The Soldier's Details
- First Name:
- Harry Bussell
- Regimental #:
- ‘C’ Company, No. 12 Platoon
- Place of Birth:
- Perth, Western Australia
- Father's Name:
- Harry De’Castilla
- Mothers's Name:
- Violet May Bussell
- Church of England
- Pre-war Occupation:
- Selarang Camp Changi
- ‘A’ Force Burma, Green Force, No. 3 Battalion
- Camps Thailand:
- Tamarkan, Konkoita, Chungkai, Petchaburi, Kachu Mountain Camp
- Camps Burma:
- Victoria Point, Kendau 4.8km, Thetkaw 14km, Meiloe 75km, Evacuated to Khonkan 55km Camp from Aungganaung 105km Camp on 1.7.1943 and discharged on 17.10.1943
- Return Details 1945:
- Singapore-Sydney by aircraft; Sydney-Fremantle, HMT Otranto 11.10.1945
Harry enlisted AIF 15 Jan 1941 later joining 2/4th’s ‘C’ Company, No. 12 Platoon.
At the end of war Harry was recovered from Kachu Mountain Camp near Phetburi. Please read further about his return to Fremantle on ‘Ontranto’ from Sydney October 1945.
As a POW at Selarang Singapore Harry was selected to work on Burma end of railway with ‘A’ Force Burma, Green Force No. 3. Please read about this Force.
When the railway was completed December 1943, the Japanese began moving all the POWs working in Burma south into Thailand into one of several large camps. Harry had spent nearly 3 months ill at Khonkan Hospital Camp, before being moved to Tamarkan in December. Read about Khonkan Hospital Camp.
Many POWs died at this Hospital Camp run by the highly recognised Australian surgeon Dr. Albert Coates. We cannot confirm Harry was there because of tropical ulcers, but it seem highly possible.
In Thailand Harry joined a work party to Kachu Mountain Camp, which was hellish, lacking supplies, beatings. ‘Pop’ Heppingstone and many 2/4th were also included in this work party – this would have been the major surviving factor of the men.
Prior to enlisting Harry had been working as driller/miner at Mt Palmer, Yilgarn. His name was recorded amongst the large number of injured miners printed regularly in the newspapers with ‘bruised chest’ – in the same list were several deaths. Mining was hazardous.
He was the youngest of three sons and had four sisters.
Harry’s father a civil engineer, was City Surveyor for Perth City Council for all of his life. Amongst his projects was the Toodyay Railway and surveying the water bores for the Trans Australian Railway.
Harry is cousin to ‘Pop’ Heppingstone WX8525.
Above: Harry’s sister’s wedding 1934
Below: From Daily News – Tuesday 11 September 1945
Harry Married November 1952 to Mavis Love Skipsey.
Mavis had been a nurse at a Children’s hospital. Her brother who was with RAAF died in 1944 in an aircraft accident.
Her father died earlier in 1952.
West Australian Friday 20th October 1950
Letters to the Editor
Harry De’Castilla died 1973 aged 65 years and was buried Fremantle.
- Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
- Chungkai, 60k - Thailand
- Petchaburi - Thailand
- Tamarkan, Tha Makham 56k - Thailand
- Aungganaung,105Kilo - Burma
- Kendau, Kandaw, 4 Kilo - Burma
- Khonkan, 55Kilo Hospital 360k - Burma
- Meilo, 75 Kilo, 340k - Burma
- Kachau Mountain Camp - Thailand
- Victoria Point, Kawthoung - Burma. \'A\' Force, Green Force No. 3 Btn
- Thetkaw 14 Kilo - Burma