The Soldier's Details

First Name:
Frank Mcphail
Corporal (Promoted on 9.2.1942)
Regimental #:
‘A’ Company
Place of Birth:
Kalgoorlie, Western Australia
Father's Name:
Frank McPhail Townsend
Mothers's Name:
Olivia Agnes Aileen Townsend (nee Brown)
Pre-war Occupation:
Letter Carrier
Thanbyuzayat War Cemetery, Plot A8, Row D, Grave 18, Age 22.
Selarang Camp Changi
‘A’ Force Burma, Green Force, No. 3 Battalion
Camps Burma:
Victoria Point, Kendau 4.8km, Thetkaw, Meiloe, Augganaung, Khonkan Hospital Camp
Cause of Death:
Chronic Diarrhoea, Pellagra and Tropical Ulcers
Place of Death:
Khonkan 55km Hospital Camp
Date of Death:
Grave No. 52, Khonkan.

General Description

Tea break before Darwin Oct 41 Standing L-R Fitzgerald, Minchin, Golden, Short, Vidler, ? , Jamieson, Cpl Lee, ?, ? , Ewen. Kneeling L-R Cpl Townsend, Gregory and RK O’Leary. Photo taken by Major Saggers.




History of WX10797 Corporal Frank McPhail Townsend
as noted by son of Frank
Frank’s grandparents on his fathers side were James Townsend and Lily McPhail. They married and had 5 children William, Jesse, Frank, Douglas and Ormonde. When in 1914-1918 War broke out William was rejected for military service because of poor eyesight. Jesse a married woman was a qualified nurse and was engaged as such at Hollywood Hospital during the war years. She later became Matron of Hollywood Hospital. Frank and Douglas enlisted in the A.I.F. and spent 4 years overseas. Ormonde was too young for military service.
On their discharge from military service Frank and Douglas took up farming properties at Esperance , Grass Patch under the WSSS scheme.
Before the war in 1912 Frank married Olivia Agnes Aileen Brown, daughter of J.R.Brown MLC. They had 2 children Verne McPhail, Allan McPhail before the war. After the war they had a further 3 children Frank McPhail, Ailsa  and Ronald McPhail. The 2nd name given to the Frank Townsend boys was in honour of their Grandmother Lily McPhail. The McPhails are a well known clan in Scottish circles.
In the 2nd World War 1942- 1946 three sons of Frank Townsend (SNR) – Verne served in A.I.F. Allan Airforce, Frank 2/4th MGB.
I was the eldest of the Frank Townsend family and left home to work in the country at an early age. I have little knowledge of Frank’s early fortunate years up until the time he joined the Army.


Frank Townsend (Snr) died aged 39 years in 1940.  His wife, and Frank (Jnr’s) mother Olivia died 1958.  Both Frank and Olivia were born in Victoria.





Height 5′ 6 1/2″

Frank’s mate Noel Outtrim’s message to his family mentions Erik Thomson and Frank Townsend.  A means of informing families of their loves one as mail could not be guaranteed to reach Australia nor to POWs.


Above: newspaper October 1943







Frank was selected in Singapore to work on the first Work Party to leave Singapore in May 1942.    3,000 POWs made up ‘A’ Force – and Frank with a very large number of 2/4th men, were part of Green Force No. 3 Battalion.  1,000 POWs were delivered by sea to Victoria Point on the south west coast where they would spend several months repairing the aerodrome and enlarging.

They then made their way to the northern most point of the new rail link in Burma, and started work on 1st October 1942.  They would remain working on the rail link until end of December 1943 when the Japanese began to bring all the POWs working in Burma, south to one of the larger camps in Thailand.

Please read further about ‘A’ Force Burma, Green Force No. 3 Battalion.

In August 1943 Frank was evacuated sick to Khonkan 55km Camp from Aungganaung 105 km.  Frank was extremely ill and he died aged 22 years on 26 August of chronic diarrhoea, pellagra and tropical ulcers.

Also please read about Khonkan 55 km Hospital

Camp Locations:

  • Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
  • Aungganaung,105Kilo - Burma
  • Kendau, Kandaw, 4 Kilo - Burma
  • Victoria Point, Kawthoung - Burma. \'A\' Force, Green Force No. 3 Btn
  • Thetkaw 14 Kilo - Burma
  • Kyondaw 95 Kilo Camp – Burma