The Soldier's Details

Surname:
Finlay
First Name:
Thomas Albert
Nick Name:
Tom
Rank:
Private
Regimental #:
WX7886
Company:
‘B’ Company
Enlisted:
13.08.1940
Discharged:
14.02.1946
DOB:
1.11.1917
Place of Birth:
Collie, Western Australia
Father's Name:
James Alexander Finlay
Mothers's Name:
Edith Finlay
Religion:
Methodist
Pre-war Occupation:
Shop Assistant
Singapore:
Selarang Camp and Barracks Changi
Force:
‘D’ Force Thailand, S Battalion
Camps Thailand:
Kanu II, Non Pladuk
Camps Japan:
Yamane, Niihama
POW#:
4/6118, 8774 and 1611
Japan:
Rashin Maru Party
Return Details 1945:
Wakayama-Okinawa, USS Sanctuary; Okinawa-Manila, USS Bingham; Manila-Morotai-Darwin-Perth, B24 Liberator Aircraft A72-379

General Description

Collie boys – Tom Green, James Flanagan, Tom Finlay

 

Tom was a Collie boy,  please read about this large contingency of 2/4th men.

From Singapore Tom was selected to work on the Burma-Thai Railway with ‘D’ Force Thailand ‘S’ Battalion which left by train from Singapore for Bampong, Thailand on 14 March 1943.

It was a hellish 5 day trip crammed into small railway trucks without ventilation and the men taking turns to sit/lie down as well as sit by the opened door during daytime when the temperature inside became unbearable.  The nights were freezing cold.

After spending a few nights at Konma Transit Camp nearby to Bampong  they were trucked to Kanchanaburi.  The stopover was brief and they marched out to Tarsau Camp (HQ for S Battation).  It was here the POWs worked several weeks clearing a pathway for the rail link.

S Battalion was next moved to Konyu II to work on the Hellfire Pass Cutting.  It was here the POWs found their worst nightmares come true.  Conditions and work was worse than previously experienced – working long hours with limited food, little clothing and mostly no shoes, no medicines for tropical diseases they had never heard of, beatings from their guards, ulcers caused by flying pieces of rock as they chipped their way through the cutting.  Men lost their lives to ulcers, malaria, dysentery and finally Cholera hit their camp. As well it was monsoonal rains.

The men relied hugely on mateship to get them through one miserable day to the next, and the next.

Following speedo and the completion of the railway, the men were evacuated further south.  Tom was considered fit by the Japanese and selected to work in Japan with the ‘Rashin Maru’ Part.    He was fortunate again to be selected in a party with a large number of 2/4th men.  Their 70 day sea journey from Singapore to Japan on the ‘Rashin’ Maru was terrifying to say the least.

Tom worked at Yamanii and Nihama from where he was recovered at the end of the war.

 

 

Tom Finlay grew up in Collie and was working there prior to enlisting.  He had several brothers however it is not known how many or if there were sisters.

He returned to Collie and his family after war and remained living there for some years with his wife Mary Fances Hughes whom he married about 1947.  In the 1960’s Tom and Mary moved and lived in Bicton.

Tom died 25 January 1973 at Fremantle aged 56 years.

Camp Locations:

  • Selarang Barracks Changi - Singapore
  • Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
  • Kanu II, 152.30k - Thailand
  • Non Pladuk, 0k - Thailand
  • Nihama, Hiroshima #2-B- Japan
  • Yamane, Hiroshima #3-D - Japan
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