The Soldier's Details

First Name:
Thomas Ernest
Nick Name:
Regimental #:
Section Orderly
‘B ’ Company, No. 8 Platoon
Place of Birth:
Norseman, Western Australia
Father's Name:
Thomas William Smith
Mothers's Name:
Sarah Jane Smith (nee Leighton)
Pre-war Occupation:
Epitaph, Labuan Memorial, Panel 19, Age 32.
Selarang Camp and Barracks Changi
‘E’ Force Borneo
Cause of Death:
Pulmonary Tuberculosis and Beri-Beri
Place of Death:
Sandakan No1 Camp
Date of Death:

General Description

WX8731 Smith Ern


WX8731 Ern Smith (centre)
WX8731 Ern Smith (centre)
Ern Smith (2nd from right)
Ern Smith (2nd from right)
Ern Smith farewell at Noresman
Ern Smith farewell at Noresman
8th Platoon marching in Perth
8th Platoon marching in Perth


Smith Thomas E

Above:  Ern Smith

SMITH, Private, THOMAS ERNEST, WX8731, A.I.F. 2/4 M.G. Bn., Australian Infantry. 18 December 1944. Age 32. Son of Thomas William and Sarah Jane Smith, of Grass Patch, Western Australia. Panel 19.

Labuan Memorial, Malaysia.

Thomas Ernest born 1912 is younger brother to Robert Leighton Smith WX8736 born 1908.  The brothers enlisted 23 October 1940 and joined 2/4th’s ‘B’ Company, No. 8 Platoon.

Bob Smith was KIA 11 February 1942 at West Mandai Hill where 8th Platoon was fighting.  Bob was one of 4 men from 8th Platoon to lose his life that day – Sgt. Richard Sandilands Second- in -Charge, WX7325 Ray Carruthers and WX7240 Don Day who died of wounds.


Thomas William Smith born 1874 Victoria married 1904 Bendigo to Sarah Jane Leighton who was born 1885 Victorian Goldfields.

Tom and Sarah moved to Norseman where their seven children were born, one daughter and six sons.

William Alfred born 1905

Robert Leighton born 1908 – 2/4th KIA 11 February 1942

Myrtle Jean born 1910

Thomas Ernst born 1912 – 2/4th died Sandakan December 1944

James Henry born 1914

Leonard Richard born 1916

Edward John born 1918 – WX11520 2/28th Battalion, died 9 September 1943, Busu River, New Guinea. Ted was one of 13 soldiers ‘missing’, (in fact drowned) at the flooded and treacherous Busu River crossing. Being a Goldfield’s boy he was unable to swim and was swept away. His body was never found.

Ern’s father Thomas William died 1920 at Wooroloo aged 58 years. His mother was left with 6 children whose ages ranged from 2 years to 15 years.

Sarah remarried in 1924 to George Blythe Jones. Sadly George died four years later in 1924 aged 42 years.

Sarah died at Norseman in 1963 aged 78 years, having never left the goldfields of WA.

She had to endure the news her three sons would not be returning to Australia from WW2 – Robert KIA February 1942, youngest son Edward drowned September 1943 New Guinea and Thomas Ernst died illness Sandakan, Borneo December 1944.


Please read further story of the Smith family and Ern’s mother Sarah.


Camp Locations:

  • Selarang Barracks Changi - Singapore
  • Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
  • Sandakan - Borneo ***
  • Lintang Officers Camp, Kuching - Sarawak