The Soldier's Details

Surname:
Goodwin
First Name:
Reuben
Rank:
Private
Regimental #:
WX9131
Company:
'B' Company, No. 9 Platoon (No. 1 on Gun)
Enlisted:
30.10.1940
DOB:
14.08.1916
Place of Birth:
Essex, England
Father's Name:
Not Known
Mothers's Name:
Not Known
Religion:
Church of England
Pre-war Occupation:
Farmhand
Memorial:
Thanbyuzayat War Cemetery, Plot A16, Row D, Grave 8, Age 27.
Singapore:
Selarang Camp Changi, Havelock Road Camp, Selarang Barracks Changi
Force:
‘F’ Force Thailand
Camps Thailand:
Shimo Sonkurai, Sonkurai, Kami Sonkurai
POW#:
1/7826 and 3/7917
Cause of Death:
Beri-Beri and Dysentery
Place of Death:
Tanbaya Hospital Camp, Burma
Date of Death:
6.11.1943
Buried:
Grave No. 579, Tanbaya

General Description

Funeral service was conducted by Chaplain Duckworth (British Army) on 15.11.1943.

Rueben was a Kingsley Fairbridge Farm Schoolboy from Barnardos homes, England he arrived in Australia on Ballarat 1928 aged 11 years. He was housed in Forrest.

Rueben is recorded (the ‘Old Fairbridgian’ magazine) as staying at the OFA accommodation at Pinjarra in February and March 1936. Other visitors in 1936  include 2/4th’s Ted Leadbitter and Harry Lucas. Social notes refer to Rueben’s tennis skills!

During 1935 and 1936 Reuben Goodwin was working and living at Konnongorring.  It is not known if he remained here until enlistment but it seems more than likely.

Reuben recorded his sister Beatrice as his NOK. It is believed the photograph below is of Reuben and his sister Beatrice (we are not able to confirm whether Beatrice was in fact Reuben’s sister-in-law or sister).

We have been not been able to confirm but it may be that Reuben was separated from his siblings (which often occurred).  He was sent to Fairbridge Pinjarra, WA and perhaps Beatrice and Arthur sent to a home in NSW.

 

Reuben Goodwin. Pitt St, Sydney
Reuben Goodwin probably with his sister Beatrice,
Pitt St, Sydney

 

Goomalling Weekly Gazette, March 1941

 

Goodwin, Reuben

Goodwin, Reuben

 


Goodwin Reuben

 

From Toodyay Herald 12 October 1945

From Goomalling Weekly Gazette,  Friday 19th October 1945

 

Reuben was selected in Singapore to work on the Burma-Thai Railway with ‘F’ Force Thailand.  They were to be located south of the border from  Three Pagoda Pass.  The Force was made up of 3,600 British and 3,400 Australians.  The assured them they were going to better camps with only light work.  Encouraged them to take loads of possessions.  Right from the beginning it was a disaster as the men had not been inoculated against cholera. Later many of them were to die from this terrible disease as well other tropical illnesses.

Once they had arrived in Bampong Thailand they found they had to march about 300 km to their camps.  This horrific trek took between 17 to 20 days or more.  The healthier men having to carry those who were will on stretchers.  The had no food provisions and sadly there were times when men drank water which had not been boiled.

This period was the beginning of ‘Speedo’ when the Japanese and Korean guards up and down the line were pushing the men to work longer hours, the sick to work also and with less and less food.

One of their first camps was (Lower) Shimo Sonkurai.

It was in August when the first of the very sick at Neikhe began moving to Tanbaya hospital Camp.  They left behind 50 men who were far too ill to be moved.

Reuben was one of a large number of sick evacuated to Tanbaya Hospital where he succumbed to his illnesses.  Tanbaya like every hospital camp during this time, did not have medicines or medical equipment.

 

Further reading about Tanbaya Hospital Camp

Read about ‘F’ Force

 

Camp Locations:

  • Havelock Road Camp - Singapore
  • Selarang Barracks Changi - Singapore
  • Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
  • Kami Songkurai, 299k - Thailand
  • Songkurai 294k - Thailand
  • Shimo Sonkurai, 288k - Thailand
  • Tanbaya, 362k - Burma
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