The Soldier's Details
- First Name:
- Percy Alfred
- Regimental #:
- ‘C’ Company
- Place of Birth:
- Dongara, Western Australia
- Father's Name:
- William Sturtridge
- Mothers's Name:
- Eliza Marian Sturtridge
- Church of England
- Pre-war Occupation:
- Selarang Camp Changi, Thomson Road (Caldecot Hill Estate Camp), Mt Pleasant Camp, Selarang Barracks Changi.
- Camps Thailand:
- Tarsau, Kanu II, Kanu I, Hintok Road Camp, Tarsau, Non Pladuk, Nacompaton, Prachuab Kirikhan‐Mergui Escape Road, Petchaburi.
- 1/9423 & 8722
- Return Details 1945:
- Thailand‐Singapore by aircraft, Singapore‐Fremantle, HMT Highland Brigade.
Whilst at Selarang Barracks Percy was selected for ‘D’ Force S Battalion to work on the Thai-Burma Railway. This group contained the largest number of 2/4th men. Departing Singapore in March 1943 they travelled four days in extremely cramped and difficult conditions by train to Nonpladuk. The POWs were then transported by trucks to Tarsau where they worked several weeks before arriving at Kanu II. Kanu II camp was located in the Hellfire Pass region. The POWs worked in treacherous conditions, long hours and endured tropical diseases, bashings by guards and finally cholera. At Kanu I camp conditions were much the same. Percy then went to Hintok Road Camp before returning to Tarsau, Non Pladuk and finally Nacompaton Hospital Camp.
Sturtridge recorded spending 5 months recuperating from a severe tropical ulcer at Tarsau during which time he was unable to walk. Back on his feet he was moved to Nakompaton Hospital Camp mid April 1944. Here he found the food better than anywhere else he had been and the rice ration liberal.
At Nakompaton the POWs were segregated into their various nationalities. There were 50 huts divided into 3 sections and Sturtridge was one of about 70 Australians in No. 1 section of hut 44. The men comprised a mixed crowd from Army, Navy and Air-Force and mostly strangers to each other. This didn’t last and friendships were quickly formed. Because it was a camp for sick men the POWs really nothing to do and would only see the Japs on roll call parades. They enjoyed a much needed rest.
In April 1944 Percy was selected by the Japanese for a work force ‘to perform light duties in Malaya’. There were 1000 sick POWs and endless numbers of Asians taken to southern Burma to construct the Mergui Escape Road. This region was mountainous and conditions appalling. One in four POWs perished and the Asian deaths were far greater. When the war ended, the surviving POWs were airlifted to Singapore. Percy was one of eight 2/4th men working on this project and they all survived.
“On Monday, 2nd June, 1986, at Guildford Grammar School the late Percy Sturtridge was honoured by having a building named after him. Percy was a teacher for 21 years at the school and during this period was a dedicated and valued member of the staff. We would like to share with his wife, Olga, and son, Karl, the pride of having this honour bestowed upon him.”
As per BB vol 1 #96 July 1986.
- Mount Pleasant 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
- Mergui (Myiek) Escape Road - Thailand
- Nacompaton, Nakom Pathom Hospital - Thailand
- Non Pladuk, 0k - Thailand
- Petchaburi - Thailand
- Tarsau, Tha Sao 125k - Thailand