The Soldier's Details

Surname:
Trigwell
First Name:
Vernon Chapman
Nick Name:
Vern/Triggy
Rank:
Private
Regimental #:
WX17863
Company:
‘C’ Company
Enlisted:
3.12.1941
DOB:
22.09.1919
Place of Birth:
Donnybrook, Western Australia
Father's Name:
Alfred Trigwell
Mothers's Name:
Mary Jane Trigwell
Religion:
Church of England
Pre-war Occupation:
Farmhand
Memorial:
Epitaph, Labuan Memorial, Panel 19, Age 24.
Singapore:
Selarang Camp Changi
Force:
‘ A’ Force Burma, Green Force, No. 3 Battalion
Camps Thailand:
Tamarkan
Camps Burma:
Victoria Point, Kendau 4.8km, Thetkaw, Meiloe, Augganaung.
POW#:
1485
Japan:
Rakuyo Maru Party, Kumi No. 35
Cause of Death:
Lost at Sea
Place of Death:
South China Sea
Date of Death:
14.09.1944

General Description

Trigwell, Vern - Alf and Tot Trigwells children 1940

Trigwell family, 1940

Back L to R; Merle, Vern (known to friends as Sid) Harold, Eunice

Front L to R; Wal, Tot, Ossie, Alf, Irwin

25th Lighthorse

25th Light Horse

Vern Trigwell in middle row furthest right. Harry Cain second row from top, 4th man from left. Allan Trigwell second row from top, 2nd man from left.

Read more about Vern in Stories  Donnybrook Boys.

Vern Trigwell enlisted in the Militia at Donnybrook 14 March 1941

Service No.  W25644

Unit:  25th Light Horse (Machine Gun) Regiment.

He spent about 3 months training at Melville, before enlisting 2/4th.

Read Letters written to Mrs Trigwell from Harold Thomas Bunker

Also please read about ‘A’ Force Burma, Green Force No. 3

When the POWs had virtually completed the Burma-Thai Railway, they were brought south to one of 4 holding Camps, and or hospitals, in Vern’s case most likely it was Tamarkan.  (Unfortunately there are no records.).   It was here the POWs were ‘fattened up’ – well the food was a vast improvement on what they had survived whilst working on the railway!  Also they were not required to participate in work parties.  It was here the ‘fit’ POWs were selected to go to Japan.  They eventually travelled via Bangkok on the train to French Indo-China, and to Saigon.  Unable to sail out of Saigon because of the American submarine blockade, the men bound for ‘Rakuyo Maru’ were then returned to Singapore by train via Bangkok to Singapore and accommodated at River Valley Road Transit Camp to await an available ship.  Many POWs were sent out on work parties whilst at River Valley Camp.

.

Trigwll Vern
Lubuan Memorial.

 

Vern’s name, as well as his mate Allan Trigwell who died Sandakan, and other 2/4th men William John Tucker WX7484, Norman James Venemore WX9292, Leo Patrick Walsh WX8776, Frederick William Webb WX9829, Frederick William Toms WX7664,  David William Thomas WX6623, who were also lost at sea following the sinking of Rakuyo Maru.  Also included James Wilkie WX8706, Harold Raymond Turner WX 17593 and Arthur Stanley Thorns WX10289 who died Sandakan.

The starkness of farewells of soldiers going to war is no more poignant than the following comment from Vern’s younger brother.

‘Ossie Trigwell, younger brother to Vern was going to school on the morning that Vern was leaving for Northam.  Riding off down the farm track to go to school, he turned to Vern and said, “I haven’t said goodbye yet”.  Vern called out, “Don’t worry about that, I will get leave before I go overseas”.  And that was the last he saw of him as there was no leave.’

 

Height 5′ 7″

Bendall

Trigwell Vern
Trigwell Vern

Vern Trigwell’s name is inscribed on the Donnybrook War Memorial.

Camp Locations:

  • River Valley Road Camp - Singapore
  • Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
  • Aungganaung,105Kilo - Burma
  • Kendau, Kandaw, 4 Kilo - Burma
  • Meilo, 75 Kilo, 340k - Burma
  • Saigon - French Indo China
  • Victoria Point, Kawthoung - Burma. \'A\' Force, Green Force No. 3 Btn
  • Thetkaw 14 Kilo - Burma
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