The Soldier's Details
- First Name:
- Ronald Edward
- Nick Name:
- Regimental #:
- 'A' Company
- Place of Birth:
- Manjimup, Western Australia
- Father's Name:
- John Arthur Hughes
- Mothers's Name:
- Jeanette Hughes
- Pre-war Occupation:
- Carpenter’s Labourer
- Epitaph, Labuan Memorial, Panel 18, Age 24.
- 'Blackforce', attached to 2/2nd Pioneer Bn.
- 'A' Force Burma, Java Party No 4, Williams Force
- Camps Thailand:
- Kami Sonkurai, 122 Camp, Neikhe, Kanchanaburi, Bangkok
- Camps Burma:
- Tanyin 35km, Reptu 30km Camp (25.3.1943), Taungzan 57km, Apalon 77km, Kyondaw 85km, Payathonzu 108km,
- Camps Java:
- Bicycle Camp
- Rakuyo Maru Party, Kumi No. 38
- Cause of Death:
- Lost at Sea
- Place of Death:
- South China Sea
- Date of Death:
Ronald Hughes was a former student of Como Primary School.
During 2015 the School erected a WWII Honour Board on which his name is included.
HUGHES, Private, RONALD EDWARD, WX10795, A.I.F. 2/4 M.G. Bn., Australian Infantry. 12 September 1944. Age 24. Son of John Arthur and Jeanette Hughes, of Maylands, Western Australia. Panel 18.
Labuan Memorial, Malaysia.
The above is from Enid Harvey, widow of Jack Harvey.
The two men enlisted same day 15 Jan 1941, however were in different Companies. It is possible Hughes and Harvey knew each other from around South Perth or earlier at Manjimup. Hughes was born Manjimup – we dont’ know how long his family remained there. Probably met up in Burma. They both perished when their POW transport ship ‘Rakuyo’ Maru was sunk by US submarines in South China Sea, 12 Sept 1944.
Ron Hughes enlisted AIF 15 Jan 1941 later joined ‘A’ Company No 5 Platoon under the command of Lts. Walton and Learmonth.
Hughes was AWOL from ‘Aquitania ‘when it departed Fremantle for Singapore16 January 1942. He sailed a few weeks later with the other 90 men from 2/4th who were also AWOL.
Initially the group were intended to tranship from Java to Singapore, however it was apparent Singapore was due to fall to the Japan and the men were landed instead at Java joining Australian forces gathering there. They were taken POWs within two months.
He left Java in 12 October 1942 with Java Group 4 sailing to Changi, Singapore joining up with first group of Australians sent by transport ships to Burma to work on Burma Thai Railway. They sailed to Rangoon then to Moulmain before arriving Thanbuzyat where they next sent to their first work camp on the the rail Tanyin.
Although sick several times with malaria and other tropical illnesses, he survived working on the railway and was selected to work in Japan.
Ron Hughes was one of 100s of POWs who tragically did not survive the sinking of ‘Rakuyo’ Maru on 12 Sep 1944.
John Arthur Hughes and Jeanette McAllister married Boulder 1908.
The death notice from Ron’s mother and family state he was 22 years old when he died – this may or may not be correct. He could well have put his age up to enlist.
The Hughes family were residing in the Manjimup area in the 1920’s. Ron was one of five children. Unfortunately we don’t have knowledge of when the Harvey family moved to Como, or the death date of Ron’s father.
His mother Jeanette Hughes died Glendalough l967 aged 80 years.
- River Valley Road Camp - Singapore
- Kami Songkurai, 299k - Thailand
- Apalon, Apalaine, 80 Kilo, 337k - Burma
- Reptu, Retphaw, 30Kilo 385k - Burma
- Taungzun, 60 Kilo, 358k - Burma
- Saigon - French Indo China
- Tanyin 35 Kilo Camp - Burma
- Mezali 70km Camp - Burma
- Kyondaw 95 Kilo Camp – Burma
- 122 Km Camp, Thailand (Sonkurai Region)