2/4th men from Collie, Worsley region who did not return to their families and home.
2/4th men included on the above Collie War Memorial include three men who died at Sandakan.
WX7905 Annesley Frederick John – Fred perished in South China Sea, 12 September 1944 following sinking of ‘Rakuyo Maru’ whilst sailing from Singapore to Japan, aged 28 years.
He was selected to work on Burma end of railway with ‘A’ Force Burma, Java Party No. 4 Black Force from Java (he did not sail to Singapore) where he had been captured by the Japanese. They continued working on the rail until end of 1943 after which all POWs working in Burma were brought south to Thailand. Several months later Fred was considered fit by the Japanese and selected to work in Japan with what would become ‘Rakuyo’ Maru Party.
WX7883 Beard, W.H. Bill Beard died malaria 10 July 1945 aged 34 years Sandakan No. 1 Camp. His body was recovered from Sandakan 3 Cemetery – slit trenches in No. 2 Compound – the burial site of all those who died after 29 May 1944.
WX7909 Davidson Tom – Tom died of illness Thailand at Kuii Camp, Burma -Thai Railway September 1943, aged 33 years. Tom was selected to work on railway with ‘D’ Force V Battalion which departed Singapore Railway Station March 1943.
Others in this work Force included Kevin Moir, Bill Philp and Jack Wilson.
WX16416 Holme Charles ‘Bubbles’ died Sandakan-Ranau track Second March 7 June 1945 aged 22 years. (Enlisted 10 Sep 1941 – Reinforcement).
He was one of four 2/4th men who were part of a group of about 35 Australian POWs who together were tortured and massacred on the Sandakan to Ranau Track on the Second March.
WX17582 Lake G. George perished at Sandakan 8 April 1945, aged 23 years No. 1 Camp. His body was recovered after the war at No. 2 Camp. (Enlisted AIF 6 Nov 1941 – Reinforcement)
WX8012 Moir Kevin George died of cholera Thailand at Hintok River Camp, Burma-Thai Railway, August 1943 aged 24 years. He was selected in Singapore to work on the railway with ‘D’ Force Thailand V Battalion – with Jack Wilson and Tom Davidson.
WX8137 Needham J.W.H. John died December 1943 Burma at Khonkan Camp, Burma-Thai Railway aged 30 years. Read further about Khonkan Hospital Camp
He was possibly evacuated sick from Aungganaug Camp to Khonkan Hospital Camp, Burma.
He was selected Singapore with the first work party to leave the island ‘A’ Force Burma, Green Force No. 3 Battalion. This Force departed by ship from Singapore to sail to south-west Burma coast to Victoria Point for several months before journeying to northern end of rail in Burma. They commenced work 1 October 1942 and continued until end of 1943.
WX7902 Philp William Hawksley – Bill died Thailand of illness at Kuii Camp, Burma-Thai Railway aged 35 years. He was selected in Singapore to work on rail link with ‘D’ Force Thailand V Battalion which left Singapore Railway Station mid March 1943. Others in V Battalion included Tom Davidson, Jack Wilson and Kevin Moir.
WX7904 Smith R.M. ‘Blue’ died of illness Changi 19 April 1942 aged 26 years.
WX17973 Wilson J. ‘Jack’
died Thailand of illness
at Brankassi Camp, Burma-
Thai Railway August 1943 aged 36 years. He was selected to work on Burma-Thai Railway with ‘D’ Force Thailand, V Battalion.
John (Jack) Wilson – Photo taken UK.
Collie was large catchment area for enlistment; mining, agriculture and timber. The area included Worsley and several of above worked in the timber industry there including Holme and Beard. Worsley did not become a bauxite mining town until the 1960s and the mill was about 9 miles from Collie.
As a timber town Worsley Mill had been in existence since the very early 1900s. Worsley peaked in 1902 with a population of 1600 people. It was one of many mills in the area. Life was challenging for families with poor and sub-standard housing. The men worked for low wages and limited safety checks in place. Men suffered terrible injuries, loss of limbs and deaths. There were numerous strikes and confrontations. There were moments during the years when the workers had no income due to closure of mills for varying reasons.
Lyalls Mill was also in the Collie region and supported a small population until the mid 1950s.
Amongst those who joined the 2/4th from Collie and returned home were:
Harry Fuhrmann – awarded Distinguished Conduct Medal for outstanding leadership during battle of Singapore, (retired and later moved to Perth) Jim Quinn (later died Collie), Roy ‘Toona’ Simmonds (former prominent Mines-Rovers footballer) and later was Colliery Deputy for some years before retirement, Cliff Squance (later retired to Perth), Doug Tanner (worked for Shire Council and retired Collie), Jim Flanagan, Tom Green (died in work accident Centaur Mine, Muja in 1952), Alby Miller (died Collie), Arthur Magill – awarded Military Medal for Gallant Conduct during Singapore Battle, Jack Isaac, Tom Finlay. Jack Ewen retired Darkan farmer retired to Collie.
Below: The name Annesley is mentioned – probably related to Annesley above. Also Jim Scott of Donnybrook.
Large numbers of enlistments from Collie worked in the mines and they returned to do so after the war.
Opposite the Miners Institute is Pioneer Park, where the names of all miners who died working in the mines have their names recorded.
Below: He survived being POW of Japan for nearly 4 years – 33 year old Tom Green was tragically killed in an accident at Centaur Mine in 1953. He was the father of one young son, Trevor.