The Soldier's Details

Surname:
Halbert
First Name:
Francis
Nick Name:
Frank
Rank:
Private
Regimental #:
WX8250
Company:
'C' Company
Enlisted:
16.08.1940
DOB:
16.06.1907
Place of Birth:
Menzies, Western Australia
Father's Name:
Josef Dudley Halbert
Mothers's Name:
Jane Halbert (nee Shelley)
Religion:
Roman Catholic
Pre-war Occupation:
Prospector
Memorial:
Thanhyuzayat War Cemetery, Plot A6, Row B, Grave 7, Age 35.
Singapore:
Selarang Camp and Barracks Changi
Force:
'F' Force Thailand
POW#:
1/7898 and 3/7950
Cause of Death:
Cholera
Place of Death:
Shimo Sonkurai
Date of Death:
4.06.1943
Buried:
Grave No. 24, at the 126km peg, Thailand

General Description

Halbert
Halbert in centre.

 

 

Lofty Watts, Frank Halbert, Alex Spooner, Don Manning (From Wenn Collection)

 

Francis was youngest child born to Joseph Dudley Halbart and Jane Shelley.  Joseph and Jane married in 1898 at Menzies and the family continued to live in the area with Joseph working as a miner.  It is believed both Joseph and Jane originally came from around Eaglehawk, Victoria.
In 1October 1910 third son Joseph ‘Cyril’ died aged about 8 years of diphtheria.  With antibiotics not yet invented, Diphtheria was a deadly illness for children.

 

Frank’s older brother Ernst born about 1898 and 9 years older,  enlisted  WW1 in 1916 with 11th Infantry. He survived several times with influenza and a GSW to left shoulder.  In the West Australian Newspaper October 1918, his name was included in a long list of wounded. Ernst returned to WA.  Frank had 3 sisters Clarice, Bernice and Kathleen known as Kitty. Ernst an Clarice were twins.
In November 1925 Frank was a pillion passenger riding with his brother Ernst.  Ernst, who had married since returning from WW1 and Europe and worked as a grocer, died instantly when the bike crashed.  This experience would have been shocking for 18 year old Frank.

 

Halbert

 

In 1937 Frank’s father Joseph died and was buried at Menzies where he had lived and worked most of his life.    His mother initially continued to reside at Kalgoorlie.

 

 

Halbert Frank

Kalgoorlie Miner Newspaper September 1945.

Below:  June 1946

 

Halbert

When Frank died, his mother had lost all three of her sons.

Yunndaga was a small town 7km south of Menzies and today is  abandoned.  In 1904 the town originally  known as Woolgar was gazetted as Yunndaga in1904, The Dept of Lands and Surveys advised there was a town in Queensland with the same name.
Gold was discovered in the mid 1890’s.  Yunndaga and was home to Menzies Consolidated Gold Mine.
Frank’s father Joseph Halbert was recorded in the Menzies 1904 Electoral Roll.

 

Frank Halbert was selected with ‘F’ Force to work on Burma-Thailand RaiIway.  The 3,600 British and Australian workforce departed Singapore April 1943.  ‘F’ Force was to work on the central stretch of the railway up to Pagoda Pass.  Their HQ was at Neike.
1,060 Australians died and 2,037 British.  A shockingly high death tally.
One of the purposes of Sonkarai camp was because the POWs were building a very big bridge across the river.  There was a large camp where the men were accommodated and a smaller ‘hospital’ camp further away for the very sick where the doctors and orderlies tried beyond their best to assist and provide care and comfort with little or no medical equipment or medicines.  Frank died of cholera.

Please read further about ‘F’ Force Thailand

 

Below:  Grandfather to Frank, died 1908 Victoria.

 

Below:  The WA Goldfields were subjected to many illnesses.

 

The Halbert family mentioned frequently re Menzies Battery.

 

Both Ernest and Frank have their names on the Menzies War Memorial, Ernest for WW1 and Frank for WW2.

 

Camp Locations:

  • Selarang Barracks Changi - Singapore
  • Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
  • Shimo Sonkurai, 288k - Thailand
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