
Hulland, Turrell, Colevas, Holding, Dunnell & Worth

 

View Peter Winstanley’s video interview of Wally Holding WX17634.

In 2001 Wally Holding was presented with an OAM for services to veterans and their families.

‘MEDAL (OAM) OF THE ORDER OF AUSTRALIA IN THE GENERAL DIVISION 175

Mr Walter (Wally) HOLDING, 16 First Avenue, Mandurah WA 6210

For service to veterans and their families.

Member, Mandurah Sub-Branch, Returned and Services League of Australia, since 1988;

Member, since 1946; Life Member, 1994; Welfare, Membership and Recruiting Officer, since

1988; various other leadership roles.

Executive Committee Member, Burma Thailand Railway Memorial Association, since 2002.

Member, War Veterans Extremely Disabled Society of Western Australia.

Awards/recognition include:

Meritorious Medal, Returned and Services League of Australia, 2001.’

 

After returning from the war Wally and Wynn married, moved to Narrogin where they had a family of 5 children.  Wally remained in close contact with his former 2/4th mates and always welcomed visits to have a chat.  

He and Wynn were active members of the Narrogin RSL Sub Branch.

Read  part 1 of Wally’s story as written by him. Part 2.

Also read World War II Experiences of WX17634 Pte W Holding.

 

Wally Holding, Syd Darby19012017

 

Holding W

Article from The West Australian April 16 2010.

 

Wally was a Bassendean Boy.  Please read story.

In 1972 Win and Wally hosted the Country Re-union at Narrogin.  Most attending 2/4th Members arrived Narrogin by 5 pm at  Bowling Club for a get together then onto RSL Hall for an ‘excellent’ buffet tea.  (According to Borehole January 1973) which went onto say ‘that afterwards the evening got going with plenty of dancing and liquid refreshments ending up with a BBQ.’

Sunday morning saw everyone back at Bowling Club where the then President Mr Hall welcomed everybody and hoped they would be back again.

The list of those attending: Eileen & Percy Tompkins, Norma & John McPherson, Joyce & ‘Squeaker’ Murdock, Glad & Eric Fraser, Lil & Tom Gibson, Pauline & Peter Dimopoulos, Audrey & Greg Burdon, Ruth & Gus Magor, Pat & Harold Mundy, Grace & Laurie Tapper, Imelda & George Battye, Ivy & Lofty Watt, Marge & jack Crispin, Thelma & Ern Shackleton, Edna & Lofty Armstrong, Marge & Ted Felthan, Betty & Harry Lucas, Jonny Morgan, Harry Blakiston, Alice & Les Lee, Win & Wal Holding, Bill Cake, Bill Barron, Fred Bellchambers, Barbara & Mr Gibson, Kathie & Gordon Magor, Syd Gorringe.

To read further in this 1973 Borehole Bulletin

 

Wally Holding passed away on 13 November, 2013 at Mandurah aged 94 years.  He lived a full and active life, and in later years with his wife Wynn, dedicated much time to the RSL in Mandurah, youth and community affairs.

Camp Locations:

  • Adam Park Camp - Singapore
  • Changi Aerodrome - Singapore
  • Changi Gaol Camp - Singapore
  • Johore Bahru, - Malaysia
  • River Valley Road Camp - Singapore
  • Selarang Barracks Changi - Singapore
  • Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
  • P Party, Johore Bahru - Singapore
  • Kami Songkurai, 299k - Thailand
  • Songkurai 294k - Thailand
  • Shimo Sonkurai, 288k - Thailand
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