The Soldier's Details

First Name:
Eric Joseph
Nick Name:
Regimental #:
'A' Company
Place of Birth:
Perth, Western Australia
Father's Name:
Andrew Mathias Holst
Mothers's Name:
Rose Theresa Holst
Roman Catholic
Pre-war Occupation:
Epitaph, Labuan Memorial, Panel 18, Age 31.
Selarang Camp Changi, Johore Bahru, Adam Park, Selarang Barracks Changi
'E' Force Borneo
4/6231 & 1745
Cause of Death:
Place of Death:
Sandakan No1 Camp
Date of Death:

General Description

L-R Jim Gilmour, "Widgee" Holst, "Blue" McMahon, Bert Norton, Jim Elliott, Clarrie McDonald. Kneeling - Jim Dore
L-R Jim Gilmour, “Widgee” Holst, “Blue” McMahon, Bert Norton, Jim Elliott, Clarrie McDonald. Kneeling – Jim Dore
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).


HOLST, Private, ERIC JOSEPH, WX8678, A.I.F. 2/4 M.G. Bn., Australian Infantry. 20 March 1945. Age 31. Son of Andrew Mathias Holst and Rose Theresa Holst; husband of Alice Eileen Holst, of Maylands, Western Australia. Panel 18.

Labuan Memorial, Malaysia.


Eric Holst’s great neice was selected to join the The Premier’s Anzac Student Tour, 2012.  This tour included a visit to Borneo and the Sandakan Death March where Angela was able to, on behalf of her family, pay respects to Eric Holst,

At the 2/4th Annual Luncheon following the Service to Remember the End of the War and VJ Day Angela Gazey was invited to be guest speaker.  Robyn Cleaver, Leader of the Student Tour showed slides and talked of the student’s amazement when learning of life and death on the Sandakan March.

In 2014 Angela Gazey, then aged 18 years, was the chosen RSLWA Youth Ambassador and  spoke at the Anzac Day Service.  She urged her generation to study the experiences of their forebears.

“Our freedom came at a cost, and it is important we learn about these events and learn about our past,” Ms Gazey said.

Angela Gazey
Angela Gazey


For further reading see Stories Angela Gazey & Eric Holst




Holst, Eric Joseph
Holst, Eric Joseph


WA. Paybook photograph, taken on enlistment, of WX8678 Private Eric Joseph Holst, 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. Private Holst, aged 31, died as a prisoner of the Japanese on 20 March 1945. He was the son of Andrew Mathias Holst and Rose Theresa Holst, and the husband of Alice Eileen Holst, of Maylands, WA. He is commemorated on the Labuan Memorial Panel 18. (Photograph copied from AWM232, items 4 and 5. Personal information from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Database.)


Holst was born at Moora in November 1913. He lived with his four brothers and two sisters at Robinson Street, Maylands with parents Mathias and Rose Holst.

Mathias Holst had migrated from Norway in 1888.

Little is known of his schooling; however, he was known to be prospecting with two of his brothers at Widgiemooltha.

Eric married about 1941 to Alice Eileen Reichelt in Perth.

He enlisted there in June 1940 and took the oath at Claremont in October.

After basic training, he was posted to the newly formed 2/4 Machine Gun Battalion in December. A decision was made to only have personnel enlisted in the west into this battalion.




Camp Locations:

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