The Soldier's Details

Surname:
Smith
First Name:
George
Rank:
Acting Corporal (Promoted on 24.1.1942)
Regimental #:
WX4891
Classification:
Cook
Company:
‘B’ Company Headquarters
Enlisted:
16.07.1940
DOB:
19.09.1902
Place of Birth:
Brechin, Angus, Scotland
Father's Name:
David Smith
Mothers's Name:
Margaret Smith
Religion:
Presbyterian
Pre-war Occupation:
Bread Carter
Memorial:
Epitaph, Labuan Memorial, Panel 18, Age 42.
Singapore:
Selarang Camp Changi, Johore Bahru, Adam Park, Selarang Barracks Changi
Force:
‘E’ Force Borneo
POW#:
4/4580 & 1550
Cause of Death:
Not Stated
Place of Death:
Sandakan‐Ranau track 2nd Ranau march.
Date of Death:
7.06.1945

General Description

George Smith was included in the 2nd March Sandakan-Ranau – 536 POWs left Sandakan from 29n May 1945 in groups of about 50 and at intervals with their Japanese and Formosan guards.  The sick POWs were loaded up to carry rice, munitions and sometimes the guards belongings. Barefooted they struggled through muddy, slippery swampy land, up and down mountainous slopes all the while prodded by their guards.

George enlisted 16 July 1940, he joined 2/4th MGB ‘B’ Company Headquarters as a Cook.  He sailed to Borneo from Singapore with ‘B’ Force. He was 42 years old when he died 7 June 1945.  George with three 2/4th men (Charlie Holme, Joe Sevier and Kalgoorlie born and educated George Taylor)  were included in about 35 POWs who were tortured and massacred at 55 mile peg about 8 km from the Tangkul Crossing.

 

  Read further about Borneo.

 

Above:  part of complete Sandakan map and photographs of all West Australians who lost their lives at Sandakan.  Please take a look.

He arrived Fremantle from London on board ‘Moreton Bay’ 8 March 1929, aged 27 years.  He was from Scotland.

George’s father died in 1923 in Scotland. His mother and some of his siblings immigrated to Fremantle in 1929 with George, along his wife Aileen and their three children.

Unfortunately we cannot be certain about George’s movements prior to enlisting, or that of his wife Aileen.  He was residing in Como when he enlisted and had been employed as a bread carter.

I wish to acknowledge and thank extended family member ‘Rebecca’ from Perth, WA from whom I was able to confirm essential details.  George Smith is her great uncle and many of her generation in the family knew little of what happened to George.

Should any family members read this, we would appreciate you contacting us.

 

 

Smith, George

 

Smith George

Smith George

 

 

SMITH, Corporal, GEORGE, WX4891, A.I.F. 2/4 M.G. Bn., Australian Infantry. 7 June 1945. Age 42. Son of David and Margaret Smith; husband of Eileen Smith, of Como, Western Australia. Panel 18.

Labuan Memorial, Malaysia.

 

“WA. Paybook photograph, taken on enlistment, of WX4891 Corporal George Smith, 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion, Australian Infantry. He was one of over 2000 Allied prisoners of war (POW) held in the Sandakan POW camp in north Borneo, having been transferred there from Singapore as a part of E Force. The 500 Australian and 500 British POW’s who made up E Force, left Changi on 28 March 1943, on board the S.S. DeKlerk arriving at Berhala Island (adjacent to Sandakan Harbour) on 15 April 1943. The POW’s were held there until 5 June, when they were taken by barge to Sandakan. The next day they were transferred to the 8 Mile Camp, which was about half a mile from the B Force compound. Corporal Smith, aged 42, died as a prisoner of the Japanese on 7 June 1945. He was the son of David and Margaret Smith, and the husband of Eileen Smith, of Como, WA. He is commemorated on the Labuan Memorial Panel 18.”

Camp Locations:

  • Adam Park Camp - Singapore
  • Johore Bahru, - Malaysia
  • Selarang Barracks Changi - Singapore
  • Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
  • Sandakan - Borneo ***
  • Lintang Officers Camp, Kuching - Sarawak
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