‘C’ Coy 12 Platoon
At Singapore with Commanding Officer Mick Wedge, Platoon Sergeant Sgt R.G. Whitfield -12 platoon was equipped with 6 Machine Guns in three sections and had task of supplying support fire for 7/8th Punjab Regiment with 44th Indian Brigade.
The 44th Indian Brigade was given the southern western coastal area, i.e. south of where Australian 22nd Brigade was at Choa Chu Kang to mouth of Jurong River.
The coastal area was a continuous fringe of mangrove swamps which extended inland in most places to over 1000 yards.
General Percival and Gordon Bennett inspecting the defences from a hill in 44th Brigade could see positions of 2 Punjab companies were one mile apart with mangrove swamps between! It was all too evident the defence of Singapore was hopeless.
Because of a shortage of fighting troops, 30% of Singapore’s coastline and the most vulnerable 40% of the Island was being defended by Australian 22nd Brigade and an ill-prepared Indian Brigade. Their reserves – a rebuilt Australian Battalion, some service troops and a machine Gun Company.
Members of No. 12 Platoon:
WX9553 Lt. C N ‘Mick’ Wedge – ‘D’ Force Thailand, S Battalion recovered from Thailand.
WX10561 Sgt RT G ‘Bob’ Whitfield – ‘D’ Force Thailand S Btn, ‘Rashin’ Maru Party to Japan, Recovered Niihama wharf and refinery, Japan.
WX7607 Sgt. Gibbons, Ron (promoted 24 Jan 1942) – ‘D’ Force Thailand, S Btn – ‘Both’ Party – recovered Saigon.
WX4949 Sgt Ron Kingswell – AWOL Fremantle, joined ‘Blackforce’ Java. Former Fairbridge Farm School boy.
Kingswell d. 25 Mar 1942 acute bacillary dysentery and appendicitis No. 1 Allied General Hospital, Bandeong, Java, aged 25 years.
WX9112 Corp. ‘Benny’ Benjamin Jones (Acting Corp promoted 24 Jan 1942) – ‘D’ Force Thailand, S Btn. d. 5 Nov 1943 Chungkai Hospital Camp avitaminosis aged 30 years.
WX10822 Corp. Harvey Laurence John ‘Jack’ (promoted 7 Feb 1942) ‘A’ Force Burma, Green Force No. 3 Btn, ‘Rakuyo’ Maru Party. Perished South China Seas 12 Sep 1944 aged 24 years.
WX7883 Bill Beard – ‘B’ Force Borneo d. Sandakan 10 Jul 1945 aged 34 years.
WX14855 L/Cpl Peter Beaton – Green Force No. 3 Btn. Burma. Recovered Thailand.
WX9136 L/Cpl Basil Clarke (promoted 18 Jan 1942) – involved fighting Ulu Pandan. Green Force No. 3 Btn Burma.
Evacuated from Aungganaung 105 Km Camp to Khonkan Hospital Camp Burma 3 Jul 1943 – right leg amputated through mid thigh 22 Sep 1943. Recovered from Nacompaton Hospital Camp, Thailand.
WX6632 Sam Clarke – Green Force No. 3 Btn Burma, d. 23 Jan 1943 dysentery at Thambyuzayat Hospital Camp, Burma aged 23 years.
WX9109 A J ‘Alex’ Colquhuon Green Force No. 3 Btn Burma, ‘Rakuyo’ Maru Party. Lost South China Sea 15 Sep 1944, three days after ship sank. He was 38 years old.
WX10721 Harry de’Castilla – Green Force Burma No. 3 Btn. Recovered Kachu Mountain Camp, Thailand.
WX5088 Andrew Fee, Driver – Green Force Burma. Recovered from Thailand.
WX9070 Charles Fielder – AWOL Fremantle. ‘Blackforce’ Java. ‘D’ Force Thailand, Java Party No. 6, P Btn. Recovered Thailand.
WX5132 G Fisher – AWOL Fremantle. ‘Blackforce’ Java. Recovered from Batavia 30 Sep 1945.
