The following three men from 2/4th MGB men are recognised on Mt. Barker WW2 War Memorial:
WX9361 BARTLETT, Michael Arthur was born 1917 Albany. He was a POW of Japan at Selarang, Changi when he was selected with ‘D’ Force Thailand, S Battalion to work on the Burma-Thai railway. S Battalion left Singapore crammed into railway carriages headed for Thailand. The 4-5 day journey was not only crowded, but the days were stinking hot and the nights freezing cold. They were not provided sufficient water nor food.
Michael worked at several camps in the Hellfire Pass region – their working conditions were appalling as were living conditions. The sharp flints of rock provided small wounds to POW’s legs, bare feet (most had no shoes) arms and sometimes bodies. These easily became ulcerated. As well the men worked long hours with very small amounts of food with little nutrition. Beatings were the norm. Michael was probably evacuated to Tarsau Camp which was the ‘D’ Force hospital (without medical supplies) and Japanese HQ for ‘D’ Force. Tragically, it was here he died on 7 December 1943 of beri beri and dysentery. He was 28 years of age.
Michael was the son of Michael Bartlett (Snr) and Mary Baker Muir who married 1914. Michael Bartlett (Snr) was a partner in a butcher shop Mt. Barker. Both Michael (Snr) and Mary Bartlett are buried at the cemetery in Mt. Barker, as is another son Andrew who died in a motor cycle accident in Albany, 1937 aged 21 years.
WX15707 COOPER, Hugh Miles was born 1905 Tenterden, the son of William and Sarah Cooper. He enlisted 12 August 1941 and joined Battalion Headquarters as a Reinforcement. He was taken POW at Singapore and later selected to work on the Burma-Thai Railway with ‘D’ Force Thailand, V Battalion which departed Singapore Railway Station 17 March 1943 (as did ‘Teddy’ Moir and Peter Gardiner below).
V Battalion endured one of the highest Australian death rates of all railway work parties on the railway.
Hugh Coopler died at Kuii Camp, Thailand with dysentery aged 38 years. He was the father of two young sons.
WX15905 MOIR, Edward George (Teddy) was born 1911 Donnybrook to McLaren John Moir (known as Kenny) and Edith Alice Parsons. The couple also had a daughter Gwen. Kenny Moir enlisted at Blackboy Hill for WW1 and tragically died with pneumonia in 1916.
Edith Alice Moir (nee Parsons) remarried to Harold Alan Gardiner. Their son Peter Alan Gardiner WX 10925 was born in 1921. Peter enlisted with 2/4th MGB on 17 February 1941. Edward (Ted) Moir enlisted September 1941.
The brothers were close, both were in ‘D’ company and as POWs in Singapore were selected with ‘D’ Force V Battalion to work on the Burma-Thai Railway.
Teddy Moir died of malaria and dysentery at Kuii Camp, Thailand whilst working on the Burma-Thai Railway. He was 32 years of age. He married in Albany in 1936 to Clarabelle May Lilford and had a family of three children. Records show Clarabelle May Moir died in 1944. She would have been 30 years old. The three Moir children were now without either parent.
(Peter Alan Gardiner survived the war and was recovered from Thailand).