The Soldier's Details
- First Name:
- Frederick Joseph
- Nick Name:
- Regimental #:
- 'E' Company, Special Reserve Battalion
- Place of Birth:
- Paddington, New South Wales
- Father's Name:
- Frederick Joseph Heinz-Smith
- Mothers's Name:
- Ada Maude Heinz-Smith (nee Brennan)
- Roman Catholic
- Pre-war Occupation:
- Thanbyuzayat War Cemetery, Plot A10, Row G, Grave 18, Age 40.
- Selarang Camp Changi, Johore Bahru, Adam Park, Selarang Barracks Changi
- 'F' Force Thailand
- Camps Thailand:
- Kami Sonkurai 116 km
- Cause of Death:
- Malaria, Dysentery , Tropical Ulcers and Avitaminosis.
- Place of Death:
- Kami (Upper) Sonkurai 118K
- Date of Death:
- Grave No. 18, Kami Sonkurai.
Soldier was with Militia 15.5.1941 to 10.12.1941 prior to enlisting 11.12.1941 with 2/4th, as a Reinforcement.
With ‘E’ Company he was one of the fortunate few to survive a Japanese ambush at South West Bukit Timah on 11 February 1942. Only about 88 of 200 men were lucky.
As a POW at Singapore, Fred was selected to work on Thai-Burma Railway with ‘F’ Force.
‘F’ Force departed Singapore Railway Station beginning 16 April 1943 – men crammed into small wagons travelled 4 days to Thailand. From the transit camp at Konma, Thailand ‘F’ Force would walk between 17-25 days in heavy tropical country to their first work camps. Before the POWs reached their intended destination, there was evidence of high percentage of illness.
Of the 3,660 Australians in ‘F’ Force there were 49 men from 2/4th. 19 of these died, including Fred Heinz-Smith aged 40 years.
There were also 7,000 British POWs and a large number of Dutch.
At least 30% the combined POWs were recovering sick from Singapore. Many others were considered too old, some not trained soldiers such as entertainers and supplementary staff. ‘F’ Force was unlike other Forces – the Japanese told them they would not be a work party! They needed to move the Force because food was dwindling in Singapore – the POWs would be relocated to a rest Camp. This of course was a lie.
Another problem ‘F’ Force was administered from Singapore and this was a major reason for irregular food supplies. ‘F’ Force returned to Singapore once the railway was completed. ‘A’ and ‘D’ Force POWs were selected to work in Japan or remained working in Thailand.
‘F’ Force Australians would work at Simo (Lower) Sonkurai, Kami (Upper) Sonkurai and Konkoita. These locations were remotely located. ‘F’ Force HQ was at Neikhe Camp.
Cholera was diagnosed within days of their arrived. ‘F’ Force had not been inoculated before departing Singapore. It became evident and urgent the POWs had to inoculated as soon as possible and supplies sought.
The rains had begun, the work hours extremely long and the food supply erratic and poor. The Japanese became extremely hostile as the numbers of available working men continued to fall with illness and deaths. ‘F’ Force suffered terrible loss of life.
You may like to read personal account by Wally Holding WX17634 of ‘E’ Force and who also was sent to Thailand with ‘F’ Force.
Fred was born Frederick Joseph Heinz. He had a younger brother Arthur Francis born 1905. Their mother Ada Maude Brennan born in Bendigo married their father about 1901 NSW. Ada Maude remarried and her sons adopted the name of Smith and they spent their lives known as such.
It is not known when the Smith family moved to Boulder, WA.
Fred Smith married in 1927 East Coolgardie to Doris Lillian Davis. Their three children were born Smith, however when Fred enlisted the Army insisted he use his birth name of Heinz. There was a compromise of Heinz-Smith.
Fred adopted the surname Heinz-Smith and his brother Arthur remained Arthur Francis Smith.
Doris Davis was born about 1901 Bendigo, Victoria. Her parents moved to Boulder soon after.
Doris was recorded residing in Boulder in the Electoral Rolls 1922 and 1925. She was probably living with her mother Elizabeth.
Fred and Doris had a family of one daughter Vonda and two sons Douglas and Freddy.
Below: the death of Fred’s mother in 1950.
Fred Smith’s son, Frederick K. Smith’s letter explaining the family name change.
- Adam Park Camp - Singapore
- Johore Bahru, - Malaysia
- Selarang Barracks Changi - Singapore
- Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
- Kami Songkurai, 299k - Thailand