The Soldier's Details
- First Name:
- Donald Angus
- Nick Name:
- Regimental #:
- ‘C’ Company
- Place of Birth:
- Rogart, Scotland
- Father's Name:
- William Matheson
- Mothers's Name:
- Esther Matheson (nee McKay)
- Pre-war Occupation:
- Thanbyuzayat War Cemetery, Plot A3, Row B, Grave 3, Age 36.
- Selarang Camp Changi
- 'A' Force Burma, Green Force, No. 3 Battalion
- Camps Burma:
- Victoria Point, Kendau 4.8km, Thetkaw, Augganaung
- Cause of Death:
- Cardiac Beri-Beri
- Place of Death:
- Aungganaung 105km Camp
- Date of Death:
- Grave No. 120, Aungganaung
For this soldier to have died at Aungganaung in March 1944 it is probable that he was attached to Williams Force – when the railway was completed about the end of 1943 the Japanese brought all POWs south to one of about 3 or 4 large camps. It remains probable (because date is months later after the main evacuation of POWs south to Thailand) Don went back up the Railway to do maintenance/repairs with Williams Force.
Don died of cardiac beri-beri aged 36 years. Wally Winter WX10273 was pall bearer at Don’s funeral. Wally went on to join ‘Rakuyo’ Maru party originally sent to Saigon, then back to Singapore to board their ship to Japan. An American submarine ‘wolf pack’ attacked the convoy, finally Rakuyo was hit. 38 2/4th men lost their lives starting 12 September, 1944 and Wally was one of those men so fortunate to survive 4 days in the ocean and rescued by USS ‘Pampanito’.
From Singapore Don Matheson was selected to work on Burma end of Burma-Thai Railway with ‘A’ Force Green Force No. 3 Battalion.
Regretfully there are no records of where POWs worked. The best we can provide is an outline of where the various Forces travelled.
Don was born to parents William Matheson and Esther McKay who married 1902 Rogart, Scotland.
Don was husband to Gwladys May Matheson (nee Morgan) of South Perth. They had married in 1940.
Don Matheson migrated to WA from Scotland as a single young man (probably with brother Alexander) arriving on Ormonde, 1st April 1924.
He was recorded in Electoral Rolls 1931 to 1943 as residing and working at Kulin as a motor driver.
Don’s brother, Alexander George Matheson, born 20 May 1902 in Rogart, Scotland, also enlisted but not until 2 years later in 1942. He gave his brother Donald as his next of kin. Alexander served in the 19th Garrison Battalion. He died in 1971 in Perth.
Gwladys was daughter of Thomas and Agnes Morgan of Tammin. Agnes died in 1941 and Thomas Morgan died May 1945.
Above: Gwladys had already learned of the tragic death of her husband Don in May 1945. Most families had to wait until well after the war ended to learn the deaths of their loved ones.
This information would have been confirmed by Wally Winter who was rescued by ‘USS Pampanito’ following 4 days in ocean Sept 1944. The rescued men returned to WA in about Nov 1944 – but were ordered not to communicate with relatives. Wally would have reported Don Matheson’s death to AIF who in turn notified Gwladys. Wally Winter was pall bearer at Don’s funeral March 1944 at Aungganung, Burma.
This above war memorial site is now linked to Don Matheson’s page.
Gwladys remarried to Alfred Russell McGrath.
- Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
- Aungganaung,105Kilo - Burma
- Kendau, Kandaw, 4 Kilo - Burma
- Victoria Point, Kawthoung - Burma. \'A\' Force, Green Force No. 3 Btn
- Thetkaw 14 Kilo - Burma