The Soldier's Details
- First Name:
- Hurtle Stanley
- Nick Name:
- Regimental #:
- ‘C’ Company, No 10 Platoon.
- Place of Birth:
- Bute, South Australia
- Father's Name:
- Herbert Hall Fidge
- Mothers's Name:
- Matilda Shannan Fidge
- Pre-war Occupation:
- Selarang Camp Changi; River Valley Road (Jeep Island, dry dock); Changi Gaol Camp Hospital (ulcer in left eye, removed from Japan draft); Transferred to Changi Administration on 28.1.1945; X10 Party
- ‘ A’ Force Burma, Green Force No. 3 Battalion
- Camps Burma:
- Victoria Point, Kendau 4.8km, Thetkaw, Meiloe, Augganaung.
- Rakuyo Maru Party, Kumi No. 35
- Return Details 1945:
- Singapore-Darwin‐Sydney, HMT Arawa; Sydney-Melbourne by troop train; Melbourne-Fremantle, HMT Strathmore
Bert was selected with ‘A’ Force Burma, No. 3 Battalion to work on the Burma end of the Railway, departing Singapore to sail to Burma on 14 May 1942.
This group of men first arrived at Victoria Point, before moving to Tavoy, Ye, Thanbyuzat, Kendau, Thetkaw, Meiloe, Augganaung before moving south to Thailand when the railway was completed.
He was probably accommodated at Tamarkan.
It was here Bert was considered fit by the Japanese and selected to work in Japan with Kumi 35 to supposedly sail on ‘Rakuyo Maru’. They were transported through Bangkok to Phom Penh and to Saigon. It was here the Japanese now realised the Allied blockade was too efficient and they were no longer able to sail safely out of Saigon to Japan. The POWs were to be sent back by rail to Singapore to be shipped to Japan!
Arriving back in Singapore the men were accommodated at River Valley Road Camp where they were to work on dry docks awaiting their sailing ship.
In September 1944 Bert was found to have a cornea ulcer in his left eye and soon after in his right eye. He was removed from the Japan draft because he was almost blind and remained in Changi. Bert was lucky, had he been well enough to sail with ‘Rakuyo Maru’ there is every possibility he would have drowned in South China Sea when the ship was hit by American submarines. Many of Bert’s mates lost their lives.
When his sight sufficiently recovered he worked with the X10 Party. Read further.
He was transferred to Changi Administration 28 Jan 1945.
He was recovered at the end of the war from Changi on 4 September 1945.
Frank McGlinn went to Japan with ‘Rashin Maru’ Party and was recovered from Niihama when the war ended.
‘I was told that Bert Fidge (Hurtle Stanley Fidge WX7663) had been left in Singapore and might lose his eyesight.’
Bert was the second of four boys born to parents Herbert Hall Fidge and Matilda Sharman who married in March 1913 at Bute, SA. Matilda died in 1919 Bute, SA soon after the birth of her youngest son Arthur Allan Fidge and when Hurtle was about 4 years of age.
Herbert Hall Fidge remarried to Harriet Jane Troeth about 1920 and there followed 2 daughters and a son.
The family were to endure the deaths of two children: Half sister Brenda Joyce Fidge born in 1922 died in 1923 and Hurtle Stanley’s eldest brother William Rex died in 1924 aged 10 years.
We have records of Reg playing cricket, footy and competing in cycling at Narambeen in the 1930s’.
Above: Grandparents of Bert Fidge.
When Bert enlisted in 1940 he had been working as farm labourer at ‘Von Vue’ Emu Hill, near Beverley. His last address was Narambeen.
On returning to Australia at the end of the war, Bert was found to be living in NSW in 1949 at Fairfield, with his wife Maisie Pearl (nee Waters) where he was working as a plaster caster.
In 1958 Bert and Maisie were living at Fairfield, NSW where Bert had joined the Police Force. He remained with the Police Department throughout years 1963 and 1968 living with Maisie at Woy Woy.
At least Bert’s eyesight was not lost forever.
Bert moved to Terang Victoria about 1970s, his father died at Terang 1973.
We believe, according to Electoral Rolls, Bert returned to live in WA late 1970s, because in 1977 and 1980 he was recorded residing at Lansdowne Street, Kensington, WA.
Maisie died January 1981.
Bert passed away aged 85 yrs, November 3 2001, at Alstone, NSW.
- Changi Gaol Camp - Singapore
- River Valley Road Camp - Singapore
- Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
- Aungganaung,105Kilo - Burma
- Kendau, Kandaw, 4 Kilo - Burma
- Meilo, 75 Kilo, 340k - Burma
- Saigon - French Indo China
- Victoria Point, Kawthoung - Burma. \'A\' Force, Green Force No. 3 Btn
- Thetkaw 14 Kilo - Burma