The Soldier's Details

First Name:
Arthur Melville
Nick Name:
Regimental #:
Military Medal
E' Company, Special Reserve Battalion, No. 2 Platoon
Place of Birth:
Collie, Western Australia
Father's Name:
Arthur William Magill
Mothers's Name:
May Eva Magill
Church of England
Pre-war Occupation:
Boiler Attendant
Escaped to Sumatra
Return Details 1945:
Singapore-Darwin-Sydney, HMT Arawa, Sydney-Melbourne by troop train, Melbourne-Fremantle, HMT Strathmore.

General Description

Magill enlisted AIF 6 Oct 1941 and joined 2/4th MGB as a reinforcement.  He sailed on ‘Aquitania’ which arrived Fremantle one night on 15 Jan 1942 to pick up fresh provisions and the reinforcements – which were all new recruitments and without the necessary training.  Corporal Magill joined No. 2 Platoon of ‘E’ Company Special Reserve Battalion under the command of Lt. Jim Till.  Till and at least 17 of his men were killed in action at Bukit Timah where they were ambushed by the Japanese.

Please read further about ‘E’ Company



During AIF. operations in MALAYA. Private Magill fought in ‘D’ Company (2/4th Machine Gun Battalion Reinforcements) of the Special Reserve Battalion. At BULIM VILLAGE on 9th February, 1942 he was leading his section on a patrol when he encountered an enemy patrol armed with a machine gun. He immediately engaged the enemy and killed five of them. He led his section most gallantly and was wounded in the neck and under the armpit. Three of his section were killed but he successfully withdrew the remainder to safety. Although wounded, he remained on with the section. At 16.50 hours on 10th February. 1942. the battalion withdrew to a position 2 1/2 miles back on JURUNG ROAD. At 0001 hours on 10th February. 1942, it was realised that the battalion was surrounded. The Japanese attacked strongly at 0600 hours when an order for withdrawal was given. During this action. Private Magill again exhibited outstanding powers of leadership. The battalion was ambushed and had to fight its way out. Private Magill again led his section with vigour and dash. He was wounded in the hand and had his rifle smashed but continued to fight on by assisting with a Bren gun. Of his section, six were killed and he was wounded three times. This soldier’s comrades spoke very highly of his leadership. and his behaviour throughout the action, despite his wounds, was an outstanding example of courage and devotion to duty.


Recommended by : Major AE Saggers CO Reserve Bn
Award Recommended: Distinguished Conduct Medal
Honour Granted: Military Medal
Date of London Gazette: 1st August 1946
Date of Commonwealth of Australia Gazette: 12th September 1946




Soldier was wounded in action at Bulim Vallage 9/2/1942.  He received gunshot wounds to his neck and armpit from a light automatic weapon.  Magill was wounded again at South-West Bukit Timah on 11/2/1942 this time receiving a gunshot wound to his 3rd and 4th fingers on his right hand and a gunshot wound to his leg.
Magill was saved from drowning during the escape from the scene of an ambush by Squasher Squance, who pushed him up a bank.
They escaped to Sumatra with Hopson and were later captured by Japanese on 17/3/1942 and imprisoned. Please read about their escape.
He left Gloe Goer Camp 8/3/1944 with a work party for Atjeh Party Road Works and Pakan Baroe-Moearo Railway.

And further reading

Lastly the skeletal POW’s evacuated from Sumatra





Arthur was second eldest son and fourth of 11 children born to Arthur William Magill and May Eva Trowbridge who married in 1914 Collie.  Most of the 11 children were sons.
Below:  Arthur’s  (Snr) brother Mat Magill is KIA France in 1916.


Sadly May Magill died 21 June 1939 at Collie aged 44 years when her son Arthur was about 20 years of age.   She was born South Australia 1894.


Arthur Magill (Snr) was born Victoria 1877 died Perth 1950.



After returning from war Arthur married in 1947 to Edith Mary Hackett.  Arthur and Edith Magill resided Collie throughout the 1950’s, 1960’s and about mid 1970’s they moved to Bunbury to retire.

Below:  Arthur’s sister Bessie died in Nov 1948.


Below:  Sadly Arthur’s father died in 1950.


Mac passed away aged 60 July 11 1979, Bunbury where he had resided for some time.  He was buried at Bunbury.




Arthur was one of the Collie boys.  Please read about them.

Camp Locations:

  • Gloe Gloer Camp - Sumatra
  • Padang - Sumatra **
  • Pakan Baroe-Moearo - Sumatra **