The Soldier's Details

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Surname:
Simmonds
First Name:
Norman Edward
Nick Name:
Bushy Top
Rank:
Private
Regimental #:
WX7576
Company:
'C' Company, 10 Platoon
Enlisted:
6.08.1940
Discharged:
20.02.1946
DOB:
12.07.1915
Place of Birth:
Perth, Western Australia
Father's Name:
Albert William Simmonds
Mothers's Name:
Fanny Stewart Parker
Religion:
Church of England
Pre-war Occupation:
Market Gardener
Java:
'Blackforce'
Force:
'D' Force Thailand, Java Party No. 6, P Battalion
Camps Thailand:
Konyu 1, Hintok River, Kinsaiyok, Nakon Nayok
Camps Java:
Bandeong, Bicycle Camp.
Return Details 1945:
Thailand-Singapore by aircraft, Singapore-Fremantle, HMT Circassia

General Description

Norman Edward Simmonds was one of two sons and 6 daughters born to parents Albert Simmonds and Fanny Parker.  Albert died in 1922 and Fanny died in 1932.  Norman’s eldest sister was Bertha Florence Simmonds Lindsey.

Prior to enlistment, Simmonds was an amateur Boxer and wrestler known as “Bushy Top”.

Above:  Simmonds and believed to be Buller Robinson.

Above:  Simmonds and ‘Buller’ Robinson gave a wrestling display.

Read about Bushy’s first flight (not FIGHT!)

In his book ‘The War Diaries of Weary Dunlop’   Dunlop wrote of the imprisonment at Bandeong, Java on the 3 August 1942 and amongst the sports events he writes
“Boxing and wrestling in Radio City tonight.  ‘Babe Montana’ (Simmonds) had some ribs stove in by his playful opponent jumping on him, so off to hospital.  A bad day in the sporting line.”
Remembering Dunlop was a sports enthusiast and participated in many athletic events and was also a boxer.

 

Simmonds married in 1948 to Marjorie Helen Johnson.  He recorded his occupation prior to enlisting as gardener.    He continued in this profession when he returned after the war where we found 1954 Electoral Roll Norm and Marjorie were residing Wattle Grove, Norm was gardening them.
In 1958 Electoral Roll the Simmonds were residing Churchill Ave, Subiaco, Majorie Machinist and Norm was orderly.
In 1968 and 1977 Norm is residing Hardey Road, Glen Forrest and Norm is working as an orderly.
Norman Simmonds died on 11 October 1982 at Glen Forrest aged 67 years.

 

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Simmonds enlisted AIF 6 Aug 1940 and later enlisted 2/4th’s ‘C’ Coy, 10 Platoon under CO Lt Wilson.
When ‘Aquitania’ anchored off Fremantle for the night of 15 Jan 1942 100s of 2/4th boys disobeyed orders not to leave their ship.  Most managed but about 90 well-trained machine gunners failed to be on board when ‘Aquitania’ sailed at midday for Singapore on 16th.  Simmonds was amongst these man who set sail for Singapore a few weeks later but as Singapore was about to Fall they were taken to Java where they were to join forces with other Australians, British and Dutch East Indies to fight the Japanese.  Instead the Dutch capitulated and they were taken POWs of Japan about 8 March 1942.

Please read further about the 2/4th on AWOL

Simmonds joined ‘D’ Force Thailand Java Party No. 6 P Battalion to sail to Singapore and entrained to work on the Burma-Thai Railway.    There were 19 2/4th included.  Please read about this work force which included a small number of 2/4th boys.
The POW work camps listed  in Thailand for Norm are generalised as we have no means to confirm.  We assume he was at Bicycle Camp in Java as this appears to be the camp most POWs were transferred to prior leaving Java. And possibly Bandeong as this was where Dunlop referred to the boxing matches.
He was recovered from Nakom Nayok, Thailand at the end of the war.

Camp Locations:

  • Hintok, 154k - Thailand
  • Kanu 1 151.00k - Thailand
  • Kinsaiyok Main, 170.2k - Thailand
  • Nakom Nayok, Nakhon Nayok - Thailand
  • Bandoeng - Java ***
  • Bicycle Camp, Batavia, Jakarta - Java ***
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