The Soldier's Details

Surname:
Tomkins
First Name:
Percy Reeve
Rank:
Private
Regimental #:
WX8139
Company:
‘C’ Company
Enlisted:
16.08.1940
Discharged:
18.12.1945
DOB:
5.07.1916
Place of Birth:
Midland Junction, Western Australia
Father's Name:
Thomas Claud Tomkins
Mothers's Name:
Lucy Mary Tomkins
Religion:
Church of England
Pre-war Occupation:
Yardman, Wood Cutter, Farmhand and Railway Employee
Singapore:
Selarang Camp Changi, Thomson Road (Caldecot Hill Estate Camp), River Valley Road, Selarang Barracks Changi.
Force:
‘D’ Force Thailand, S Battalion
Camps Thailand:
Kanu II, Kanu I, Tarsau (evacuated sick), Non Pladuk
Camps Japan:
Yamane, Niihama
POW#:
8850 & 1753
Japan:
Rashin Maru Party
Return Details 1945:
Wakayama‐Okinawa, USS Cape Gloucester, Okinawa‐Manila, USS Bingham, Manila-Morotai‐Darwin PBY Catalina aircraft A24‐355, Darwin‐ Perth B24 Liberator aircraft A72‐379.

General Description

Percy Tomkins
Percy Tomkins

Younger brother of Thomas Horace Tompkins WX7996.

 

Percy enlisted 16 Aug 1940,  joined 2/4th’s ‘C’ Company.  His older brother Thomas Horace Tompkins b. 1912 enlisted  same day, joining ‘D’ Company, later becoming a Lieutenant, sailing from Singapore with ‘A’ Force’s 3,000 Australian POWs May 1942 to South West Burma coast where they were split into three work  parties to repair and enlarge the airfields at Victoria Point, Tavoy and Ye before making their way to the northern point of Burma-Thai Railway.  ‘Tommy’ remained in Thailand where he was recovered at end of war.  Green Force was the first Australian POW work party on the rail, commencing 1st Oct 1943 until end of 1943.

Percy left Singapore March 1943 with ‘D’ Force S Battalion to the Hellfire Pass Cutting.  Please read further.

When rail link was completed by end of 1943, POWs were concentrated in several of the larger camps in Thailand inlcluding those who had worked in Burma.

Deemed ‘fit’ by the Japanese, Percy was selected to work in Japan with ‘Rashin’ Maru party – which included a large number of 2/4th.  They arrived Moji, Japan following a 70 day hellish journey by sea, Percy was sent to Mitsui’s mines at Yamane and Niihama.    He was recovered from Japan at the end of the war.

 

 

Percy had been working for Railway Department in Toodyay when he enlisted.  He had grown up in Bunbury and West Swan.

 

Percy married 1941 at Northam to Eileen May Sinclair of Toodyay.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Below:  Midland’s ‘Swan Express’ featured a series about local men who enlisted.

 

 

 

 

In 1954 and 1958 Electoral Roll resided Greenmount, he was employed as a moulder’s assistant.  Brother Tommy wasn’t far away, he was residing Swan View, employed with Railways.

By 1968 and in 1979 Percy and Eileen had moved to Morley, where Percy had employment as a carpenter.

Percy was a Life Member of  2/4th  MGB Association.  Secretary from 1967 to 1978, Treasurer from 1979 to 1981 and President from 1982 to 1990.

 

50th Anniversary Dinner 27 Nov 1990

Percy with Vivian Statham, (Formerly Sister Vivian Bulwinkle)

 

Percy died 15 December 2000, his wife Eileen died only a few months earlier.

Camp Locations:

  • River Valley Road Camp - Singapore
  • Selarang Barracks Changi - Singapore
  • Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
  • Thomson Road (Caldecot Hill Estate Camp) - Singapore
  • Kanu 1 151.00k - Thailand
  • Kanu II, 152.30k - Thailand
  • Non Pladuk, 0k - Thailand
  • Tarsau, Tha Sao 125k - Thailand
  • Nihama, Hiroshima #2-B- Japan
  • Yamane, Hiroshima #3-D - Japan
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