The Soldier's Details

First Name:
Donald Charles
Nick Name:
Regimental #:
‘ B’ Company, No. 8 Platoon
Place of Birth:
Northam, Western Australia
Father's Name:
Charles Aloysius Robertson
Mothers's Name:
Ada Miriam Jane Robertson (nee Thackrah)
Church of England
Pre-war Occupation:
Administrator, New Guinea Patrol Officer
‘Blackforce’ Bicycle Camp
‘ A’ Force Burma, Java Party No. 4, Williams Force
Camps Thailand:
131km, l33km, Kanchanaburi, Tamarkan, Kanchanaburi, Rin Tin, Tamarkan
Camps Burma:
Beke Taung 40km Camp (2.7.1943).
Camps Java:
Bicycle Camp
Return Details 1945:
Thailand‐Singapore by aircraft, Singapore-Perth, PBY Catalina aircraft

General Description


Robertson enlisted AIF 10 Sept 1941, was sent to Woodside Camp, SA where he joined 2/4th’s ‘B’ Company 8 Platoon under C.O. Lt MacKinnon.
Please read about the men of 8 Platoon.
Robertson was AWOL from Fremantle when ‘Aquitania’ anchored overnight on her journey from Sydney to Singapore.  He was one of about 90 machine gunners who were unable to reboard before their ship sailed the following day on 16 January.
Please read about those who were AWOL
This group of men then sailed several weeks later to Singapore, but they were diverted to Java as Singapore was about to fall.
Robertson was one of a large number of machine gunners to join ‘Blackforce’ and prepare for the Japanese invasion.  He became a  POW of Japanese by 8 Mar 1942.
Probably imprisoned at Bicycle Camp, Java, Don Robertson was selected to work on Burma-Thai Railway with ‘A’ Force Burma, Java Party No. 4 Williams Force.
Please read about this Force
He arrived Singapore 12 Oct 1942 and departed two days later on 14 Oct 1942 Burma and the Railway.
This Force sailed from Java to Singapore, then up the coast of Burma to Rangoon, inland and  down the river to Moulmein, Thanyuzayat, to work on the railway line gathering at Tanyin.  Williams Force moved frequently due to the engineering expertise and experience of most of POWs who were from 2/2nd Pioneers.
The Williams Force POW Camps in Burma traditionally were:  Tanyin, Anakwin, Taunzan 57 Km, Mezali 72 km, Apalon 77 km, Kyondau 156 km, Payathonzu 108km.

We know he was at 40km on 2 Jul 1943

131km Kachu Mountain Camp to 133 km Bangan Camp/Neikhe 26 Dec 1943.

Arrived No. 1 Camp Kanchanaburi 13 Jan 1944

From No. 1 Tamarkan to No. 3 Kanchanaburi 22 May 1944  – marched out 6 June 1944

Returned from Rin Tin 180 km, Arrived Tamarkan l6 Sept 1944.

Was recovered fro Thailand at the end of the war.

Many in Williams Force continued working up and down the line mostly in Burma, however we believe Ron was to spend the latter time in Thailand.   Kanchanaburi, Tamarkan, Rin Tin and was recovered from Tamarkan at the end of war.  (There are no records to substantiate any POW records.)


Don was born to Charles Aloysius Robertson and Ada Miriam Jane Thackrah who married Northam about 1912.  They had a family of five children, Mary, John, Donald, Basil and June.
Charles Robertson died Northam 1957 aged 77 years and Ada Robertson died Feb 1972 aged 83 years.  Both are buried at Northam Cemetery.
Below:  Ada Robertson’s father, Robert Thackrah died 1927.  He is grandfather to Don Robertson.


Below: Don’s grandmother on his maternal side.  i.e. Ada Robertson’s mother Susan Thackrah died 1935 Northam.


In 1946 Don Robertson married to Madge Solin (nee Smith). Madge’s husband George Castelletti died in a mining accident at Bullfinch 17 Dec 1940.  The couple had a young son Errol Guseppi Castelletti who was born 20 Nov 1938.

Below:  Castelletti is Naturalised in 1935


She then married Lyttleton A W Solin in 1941.  They divorced in 1943.


In the 1949 and 1954 Electoral Roll, Madge and Don are residing Allen Street, East Fremantle.  Don is a soldier.
They have a family of two sons.
In 1958 and 1963 Electoral Roll Don is residing Hamilton Street, Fremantle and occupation is civil servant.
In 1977 and 1980 he is recorded at 8 Riches Way Bullcreek.
Donald passed away aged 85yrs, September 6 2002, at Bullcreek, WA.  Madge died 26 Dec 1970 aged 61 years. They are both buried at Fremantle Cemetery.


Below:  Madge mentions her two sons, 15 and 6 years.  The 15 year old was born Errol Giuseppe Castelletti in 1938.  He is son of Madge’s husband who died in mining accident at Bullfinch`17 Dec 1940 aged 36 years.



Donald Charles Robertson


Donald Robertson died 2 Sept 2002.

Camp Locations:

  • Kanchanaburi, 50k - Thailand
  • Rin Tin, Lin Tin 180k - Thailand
  • Tamarkan, Tha Makham 56k - Thailand
  • Tarsau, Tha Sao 125k - Thailand
  • Apalon, Apalaine, 80 Kilo, 337k - Burma
  • Beketaung, 40Kilo, 374k - Burma
  • Taungzun, 60 Kilo, 358k - Burma
  • Bicycle Camp, Batavia, Jakarta - Java ***
  • Tanyin 35 Kilo Camp - Burma
  • Anakwin 45 Kilo Camp - Burma
  • Mezali 70km Camp - Burma
  • Kyondaw 95 Kilo Camp – Burma
  • Payathonzu or Paya-thonzu Taung 108 Kilo Camp, Burma