The Soldier's Details

Surname:
Blakiston
First Name:
Harold George
Nick Name:
Harry
Rank:
Private
Regimental #:
WX7937
Company:
'B' Company
Enlisted:
13.08.1940
Discharged:
14.01.1946
DOB:
29.05.1912
Place of Birth:
York, Western Australian
Father's Name:
George John Blakiston
Mothers's Name:
Mary Ellenor Blakiston
Religion:
Church of England
Pre-war Occupation:
Farmhand
Singapore:
Selerang Camp Changi, Johore Bahru, Adam Park, Selerang Barracks Changi (Garden Control Party)
Force:
'D' Force Thailand, S Battalion
Camps Thailand:
Kanu II, Kanu I River Camp (evacuated to Tarsau with cholera),Tardin (bridge repairs), Nacompaton (3 months), Tamuan, Tamarkan, Tamuang, Nakom Chassi, Chumphon
POW#:
8750
Return Details 1945:
Thailand-Singapore by aircraft, Singapore-Fremantle HMT Highland Brigade

General Description

 

Above:  Harry’s mother dies in 1933.

Below: His younger brother dies in 1935.

 

 

Blakiston, Harry
Blakiston, Harry

Harry married 1940 to Roma Iris Braddock.

 

Harry was first cousin with Cyril ‘John’ McPherson WX7675, McPherson’s mother Ethel Margaret Hitchcock is sister to Harry’s . mother Mary Ellenor Blakiston (nee Hitchcock).

 

Harry’s parents George John Blakiston married 1911 at Northam to Mary Ellenor Hitchcock.  Harry was the eldest of eight children.

Below:  1985 Anzac Day Reunion – Harry and Tom Pilmour

 

Harry passed away aged 93yrs, February 7 2005, at Duncraig, WA.

 

Harry was selected to work on Burma-Thai Railway with ‘D’ Force Thailand, S Battalion.  This work party and ‘A’ Force Burma Green Force included the largest number of 2/4th men.  S Battalion departed Singapore Railway Station mid May 1943 heading for Thailand on a horrendous, crowded 4-5 day train journey to Thailand.  They first went to Tarsau Camp which would become Japanese HQ ‘D’ Force, and their hospital Camp.  The men worked here for several weeks clearing land for rail link.  This easy work did not prepare them for the next camps. Konyu II was hell, working on the cutting in the Hellfire Pass area.  They worked long hours in terrible conditions, mostly without shoes and clothing to protect themselves chipping away at rock which often caused injuries leading to tropical ulcers.  It was ‘Speedo’, beatings, little food and too many tropical  illnesses for which there was no medicines.

Harry next went to Kanu I River Camp (from Konyu II S Battalion was disbursed to various camps) – it was here Harry contracted cholera, and evacuated to Tarsau . He was one of the lucky to survive.  Tarsau Hospital Camp from many POWs was known as a ‘death’ hospital – if you didn’t get out, you would die!  Dick Ridgwell WX14197 from 2/4th, wrote when he was also a patient at Tarsau, he visited the various tents to find mates and would take them from their beds outside to bathe and feed them.  That is what mates did!

Those at Tarsau volunteered for work parties as soon as possible – no doubt Blakiston did just this, and went to Tardan to do bridge repairs.  He was then at Nacompaton for 3 months.  Nacompaton was a purpose built large hospital camp.  Following this he was sent to Tamuang then Tamarkan and back to Tamuang from where he was recovered at the end of the war.  Sent to Bangkok, the POWs took flights to Singapore to sail home.

Read further about ‘D Force S Battalion

Camp Locations:

  • Adam Park Camp - Singapore
  • Johore Bahru, - Malaysia
  • Selarang Barracks Changi - Singapore
  • Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
  • Kanu 1 151.00k - Thailand
  • Kanu II, 152.30k - Thailand
  • Nacompaton, Nakom Pathom Hospital - Thailand
  • Tamarkan, Tha Makham 56k - Thailand
  • Tamuang, Tha Muang 39k - Thailand
  • Tardan - Thailand
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