WX9132 Arthur Gamble – Despatch Rider – ‘H’ Force Thailand. Evacuated Kanu1 River Camp with cholera to Kanchanaburi Hospital 26 June 1943 – 11 Sep 1943. Returned Singapore – transferred hospital Changi Gaol Camp. Recovered Singapore.
WX7627 Jim Goldie – ‘B’ Force Borneo. d. Sandakan-Ranau Track 4 June 1943 aged 26 years.
WCX14830 Stan Haly, Driver – B. Force Borneo. d. 15 June 1945 Sandakan Estate, as miles from Sandakan Camp aged 29 years.
WX9348 Corp Colin Heppell (promoted 24 Jan 1942). ‘D’ Force V Btn. d.colitis Kuii Camp, Thailand 6 Oct 1943 aged 38.
WX8525 I D ‘Pop’ Heppingstone, Rangetaker – ‘D’ Force Thailand S Btn. Recovered from Kachu Mountain Camp, Thailand (cousins with Harry de Castilla WX10721)
WX52119 James Morgan Jenkins migrated as 24 year old from Wales. Was AWOL Fremantle, joined ‘Blackforce’ Java and taken POW of Japan 8 Mar 1942. Selected to work Burma-Thai Railway with ‘A’ Force Burma Java Party No. 4 Williams Force. d. 11 Nov 1942 dysentery and heart failure Thanbyuzayat Hospital Camp, Burma aged 41 years.
WX9297 Colin Joynes – ‘B’ Force Borneo. d. 7 June 1945
Sandakan aged 31 years.
WX8077 Laurie Kuhlman – Wounded in action Jurong Road. Admitted 2/9th Field Ambulance with shrapnel wounds to left chest and back 9 Feb 1942. Discharged to Unit 26 June 1942. Selected to work Burma-Thai Railway with ‘D’ Force Thailand V Btn. d. acute colitis 3 Mar 1944 Non Pladuk, Thailand aged 27 years.
WX9528 Andrew Lambie – ‘D’ Force Thailand, S Btn.
‘Rashin’ Maru Party to Japan. Recovered Niihama.
WX9146 Bob Lush – Remained Singapore. Recovered Changi Gaol Camp.
WX8820 Wally McCudden – ‘D’ Force Thailand S Battalion. Wally died cardiac beri beri and typhus Chungkai Hospital Camp Thailand on 28 Aug 1843 aged 36 years having been evacuated from Hellfire Pass region.
WX9825 Charles Peter McLoughlin – one of about 90 Machine Gunners AWOL Fremantle when ‘Aquitania’ anchored one night 15 January 1942, and unable to reboard before his ship departed following day. Read about those AWOL at Fremantle.
Joined 2/2nd MG Battalion in Java and worked at Tjillitan aerodrome near Bataum . Taken POW 8 Mar 1942. Moved to Bandeong POW Camp. Selected to work Burma Thai Railway was moved to Bicycle Camp before being shipped to Singapore and Rangoon with Java Group No. 4 Williams Force. Arrived Singapore 12 October 1942. Sailed 2 days later for Rangoon, Burma then Moulmein before heading to railway to their first work Camp No. 35Km. Read about Java Force Group No. 4 Williams Force
WX8319 Josuah William Meredith – Remained Singapore. Worked Pulau Blakang Mati. Recovered from Changi.
WX4941 Raymond Muller – ‘D’ Force Thailand S Btn. ‘Rashin’ Maru Party to Japan. Worked Yamane and Niihama Japan and recovered from Niihama.
WX7659 Edwin Leslie ‘Les’ Nolan, Driver – Green Force Burma. ‘Rakuyo’ Maru party. Lost at sea 12 Sep 1944 aged 34 years.
WX10790 L/Cpl Harry Claude Norris – shell shocked Buona Vista, evacuated on 15 Feb 1942. ‘D’ Force Thailand, S Btn. Recovered Kachu Mountain Camp, Thailand.
