The Soldier's Details

First Name:
William James
Nick Name:
Corporal (Promoted on 11.2.1942)
Regimental #:
‘F’ Company
Place of Birth:
Melbourne, Victoria
Father's Name:
William James Paterson
Mothers's Name:
Jessie Paterson
Church of England
Pre-war Occupation:
Farmhand and Timber Worker
Thanbyuzayat War Cemetery, Plot A7, Row C, Grave 1, Age 27.
Selerang Camp Changi, Woodlands Camp ( Clothing Store), Selarang Barracks Changi (C.Q.M.S.)
‘F’ Force Thailand
Camps Thailand:
Shimo Sonkurai
Cause of Death:
Cerebral Malaria and Colitis
Place of Death:
Shimo Sonkurai
Date of Death:
Row 1, Grave No. 4, Sonkurai

General Description

Wounded in action North Lim Chu Kang Road at D’ Company No. 13 Platoon position at 1130 hours on 8.2.1942. There was a direct hit which left Joe Pearce buried to his waist, No. 3 gunner Bobby Pratt (WX8705) killed and Paterson severely injured.   Admitted to 2/13th Australian General Hospital with shrapnel wounds to his left and right forearms and face he also suffered bone damage to his right elbow. Admitted to 2/9th Field Ambulance and transferred to 2/10th Australian General Hospital on 6.3.1942. Transferred to No. 2 Convalescent Depot ex‐Australian General Hospital on 12.8.1942. Discharged to unit on 27.9.1942.
William who was a  former axe champion was hospitalised for 8 months.  His never attained full use of his right arm.
William Paterson volunteered for the Burma Thai Railway with ‘F’ Force (he in fact could have avoided going with his handicapped arm).  It was reported that he collapsed into a coma at Shimo (lower) Neihke and died suddenly but peacefully of cerebral malaria and colitis aged 27 years.    Body cremated at Shimo Sonkurai and the casket returned to Sonkurai No. 2 Camp for burial.  His body was interred after the war and reburied at Thanbuzayat War Cemetery, now Myanmar.

Please read about this Force

Follow the link below to read Peter Winstanley’s article on Corporal William James Paterson WX9073


WJ Paterson

William was the first of 5 children born to William James (Snr) Paterson and Jessie Harrison in Moyarra Victoria.
William left the family farm about 1936 and moved to Western Australia.  He worked at various timber mills throughout the south west of WA as a timber feller.  He won a number of competitions as a champion axe man.
He married Hope Briggs in June 1940 and the couple had two children, William John and Penelope Anne.  William’s tragic death at 28 years of age left Hope widowed with 2 young children.
When the 2/4th departed Northam for South Australia/Northern Territory Hope and the children returned to her parents at Mornington, WA.  Hope was a trained nurse and returned to work and became matron of the Mornington Hospital.




Paterson Wlm James



While at Woodside camp, William and his mate Joe Pearce WX9268 took leave and went to Melbourne Victoria. William visited the family farm at Moyarra South Gippsland and also caught up with his uncle Colonel Alexander Thomas Paterson in Ormond Melbourne. Alexander Paterson was the C.O. of the WW1 39th Battalion. On that same weekend Joe Pearce went to the 1941 VFL Grand final.’ – from Peter Winstanley’s website.



Dedicated by his Children on 21 May 2011.

Biography presented during plaque dedication:

‘Corporal William James Paterson of 2/4 Machine Gun Battalion was born in Berwick, Victoria in March 1915. He was one of two sons and three daughters born to William and Jessie Paterson of Moyarra, Victoria.
He attended school at Hallora and after leaving farmed with his parents at their Victorian farm. In 1936, he moved to Mornington Mill in Western Australia where he worked as a tree feller.
His pastimes included football, log chopping and duck shooting. At Mornington Mill he met and later married Kathleen Mary Hope.
He enlisted at Claremont in October 1940 and was assigned to the 2/4 Machine Gun Battalion at Northam Military Camp for training.
They moved to Adelaide, to Darwin and finally arrived in Singapore in January 1942 and the battalion’s companies were sent where they were needed.
B Company went to the British Manchester Fusiliers, C to the Indian 44 Brigade, D to the Australian 22 Brigade and A was kept in reserve.
After the surrender of Singapore, the remnants of the battalion were concentrated at Changi gaol and from there they were sent to various forced labour camps.
After capture, William was sent to Changi Gaol and then to work on the Burma-Thailand railway.
Corporal William James Paterson, service number WX9073, of 2/4 Machine Gun Battalion died as a prisoner of war in Thailand on 25 July 1943. He was 28 years of age.’



You can read further details of Paterson’s life

Camp Locations:

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