The Soldier's Details
- First Name:
- Harold Thomas
- Nick Name:
- Regimental #:
- ‘C’ Company, No. 11 Platoon.
- Place of Birth:
- Perth, Western Australia
- Father's Name:
- Jesse Thomas Clayden
- Mothers's Name:
- Elizabeth Clayden (nee Poulton)
- Church of England
- Pre-war Occupation:
- Timber Worker
- ‘ A’ Force Burma, Java Party No 4, Williams Force
- Camps Thailand:
- Camps Burma:
- Reptu 30km and Khonkan 55km Hospital Camps, Tanyin 35 km, Anakwin 45km, Taungzan 57km, Mezali 72 km, Apalon 77km, Kyondaw
- Camps Java:
- Awa Maru Party (remained in French Indo-China)
- Awa MaruParty (remained in French Indo-China)
- Return Details 1945:
- Saigon-Bangkok-Singapore by aircraft, Singapore-Sydney, HMT Highland Chieftan, Sydney‐Melbourne-Perth by troop train.
Harold Thomas Clayden was younger brother to Sydney Richard Clayden WX10358. The brothers enlisted AIF on the same day.
Harold later joined 2/4th’s ‘C’ Company 11 Platoon as did John Roibinson. Syd joined ‘C’ Company HQ as did Noel Banks.
Harold was AWL at Fremantle after which the brothers would have been separated as he sailed to Java as a reinforcement and became part of ‘Blackforce’. Harold was one of 93 men from 2/4th who were recorded as AWL at Fremantle, when the ‘Aquitania‘ departed Western Australian shores headed for Singapore.
The brothers may have had the opportunity to meet up again in Singapore as they were both drafted in ‘A’ Force. However this is unknown as again they were drafted into different work parties.
Buck was sailed from Java to Singapore arriving 12 October 1942 and sailing from Singapore to Burma on 14th October 1942. He became part of ‘A’ Force Williams Force which were a group who worked up and down the line laying track. We know he was at 30km camp and 55km Camp, both were hospital camps before being sent to Tamarkan. Williams Force working Camps in Burma included Tanyin 35, Anakwin 45km, Taungzan 57 km, Mezali 72 km, Apalon 77km and Kondaw.
At Tamarkan, Thailand Harold was drafted into the ‘Awa Maru‘ Party to work in Japan. The Party was sent by rail to Saigon via Bangkok and Phom Penh. Whilst waiting for their ship the POWs worked at Saigon Docks. Before the Japanese decided sailing from Saigon was too fraught with danger of the American submarines attacking, the Party was sent by train back to Singapore via Bangkok. The POWs were to be accommodated in Singapore before sailing for Japan.
While at Saigon Buck became too sick to travel. He remained behind in Saigon with another 2/4th soldier, Len Greaves while the remainder of the Work Party moved out of Saigon to head to Singapore to sail to Japan. The waters around Saigon were too dangerous with American submarines to use the harbour.
He was recovered from Saigon 20 August 1945.
Harold and Sydney initially returned to live near their family at Wooroloo and where their parents were orchardists.
Brothers Harold Thomas and Sydney Richard Clayden enlisted the same day. Syd was 2 years older. Their parents Jessie Thomas Clayden and Elizabeth Poulton married 1910 in England. It is not known when Jessie arrived in Western Australia, Elizabeth arrived in 1914 from London with 3 year old Frank, older brother to Harold (Buck) and Syd. The family at some time settled at Wooroloo and developed an orchard. The boys helped in the orchard and on enlistment were working in the lucrative timber industry which existed at that time around Wooroloo.
After war’s end, both boys initially returned to Wooroloo before making their lives in other parts of WA.
Harold married 1947 to Daphne P. Watson and they had a family of five daughters and resided Wundowie.
His father Jessie died in 1950
Harold died 22 December 1979 at Northam. His wife Daphne died in 2012.
Brother Syd died December 1986.
And the story of several friends who did not make it back to ‘Aquitania’ before sailing for Singapore midday16 January 1942.
- Tamarkan, Tha Makham 56k - Thailand
- Apalon, Apalaine, 80 Kilo, 337k - Burma
- Khonkan, 55Kilo Hospital 360k - Burma
- Reptu, Retphaw, 30Kilo 385k - Burma
- Taungzun, 60 Kilo, 358k - Burma
- Saigon - French Indo China
- Tanyin 35 Kilo Camp - Burma
- Anakwin 45 Kilo Camp - Burma
- Mezali 70km Camp - Burma