The Soldier's Details

First Name:
Alan Robert
Nick Name:
Regimental #:
A' Company, No. 4 Platoon
Place of Birth:
Perth,Western Australia
Father's Name:
Robert Murdie Beattie
Mothers's Name:
Sadie Beattie
Pre-war Occupation:
Driver & Storeman
Bicycle Camp Batavia.
Camps Japan:
Fukuoka sub-Canp No. 13, Saganoseki, Fukuoka sub-Camp No. 17, Omuta.
Rashin Maru Party
Return Details 1945:
Nagasaki-Okinawa-Manila ,USS Cape Gloucester, Manila-Sydney, HMS Speaker, Sydney-Perth by troop train.

General Description

Joe Beattie enlisted AIF 25 Jan 1941, later joined 2/4th MGB’s ‘A’ Company. No. 4 Platoon as a Driver under Commanding Officers Lt. McCaffrey and Lt. H J Manning.

Please read about A Company No. 4 Platoon

Joe did not reach Singapore with the Battalion – he was AWOL when ‘Aquitania’ anchored overnight at Gage Roads, Fremantle on her voyage from Sydney to Singapore.  He was one of about 90 Machine Gunners unable to reboard before ‘Aquitania’ sailed 16 Jan 1942.

Please read further

Beattie was landed at Java, where he became part of ‘BlackForce’.

When the Allied forces surrendered to the Japanese in early March, Beattie was sent to Bicycle Camp, Batavia.

He was selected to work on the Buma-Thai Railway at the Hellfire Pass Cutting with ‘D’ Force Thailand, Java Party No 6 P Battalion.  Please read further details of Java Party No. 6 P Battalion.

When the rail link was completed, the Japanese  confined all POWs into about 4-6 large camps in Thailand, unless sick.
Joe went to Tamarkan and then to Tamuang where he was considered ‘fit’ by the Japanese to work in Japan.

He was selected to work with what would become known as ‘Rashin’ Maru Party – better known to those onboard, ‘Byoki’ Maru, the Sick Ship.

Please read further about this terrible 70 day journey from Singapore to Moji, Japan.

Joe was sent to Fukuoka sub-Camp No. 13 Saganoseki, then onto Fukuoka sub-Camp No. 17 Omuta.  Please read about the notorious Omuta Camp

He was recovered from Omuta when the war ended, and sailed on USS Cape Gloucester to Manila before boarding HMAS Speaker to sail to Sydney.  Please read about HMAS Speaker.


Below:    September 1945.


Below:  The telegram which the Beattie family hoped for several years, they would receive finally arrives.



Below:  Recovered from his POW Camp in Japan – Alan wrote to his father whilst on board USS Cape Gloucester Sept 1945.




The above photo is property of Joe Beattie.  We believe the chap with the X in front of him is Joe Beattie!


Bunbury 1985 Reunion

Beryl Beattie & Jimmy Gilmour


1987 Anniversary Dinner – Beryl Beattie, Trevor James, Alma & Dick Ridgewell.


51st Anniversary Dinner August 1991

John and Rhonda Lane, Joe Matthews and Joe Beattie.


Above:  1985 Anzac Day Reunion -Tom Hampton, Bill Carlyon, Joe Beattie & ‘Pop’ Heppingstone.


Above:  Bunbury Reunion 1985 – Slim Pitts and Joe Beattie (regretfully we advise we cannot positively name the ladies! 2020)


‘2/78 Roberts Road,
Dear Mac, (Graeme MacKinnon was then President. He resigned due to ill health about June 1992 and died soon after)
I would like to express my warm and sincere thanks to those members and some of their wives who visited me during my recent spell in hospital. A big thank you for their caring and sharing some of their time with me, a big comfort indeed, thank you chaps and thank you ladies for your visits, you made my day.
Yours sincerely
Joe Beattie’






Alan (Joe) Beattie was one of three children born to Robert Murdie Beattie and Sadie Johnson who married 1919 Perth.

Lt Beattie served with 11th Battalion WW1 – captured by thew Germans and became POW until end of war.  He was awarded Military Cross for Bravery.

Please read our WW1 Australian POWs to read a little of Lt Beattie’s Records

Below:  Sadie Beattie’s father and grandfather to Joe, died in 1926.  Her sister Gwen had died earlier.


In 1927 Sadie Beattie died aged 26 years, leaving three young children.  Joe would have been about 5 years of age.





Joe married 1947 to Patricia McShane from Sydney.

Patricia Beattie died 5 Apr 1959 and was buried in her hometown of Sydney.


Joe’s father Robert Murdie Beattie died 1954. Father and son had enjoyed a close reationship.


Joe married 1959 to Beryl Cavey.



At Home – Leaving for 50th Anniversary Dinner 27 Nov 1990


Above:  1)  Mick Wedge 2) Joe Beattie of 2/4th.



Joe Beattie died 27 Sep 1995 at Rivervale aged 72 years.

We sincerely thank Joe’s daughter Ricci for making available her father’s extensive collection of newspaper articles about the 2/4th, Paciific War as well as Joe’s photo album – put together so diligently and lovingly by Joe and Beryl.
The newspaper cuttings are a valuable source of information as our newspaper source
only extends (to date) far as the late 1950s.

(April/May 2020)

Camp Locations:

  • Tamarkan, Tha Makham 56k - Thailand
  • Tamuang, Tha Muang 39k - Thailand
  • Bicycle Camp, Batavia, Jakarta - Java ***
  • Omuta Miike, Fukuoka #17-B - Japan
  • Saganoseki, Fukuoka #13-D - Japan