There are 70 names inscribed on the Bunbury War Memorial for WW2. The Following ten men have been identified as serving with 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion.
WX7636 BEER, William John – b. Bunbury Feb 1917 to George Henry & Margarette Mary Beer. Enlisted AIF 10 Aug 1940 joined ‘D’ Coy 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion.
Shipped to Borneo from Singapore with ‘E’ Force to work on construction airfield for Japanese Army at Sandakan. Died starvation & illness Sandakan, Borneo 14 June 1945 aged 28 years. Epitaph – Labuan Memorial, Borneo.
WX7629 BUGG, Frederick – b. Maylands May 1914 to George & Jessie Bugg who moved to live Bunbury.
Tragically died 29 Oct 1941 Woodside Army Camp, S.A. where 2/4th MGB were training. Aged 27 years. (Court of Enquiry failed to determine cause of death, but determined there was nothing to suggest foul play). Buried West Terrace Cemetery, S.A.
WX7625 CLARKE, James Sydney – b. 1918 Bunbury to James and Nellie Clarke. Clarke enlisted AIF 10 Aug 1940, joined ‘C’ Coy 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion.
As POW working Burma-Thai Railway Clarke d. 13 Aug 1943 of illness at Khonkan Hospital Camp in Burma aged 25 years. (Buried Thanbuzyayat War Cemetery, Burma)
WX16436 CLIFTON, Gordon Dagley – b. Bunbury Apr 1914 to Richard Henry & Rachael Isabella Clifton (nee Gibbs). Husband of Florence Mary Jane Clifton (nee O’Byrne) and father to son Allan. Enlisted 10 Sep 1941.
Taken on Strength 2/4th MGB Woodside Camp, SA. Joined ‘A’ Coy. KIA by shrapnel during an enemy artillery barrage at Buona Vista, Singapore 15 Feb 1942 aged 26 years. Buried Kranji War Cemetery, Singapore.
WX7620 EDWARDS, Thomas Henry – b. 1900 Shropshire, England to Henry & Francis Edwards. Arrived from London on ‘Ballarat’ 14 Dec 1922 in his early 20’s, listing his occupation as farmer. Thomas & his wife Sarah took up land through Group Settlement, Busselton.
They resided Ambergate when Thomas enlisted 10 Aug 1940, he joined ‘D’ Coy 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion. Died of Wounds at Hill 200, Ulu Pandan 12 Feb 1942 aged 42 years.
(Edwards served England WW1- No. 52912 Pte. T.H. Edwards, The Lancashire Fusiliers – received recognition ‘For conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty during British offensive in the FORET DE MORMON on November 4th 1919’.)
WX17974 GIBSON, Lionel Stephen b. Oct 1922 Bunbury to Clarence and May Gibson who resided at Clarke Street, Bunbuy. Lionel enlisted 10 Dec 1941 – he became one of many very young and fresh-faced reinforcements from Northam Army Camp to join 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion on ‘Aquitania’ anchored Fremantle which sailed Singapore the next day on 16 Feb 1942.
KIA during a Japanese ambush 11 Feb 1942 fighting at Singapore with ‘E’ Coy Special Reserve Battalion aged 19 years. (88 soldiers from Special Reserve Battalion were killed). Lionel Gibson died just 2 months after enlisting with AIF.
WX7851 HARRIS Charles Henry – b 20 May 1914 Picton Junction to Edward and Ellen Harris (nee Winwood). Enlisted 13 Aug 1940 joined 2/4th MGB ‘A’ Company. Selected in Singapore with ‘B’ Force Borneo to work on the airfield at Sandakan, departing July 1942.
Charlie died 27 May 1945 aged 31 years of malaria at Sandakan No. 1 Camp. He was buried at No. 2 Cemetery (which was in use until 29 May 1945).
The 2nd Sandakan to Ranau March consisting of 536 POWS began departing Sandakan in groups of 50 men from 29 May 1945, just 2 days after Charlie’s death – many were barely able to walk – they left behind 288 sick mento die of starvation and illness.
Please read further about ‘B’ and ‘E’ Forces Borneo.
Two sisters of Charlie Harris married 2/4th mates.
Myrtle May Harris married Harry Delaporte WX8011who perished South China Sea 12 Sept 1944 when
‘Rakuyo’ Maru transporting POWs to Japan was sunk by American submarines.
& sister Ellen Bertha Harris married Claude Knott WX7616 (former Fairbridge Farm School Boy)
Delaporte, Knott and Harris were all in ‘A’ Company. Knott was the only one to return home.
The Harris and Delaporte families were early pioneers of the district.
WX7628 HOWARD, Edgar Joseph known as Tim – b. June 1912 Armadale to George Joseph and Beatrice Victoria Howard (nee George). Enlisted 18 Oct 1940 joined 2/4th MGB ‘A’ Company, promoted to Sergeant 7 Feb 1942.
As POW at Singapore, Howard was selected with ‘H’ Force Thailand to work on Burma-Thai Railway around the Hellfire Pass Cutting.
Howard died of cholera 1 July 1943 aged 31 years.
‘Tim’ Howard married Elsie Beryl Pickersgill 1932. They had two children. The youngest, son Peter John Howard born in 1939 tragically died 1944 aged 5 years.
WX9433 JONES, Norman (known as Taffy) – b. Dec 1905 Mostyn, North Wales, UK to John & Ann Jones.
Enlisted Dec 1940 joined ‘C’ Coy 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion. Departed Singapore Railway Station March 1943 with ‘D’ Force Thailand S Battalion to work on Burma-Thai Railway, at the Hellfire Pass Cutting.
Evacuated to Chungkai Hospital Camp d. Nov 1943 of illness aged 37 years. Buried Kanchanaburi War Cemetery, Thailand.
(In England served 6 years with Royal Tank Corps).
His body rests at Kanchanaburi War Cemetery, Thailand. One of 91 men from 2/4th MGB.
WX16883 PLATTS, Norman Willis b. Bunbury 24 March 1910 to Herbert Platts and Ethel Jane Maslin.
Enlisted 6 Oct 1941. As reinforcement joined ‘E’ Company Special Reserve Battalion. Norm was KIA aged 31 years during Japanese ambush Singapore South-West Bukit Timah 11 Feb 1942. It was 4 months since he enlisted with AIF.
Norm was a committed member of Bunbury Rowing Club, a musician and also involved with Scouts. Norm married Annie ‘Ray’ Armstrong 1930, they had two children Ivor and Margaret.
Norm’s younger brother Richard Sleath Platts born 1916 also enlisted. Richard WX5686 joined 2/16th Battalion. He died 5th December 1942 at Bomana near Port Moresby, New Guinea.
This following list of Bunbury enlistments may not include all the men. This was printed in 1941.