The Soldier's Details

Surname:
Bracklemann
First Name:
Franz
Nick Name:
Brack
Rank:
Lance Corporal
Regimental #:
WX8796
Company:
D' Company
Enlisted:
23.10.1940
Discharged:
18.12.1945
DOB:
28.04.1905
Place of Birth:
Kalgoorlie, Western Australia
Father's Name:
Peter Niclaus Franz Bracklemann
Mothers's Name:
Lucy Anne Bracklemann
Religion:
Presbyterian
Pre-war Occupation:
Book Keeper & Traveller
Singapore:
Selerang Camp Changi, Johore Bahru, Adam Park, Sime Road Camp, Selerang Barracks Changi, X3 Party, Changi Gaol Camp
Return Details 1945:
Singapore-Darwin-Sydney, HMT Arawa, Sydney-Melbourne by troop train, Melbourne-Fremantle, HMT Strathmore.

General Description

Franz was admitted to Australian General Hospital at Roberts Barracks Changi on 16/4/1943 with an abscess to the cornea. Previous to this he had been suffering from amblyopia (impaired vision) which might explain why Franz remained in Singapore. Soldier was wounded in action at Lim Chu Kang Road on the west coast of Singapore at 2100 hours on 8/2/1942. It is reported that Franz attacked a group of Japanese with bayonet and could have killed as many as eight.  He was evacuated to 2/10th Australian General Hospital at Oldham Hall Singapore with a compound fracture to the scalp caused by a bullet wound. Transferred to 2/13th Australian General Hospital at St Patrick’s School on the 17/12/1942. Discharged to unit on 22/2/1942.

Further to the above description of the incident with ‘Bracks’ from ‘Joe Pearce Beyond Hellfire and Back’ by Shirley Howell’ – The Vickers guns went off and I remember one of our boys, old Franz Brackleman, an Aussie German from Kalgoorlie – a bullet went straight through his tin hat, creased his skull, and he tipped over. As he went down he shook hands with his mate Fred Tregenza from Quarading saying, “So long Fred, old Bracks has had it” and down he went.  Everybody thought he was dead.  He lay there for about 5 minutes with everybody standing around saying what a shame he was a goner.

Suddenly Bracks jumped up and said “Bugger if old Bracks is a goner!”

He was mad as hell, and wanted to kill all the Japs who were piling up against the barbed wire entanglement.  Jumping over the coiled barbed wire he went for them.  They reckon he took out about half a dozen of them in that short space of time.  

He was a very lucky man to survive his outburst, but admired for his guts.  I’m not sure how, but he was left with a limp from the head wound and survived the war!’

There were several boys from Quairading involved in the above skirmish.  Fred Tregenza, Lin MacDonald and Bracks were on the same gun.  Big Ron Anderson was also in the vehicle. They attempted to get through but were ambushed.  With the road behind them blocked having been taken by the Japanese, there was nowhere to go.

There vehicle was hit by Japanese fire, smashing the windscreen. The vehicle veered into the ditch and the men bailed out taking to the jungle and keeping low as possible.  Ron managed to get to a drain thinking his two mates were behind him.  But they weren’t. The two men were never seen nor heard of again.

Ron was on his own and cut off from everybody.  All the wood was knocked off his rifle and he was left with just the barrel.

Somehow Ron found his way back to the troops and issued with a new rifle.  The one he was holding was red hot and burning his hands!

Franz Bracklemann was born Kalgoorlie in 1905, he had an older sister Annie born in 1902, also  at Kalgoorlie. Parents Peter and Lucy Bracklemann were originally from Victoria and married in Bendigo in 1899.   Peter was employed as an engineer when he died in 1910. It appears the Bracklemann family moved between Victoria and Western Australia throughout their lives.  Franz farmed in Victoria and Western Australia.  He is recorded farming at Duranillin and Tambellup.

He was employed as a clerk and residing in Kalgoorlie when he enlisted.  Franz married several times, and although living most of his years in Western Australia, he died in Heidelberg, Victoria in August 1975 aged 70 years.

Camp Locations:

  • Adam Park Camp - Singapore
  • Changi Gaol Camp - Singapore
  • Johore Bahru, - Malaysia
  • Selarang Barracks Changi - Singapore
  • Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
  • Sime Road Camp - Singapore
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