The Soldier's Details

Surname:
Parke
First Name:
Albert Sydney
Nick Name:
Bert, Major or Buff
Rank:
Private
Regimental #:
WX7724
Company:
‘A’ Company
Enlisted:
10.08.1940
Discharged:
23.05.1946
DOB:
3.07.1914
Place of Birth:
Donnybrook, Western Australia
Father's Name:
Sydney Spencer Parke
Mothers's Name:
Kathleen Mary Parke
Religion:
Methodist
Pre-war Occupation:
Orchard Worker
Singapore:
Selarang Camp Changi
Force:
‘A’ Force Burma, Green Force, No. 3 Battalion
Camps Thailand:
Khonkan 55km (medical orderly from 7.7.1943-19.10.1943); Tamarkan; Nacompaton; Bangkok
POW#:
1530
Return Details 1945:
Thailand‐Singapore by aircraft; Singapore-Perth, no details are known

General Description

Quorn, SA. 11 October 1941. Group portrait of four members of A Company, 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion in front of a train locomotive en route from Woodside camp to Alice Springs. From left to right: Charlie Parke, WX7007 Edward George (Eddie) Burton (died of illness on 21 February 1945 in Sandakan, Borneo, whilst a Prisoner of War (POW)), A. S. Parke, unidentified.

Quorn, SA. 11 October 1941. ‘A’ Company members, 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion en route from Woodside Camp to Alice Springs. L-R  Albert (Bert) Parke WX7007,  Edward George (Eddie) Burton (died of illness 21 February 1945 Sandakan) Charles Spencer (Charlie) Parke and Eric Joseph Holst WX8678 (perished Sandakan March 1945).

 

The Parke brothers enlisted on the same day 10/8/1940.

A single farmer in Nannup at the time of his enlistment, Bert spent a month at Melville Training Depot.   In September he was sent to Northam to 2nd Depot Battalion, then  3rd Depot Battalion. On 4 December 1940 he was transferred to 2/4th all the while at Northam.

He married Dulcie Jean Turnock at the Methodist Church in Northam 1 March 1941.  Unlike many men at Northam, his bride was for much of that time, close by living with her parents at 8 Stoke Avenue.

Albert managed 10 days leave in July 1941 a week before leaving for South Australia.

On 12 December 1941, their first child, Leslie Albert was born.

When the Aquatania arrrived off Fremantle, Albert was one of many men who went AWOL.  Gone from 2pm 15 January, arriving back at 12pm the next day. No doubt he sought to see his wife and son.He sailed on the Aquitania and finally disembarked in Singapore on 24 January, 1942.

Parke Brothers, Charles & Albert Sydney
Parke Brothers, Bert and Charlie

 

Albert returned to Perth from Brisbane by train on 21 October 1945. He was discharged on 23 May 1946 with 90% disability due to corneal scarring in both eyes.

Albert Parke relayed the following many years ago to Ossie Trigwell, brother of Vern Trigwell. The story and details have been prepared by Sally Kenton (January 2017)

‘What happened at the 75 kilo was more or less as follows – “On a working party carrying poles, a Jap was yelling his head off. If I hadn’t had my foot in my mouth it would never have happened, for I told him to shut his so and so mouth and went into a bit of his pedigree, which he understood!   He was standing on the other side of the log pile and I received a wallop in the stomach and shoulder laying me low with a bellyache and put me into hospital with nothing to eat for 14 days.

I was Just starting to take a drink when the Japs had a blitz, entering the hospital I was considered fit – of the 70 hospitalised men the Japanese half reduced the number of men to remain. I left the hospital after a drink at midday. It was a very slow trip, about 250 metres in about five hours finally arriving at dark.

I should say a world record.

Next morning I could not swallow and all that day had no food. So, that night Vern Trigwell and Bert Wall (at that time were working in the Jap’s kitchen) decided to pinch a tin of steak and kidney pie that they heated and brought to me. I just about ate the Dixie as well! They had endangered themselves for me.

Thank you Vern and Bert!

I did no further work at the 75 and the boys moved out a week or so later to the 105 kilo I went up by foot about 4 weeks later, just as it began to rain. It rained more or less continuously over the next 3 months with200+ inches at Three Pagoda Pass. We faced continual rain accompanied by malaria, ulcers, diarrhoea and other injuries and illnesses.’

 

 

He died 1 May 1994.

 

 

Camp Locations:

  • Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
  • Nacompaton, Nakom Pathom Hospital - Thailand
  • Tamarkan, Tha Makham 56k - Thailand
  • Khonkan, 55Kilo Hospital 360k - Burma
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