The Soldier's Details

First Name:
Norman James
Nick Name:
Regimental #:
'D' Company
Place of Birth:
Cottesloe, Western Australia
Father's Name:
Joseph Munday Venemore
Mothers's Name:
Rosa May Venemore
Church of England
Pre-war Occupation:
Epitaph, Labuan Memorial, Panel 19, Age 28.
Selarang Camp Changi
'A' Force Burma, Green Force, No. 3 Battalion
Rakuyo Maru Party, Kumi No. 37
Cause of Death:
Lost at Sea
Place of Death:
South China Sea
Date of Death:

General Description

Read about D Company

Go to Gallery for Lubuan Memorial

From Selarang Camp Changi Norm Venemore was selected for ‘A’ Force, Green Force No. 3 Batalion to work on the Burma-Thai railway.  He departed Singapore on-board Toyashi Maru and arrived off Victoria Point on 22 May 1942.  Initially Norm would have worked either in Victoria Point or at the aerodrome 7 miles from town.

From Victoria Point Norm would have worked at some or all of the following camps in Burma –

Kendau 4.8 km Camp from October to December 1942,

Thetkaw 14 kmn Camp from Dec to 28 March1943,

Meiloe 75 km Camp from 28 Mar 1943 to 11 May1943,

Augganaung105km Camp from 11 May 1943 to December 1943.

It is believed he was railed to Tamarkan with the majority of Green Force.  It was from Tamarkan in 1944 that Norm was selected for Japan in what is now known as the Rakuyo Maru Party. It would be many months before the POWs actually boarded the Rakuyo Maru on 6th September 1944.

They were sent by train via Bangkok to French Indo-China (Vietnam) where it was intended the POWs were to be shipped to Japan from Riviere de Saigon at Cape St Jacques (south of Saigon). The Japanese then decided the American submarine blockade made this route too dangerous and the Party was returned by rail to Singapore where they finally arrived on 4th July 1944. Before their departure, the POWs worked excavating the dry dock opposite Pulau Damar Laut known as Jeep Island.

Six days after the Rakuyo Maru sailed out of Singapore on 12th September 1944; the POWs were desperately trying to remain alive without food or water in the waters of the South China Sea.

Their ship had sunk , many were injured and the Japanese left them to fend for themselves. Only a few men survived long enough to be rescued from the water.

Further reading about Rakuyo Maru


VENEMORE, Private, NORMAN JAMES, WX9292, A.I.F. 2/4 M.G. Bn., Australian Infantry. 15 September 1944. Age 28. Son of Joseph Munday Venemore and Rosa May Venemore, of Shackleton, Western Australia. Panel 19.

Labuan Memorial, Malaysia.

Prior to enlisting Norm Venemore was farming at Shackleton, in fact in 1938 was trading with his brother Ken as Venemore Brothers.  When his father died in 1921 aged 37 years, Norm was 5 years old.

Norm’s mother Rosa May Goodall remarried in 1923 to Ernst Watson.  Norm had a sister Elizabeth who married in 1940.

Norm was a gifted tennis player and competed in local competitions and in Perth.

He enlisted the same day as Shackleton farmer, Ron Langdon WX9293 of the 2/4th.  The Langdon and Venemore families were well known to each other having farmed in the north
Shackleton area of Erikin.

The two recruits became were drivers with ‘D’ Company.  Langdon died of illness in January 1944 having returned from working on the Burma-Thai Railway.  He died at Sime Road, Singapore aged 32 years.

The young men were honoured by the local population of Shackleton on 17th April 1947.

Height 5′ 8″


Shackleton War Dead April 1947 8





Venemore Norm


Venemore wedding Sunday Times (Perth, WA - 1902 - 1954), Sunday 24 March 1940, page 18 (1)

The above happy family wedding took place in 1940, with Norm in attendance in the wedding party.

Camp Locations:

  • Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore