The Soldier's Details

First Name:
Nick Name:
Regimental #:
Place of Birth:
Adelaide SA
Pre-war Occupation:
Medical Practitioner
7377, 33501 Thailand.
Date of Death:

General Description

Review WX11057 Theodore Godlee‘s military records held at NAA.

Theodore was a POW recovered from Siam at the end of the war.

Captain Theodore ‘Tim’ Godlee was Regimental Medical Doctor 2/3 Machine Gun Battalion.  He was born in 1906 Adelaide.  Later studied medicine at Adelaide University and completed his post graduate training at Royal Perth Hospital, WA.
He married in 1933 to Cyntia Dunman and moved to a general practice in Northampton.
Godlee was father to two sons when he enlisted 25 April 1941 and originally was posted as a reinforcement to 2/3rd Field Ambulance in the Middle East where he became the Regimental Medical Officer to 2/3rd MGB replacing, Capt. Dick Pellew.
In the book ‘From Snow to Jungle’ – ‘Tim Godlee soon established himself as a competent RMO as well as acquiring a reputation for the successful diagnosis of malingering.  Capt Godlee had quickly won the Battalion’s respect.’

He was with the 2/3rd in Java and became a POW.

Jan 1943 Godlee left Java for Thailand via Singapore with Dunlop Force which had about 900 POWs and four Medical Officers – Lt Col Dunclop, Major Moon, Major Corlette and Captain Godlee, one dental officer Major Jock Clarke and two highly competent Regular officers Major Bill Wearne and Major Allan Woods.
Dunlop Force worked around the Hellfire Pass region.  The Medical Officers deployed to Hintock Mountain, Hintock River and Konyu Camps.
Weary Dunlop wrote in his diaries in March 1943 (P207) ‘Tim Godlee has opened a new tented hospital of his own and it runs very well.’
In March 1943 Godlee was sent to Kinsaiyok for about 12 months  and forced to do manual labour in addition to his Medical Officer responsibilities where there were about 5,000 POWs working.
He was moved south to Tamuang Camp where he had the unenviable task of being involved in selecting POWs for Japan.
Later in 1944 whilst at Nakom Panthon, Godlee was sent back up the line with a maintenance party located near Konkoita.  He was forced to perform operations on two sick POWs with perforated ulcers (one was the oesophagus) incredibly one survived in the most appalling conditions.
In 1945 the West Australian Newspaper printed an article by Lt Col Ted Lyneham, CO of 2/3rd MGB
Capt Godlee had the care of 1,000 Australians in an isolated camp in Java and fought the Japanese with sheer determination.”
In 1947 Godlee was working at Big Bell, WA and appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire for meritorious service as a POW in Java and Thailand. His insignia was presented at Government House, Perth in May 1950.
‘Captain Godlee saved many lives in a Prison Camp in Java despite shortness of drugs and lack of assistance.  Subsequently from 1943 to the end of hostilities the low rate of mortality in remote jungle camps in Thailand was a supreme tribute to his skill.’
The Big Bell practice covered a huge area from Mount Magnet in the south  to Reedy in the north.  Included was the town of Cue and numerous outlying stations.   He moved to live in Mount Magnet.  His wife Cynthia became unwell and they moved to Perth where she died in 1951.
Tim remarried in 1953 and took up a posting as Medical Officer on Cocos Island. He later returned to Australia and took up the following positions with the Repatriation Department in Hobart, Sydney, Brisbane and finally Adelaide.
Sadly Tim developed cancer of the tongue, and he died of liver cancer 5 Sept 1976.
We wish to acknowledge Col Peter Winstanley whose work we have taken the above information from.

Below:  Tim Godlee – from AWM.