The Soldier's Details

Surname:
Breed
First Name:
Walter Edward
Nick Name:
Billy or Jeep
Rank:
Sergeant (Promoted 14.2.1942)
Regimental #:
WX9229
Company:
'B' Company
Enlisted:
30.10.1940
Discharged:
15.01.1946
DOB:
25.06.1902
Place of Birth:
London, England
Father's Name:
Alfred Breed
Mothers's Name:
Agnes Breed
Religion:
Church of England
Pre-war Occupation:
Farmer
Singapore:
Selarang Barracks Changi
Force:
'D' Force Thailand, S Battalion
Camps Thailand:
Kanu II, Chungkai, Nacompaton
POW#:
3/6014, 8762
Return Details 1945:
Singapore-Perth by aircraft on 9.10.1945

General Description

Soldier missing in action from 10/2/1942.  Known to have joined up with ‘A’ Company 2/4th MG Battalion and fought with this Company until Surrender on 15/2/1942.

Standing rear L-R William Charles Roberts died 16/8/1942, other two unknown. Sitting Front L-R A Brooker KIA, Walter Breed, John Waddell No 12 Platoon.
Standing rear L-R William Charles Roberts died 16/8/1942, other two unknown.
Sitting Front L-R A Brooker KIA, Walter Breed, John Waddell No 12 Platoon.

 

Walter Breed
Walter Breed

 

Walter ‘Jeep’ Reed died 1996.

 

BILL BREED MEMOIRS

25 June 1902 to 11 October 1996

Bill was born in London to Agnes and Alfred Breed. He was one of three children with older brother Bert and sister Agnes. They lived in the Cricklewood area of northeast London. Bill commenced school aged five years. His mother died when he was 13 years old.

His first job was working in the undercarriage section for Deport General aircraft Company that built Sopwith planes for WWI.

At the end of the war in 1919 Bill started work as a fitter’s mate building gas hot water system for Ajax Gyser Company. Money was very scarce. Bill’s older brother had already enlisted so at 19 years of age in January 1921 Bill also enlisted with Yorkshire Regiment.

As children Bill and his brother always dreamt of going to Australia for the warm weather. There was always news about the gold rush. The army was for them the first step in this direction.

Recruit training was at the York Barracks and the end of 1921 saw Bill posted to Ireland to a place called Kinsale, just south of Cork. His job was to guard the Old Head Lighthouse.

 

 

The Old Lighthouse is located at the lowest tip of land, and quite isolated in 1920’s.  The winter weather would have miserable, and no doubt the Garrison would have little or no heating in the men’s sleeping quarters.
As this photo shows, on a beautiful sunny day, there is a golf course and housing development.

From Kinsale he went back to York enroute for the Rhine, Germany and spent 2½ years in the British, American and French occupation Forces.**

(** Part of  Armistice signed 11th November 1918 about which Germany was very unhappy. The details, including zones of occupation, were worked out by French Marshal Foch and the British were allocated the city of Cologne and surrounding area.)

He returned to York and transferred to 2nd Battalion, located in India. Following three years in India Bill was given the opportunity to return to England or immigrate to Australia.

Bill arrived at Fremantle January 1928 and took a job chopping trees and clearing new land for Jim Green at Yealering. He became good friends with Hyram Scott who offered Bill a contract to clear his ‘selected land’ at the Creek in Newdegate. At the end of the contract Bill had money and Hyram had none!

They agreed to become partners and Bill became a farmer.

After several years Bill had enough money to go his own way and took over the abandoned farm of Andersons.

In October 1940 Bill enlisted, claiming he was a farm labourer not an owner. Other Newdegate locals who also enlisted included John Waddell, Alan Brooker and Charlie Roberts.

Harold Bryce took over running Bill’s farm while he was in the army. Bill was taken prisoner of war in Singapore and spent time at Changi and the Burma Railway.

He returned to WA in 1945 and was back farming in 1946. Being a POW of Japan was a very distressing period about which Bill preferred not to talk. He was part of the community and played badminton at the South Newdegate Hall and later took up golf.

Bill developed a reputation for having a good time at the Club, pub or anywhere else. Quite often these good times led to disasters on his way home! Many times Bill had difficulty negotiating the bends on the road near Lake Hills. His last serious motor accident occurred on the bend south of Belman’s gate. This accident slowed Bill down considerably and soon after in 1974, he sold his farm to Vern Hall.

Bill had developed a love of fishing and Hopetoun. In the early 1950’s Bill arranged for Des Cuff’s father to bid at auction in Lake Grace for a block of land at Hopetoun. It cost 25 pounds. Progressively the original shack developed into his last home.

Many a good time was had at Bills playing cards, having a drink or having a chat. As the years went by Bill’s home became the meeting place for what was referred to as ‘elevenes at Bills’.

The writer of the above is unconfirmed however believed to be Mary Saunders and perhaps with a little assistance of the then  President of 2/4th MGB ex-Members Assoc. Ted Wallin.

Ted wrote ‘on behalf of the members of 2/4th MGB we wish to extend our thanks to Mary Saunders (daughter of Polly and Tom Finlay) for the care she has given to Bill Breed over many years.   A job well done, Mary.’

 

Camp Locations:

  • Selarang Barracks Changi - Singapore
  • Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
  • Chungkai, 60k - Thailand
  • Kanu II, 152.30k - Thailand
  • Nacompaton, Nakom Pathom Hospital - Thailand
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