The Soldier's Details

Surname:
Swann
First Name:
William Thomas
Nick Name:
Bill
Rank:
Private
Regimental #:
WX17907
Company:
‘E’ Company, Special Reserve Battalion
Enlisted:
7.12.1941
Discharged:
13.03.1946
DOB:
16.08.1920
Place of Birth:
London, England
Father's Name:
Robert Walter Swann
Mothers's Name:
Annie Swarm
Religion:
Church of England
Pre-war Occupation:
Tractor Driver
Singapore:
Selarang Camp and Barracks Changi, X6 Party, Changi Gaol Camp.
POW#:
3/9500
Return Details 1945:
Singapore-Darwin‐Sydney, HMT Arawa, Sydney-Melbourne by troop train, Melbourne‐Fremantle, HMT Strathmore.

General Description

Bill Swann was one of ‘Five boys from Mundijong.’  The others included Steve Gleeson (Rtd) George Leipold and Hector Bishop and Syd Darby were killed in action February, 1942.
Although Bill Swann  lived part of childhood  with his family at Holyoake, the Swann  family later moved to Mundijong.   He was well known to the others, and we believe possibly employed at Mundijong prior to his enlistment.  Bill and Steve Gleeson were the only two  men to return.

Parents Robert Walter and Annie Swann migrated from England to Western Australia in 1920 – Bill always maintained he was born on-board the ship. The Swann’s  purchased a small property at Mundijong where they brought up their two sons Bill and Charlie.

 In August 1951 Charlie aged 27 years was killed in an accident, leaving his wife and several children. The small close-knit Swann family was devastated.

Bill’s mother Annie remained living at the family’s Mundijong property until she was no longer able to look after herself. She then moved to live with Bill and his wife Olive. Eventually Bill sold the Mundijong property.

Bill Swann married in 1949 to Olive Elizabeth Smith.  Bill and his wife resided in their home in Tuart Hill/ Mt Yokine for many years.

Bill died17 August 1971 aged 51 years

Further reading about Mundijong boys.

 

Swann, W. T. WX17907
Swann, W. T. WX17907

 

On returning to Western Australia Bill chose not to attend
Anzac Marches or reunions, however he continued a close friendship with ‘Vin’Vincent Wallis WX16422 and George Doodson WX6917. George Doodson was a cook and had worked in a fruit, vegetable and poultry wholesale business prior to WW2. After the war Vin Wallis was a bookmaker.

Swann, Doodson and Wallis cemented their friendship at Changi.

 The three mates continued to meet regularly throughout their lives with their wives and families. They shared various interests.

We know Bill Swann was involved and worked in the ‘Vitamin Centre’ at Changi.

 After the war ended and Bill Swann returned home he took up employment with Bunnings Timber Mills. He knew Gavin Bunning from Changi days and remained employed there until his early retirement from ill health.

 Bill was a man of many talents and interests. He had a passion to work with timber and built several speed boats (using choice timber from Bunning’s warehouses). Swann was successful in twice winning ‘Head of River’ racing events and his mate Vin Wallis was part of his team.

He was also a pioneer barefoot water skier – having a fast boat was a pre-requisite.

Other water interests including diving and underwater photography.  According to family members he was always tinkering away with his projects.

 

 

 

 

Camp Locations:

  • Changi Gaol Camp - Singapore
  • Selarang Barracks Changi - Singapore
  • Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
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