The Soldier's Details

Surname:
Bartlett
First Name:
Michael Arthur
Rank:
Private
Regimental #:
WX9361
Classification:
Driver
Company:
‘C’ Company Headquarters
Enlisted:
2.11.1940
DOB:
16.04.1917
Place of Birth:
Albany, Western Australia
Father's Name:
Michael Bartlett
Mothers's Name:
Mary Baker Bartlett (nee Muir)
Religion:
Church of England
Pre-war Occupation:
Farmhand
Memorial:
Kanchanaburi War Cemetery, Plot 1, Row K, Grave 47, Age 28.
Singapore:
Selarang Camp Changi, Johore Bahru, Adam Park , Selerang Barracks Changi
Force:
‘D’ Force Thailand S Battalion
POW#:
3/6887 & 8754
Cause of Death:
Beri-Beri and Dysentery
Place of Death:
Tarsau
Date of Death:
7.12.1943
Buried:
454 No. 2 Cemetery, Tarsau.

General Description

Whilst at Selarang Barracks, Singapore, Michael was selected with ‘D’ Force S Battalion to work on Thai-Burma Railway.  He departed by train on a horror 4 day and night trip to Thailand on 14 March 1943.  The Battalion departed by train in Singapore for Thailand on 14 May 1943.

‘D’ Force S Battalion included the largest number of men from the 2/4th than any other work force.

After arriving at Non Pladuk, Thailand,  Michael’s group was trucked to Tarsau where they worked for several weeks.  Tarsau was in fact the HQ camp for ‘D’ Force.  The group was then moved to Konyu II to work near the Hellfire Pass cutting.  The work conditions here were terribly hard, cutting in the rock face, using hammer and tap, avoiding explosives.  The men worked long hours and the Japanese were brutal.  Many men became sick with tropical diseases and ulcers mostly on the lower legs caused by flying rock splints.  Cholera broke out.

200 men from S Battalion were sent to assist the Force working at Hintock Road Camp.  We cannot be absolutely sure  about where Michael worked because men were often pulled out of groups to work at nearby projects for a week, 2 weeks, then returned. Records were not kept on their movements, only when the men were sick and these records were kept by the medical officers. S Battalion however, remained working around Kanyu II, Kinsaiyok and Hintok area. Michael would have been evacuated to Tarsau hospital where he died, he would have been accompanied by other men from 2/4th.

Initially he was buried at Tarsau however after the war his body was laid to rest at Kanchanaburi War cemetery with 91 mates from the 2/4th.

 

 

 

Michael’s parents Michael Bartlett (Snr) was born in Yambuk, Victoria 1879 married 1914 to Mary Baker Muir, born 1886 Albany.

 

 

The Bartlett’s had a family of four children, Michael, Andrew, Noel and Winnifred and resided at  Mt Barker, where Michael (Snr) was in partnership with another butcher.

Michael (Snr) died unexpectedly in 1927 Albany.

 

Above: Andrew Robert Bartlett, brother to Michael, tragically died in a vehicle accident in 1937.

Michael Bartlett enlisted 2 November 1940 aged 25 years, was residing in Mt. Barker and working as a farmhand.

He joined ‘C’ Company as a driver.  He survived the battle for Singapore and was taken POW of Japan.  He worked with various work parties for the Japanese and was accommodated at Selarang Camp, Johore Bahru, Adam Park and back to Selarang Barrack from where he was selected to work on the Burma-Thai railway with ‘D’ Force S Battalion.  This Battalion included one of the large contingencies of 2/4th men.  Michael was in good company and with lots of mates.  He had worked and survived 8 and 1/2 months working on the railway when he died aged 28 years.

It is no known when the Bartlett family received official confirmation of Michael’s death as a POW of Japan, in December 1943.

 

 

Above:  Mary Bartlett, mother of Michael (Jnr) died 9 June 1949. Michael and Mary Bartlett were buried at Mt. Barker.

 

 

Camp Locations:

  • Adam Park Camp - Singapore
  • Johore Bahru, - Malaysia
  • Selarang Barracks Changi - Singapore
  • Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
  • Tarsau, Tha Sao 125k - Thailand
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