WX9181 Wilfred Harold Nottle – ‘D’ Force Thailand,
S Btn. ‘Rashin’ Maru Party to Japan. Yamane, Niihama Wharf. Recovered from Niihama. (Nottle had been knocked off wharf at Niihama Aug 1945 and fractured left ankle. Admitted to camp hospital where he remained three weeks.)
WX4934 Ronald Arthur ‘Ron’ Page – ‘B’ Force Borneo. d acute enteritis Ranau 17 Feb 1945 aged 26 years.
WX9197 John Edgar Peers – admitted 2/10th AGH with shrapnel wounds to left groin and fractured left pelvis . DOW 6 Mar 1942 aged 38 years.
WX5054 Dan Quinn, Cook – Remained Changi. Recovered from Kranji Hospital, Woodlands, Singapore. Flown from Singapore to Perth with Duke of Gloucester’s aircraft ‘Endeavour’ (which had been used to urgently recover very ill POWs from Sumatran Railway – then flew a number of them to Perth).
WX9005 Eric Reginald ‘Reg’ or ‘Buck’ Rogers – Green Force Burma. Recovered from Nacompaton Camp, Thailand.
WX7893 L/Cpl James Stanley Smith (promoted 1 Mar 1942) – AWOL Fremantle, joined ‘Blackforce’ Java. Taken POW 8 Mar 1942. ‘A’ Force Burma, Java Party No. 4 Williams Force.
WX6841 John Stewart Smith – ‘D’ Force Thailand S Btn, ‘Rashin’ Maru Party to Japan. Recovered Niihama, Japan.
WX9143 Montague Joseph ‘Monty’ Smith – ‘F’ Force Thailand. d. 13 Nov 1943 Tanbaya Hospital Camp. Burma of dysentery and tropical ulcers aged 27 years.
WX8646 L/Cpl Arthur Percival Spouse – KIA Hill 200, Ulu Pandan 12 Feb 1942 aged 21 years.
WX9827 Reginald Harold Stribling – AWOL Fremantle, joined ‘Blackforce’ Java. Taken POW of Japan 8 Mar 1942. Selected to work Burma-Thai Railway with ‘A’ Force Burma, Java Party No. 4 Williams Force. Recovered from Nakom Chassi, Thailand
WX9330 Dudley Joseph ‘Dud’ Squire – KIA Hill 200, Ulu Pandan 12 Feb 1942 aged 32 years.
WX9827 George Taylor– Listed as missing believed killed at Sungei Jurong,Singapore. Later discovered had escaped to Sumatra – picked up by HMAS ‘Hobart’ at Padang, west coast Sumatra taken to Ceylon. Admitted 2/12th Australian General Hospital Columbo 9 Mar 1942. 13 Mar 1942 boarded ‘Stirling Castle’ and disembarked Melbourne 6 Apr 1942, then sailed to Perth. TOS with reformed 2/3rd Machine Gn Btn 1 Jul 1942 and served on Bougainville with 58th Corps Field Park Coy.
WX8139 Percy Tompkins – ‘D’ Force Thailand S Btn, ‘Rashin’ Maru Party to Japan. Recovered Niihama, Japan.
WX12989 Herbert John ‘Bert’ Wall – Green Force Burma. ‘Rakuyo’ Maru Party. Rescued with other POWs by Imperial Japanese Navy, taken onto Japan. Recovered from Sakata, Japan.
WX9067 Eric George Watt – ‘H’ Force Group 3 Thailand.
Returned Singapore. Recovered from there.
WX12593 Ron Wylie – ‘D’ Force Thailand, V Btn. Recovered from Ubon Camp, Thailand.
Total 19 Deaths
38 Machine Gunners lost their lives when ‘Rakuyo’ Maru sank on 12 Sept 1944 in South China Sea.
This sea journey took 70 days – under the most horrific conditions.
Please read about ‘Both’ Party selected to work in Japan, but sailed as far as Saigon.