The Soldier's Details

Surname:
Beckham
First Name:
Ronald Clifford
Nick Name:
Ron
Rank:
Private
Regimental #:
WX1342
Company:
Attached 2/4th 2.3.1942 from Anti-Tank Regiment
Enlisted:
12.05.1941
Discharged:
15.07.1946
DOB:
28.09.1924
Place of Birth:
Fremantle, Western Australia
Father's Name:
Reuben Thomas Beckham
Mothers's Name:
Olive Vera Beckham ( nee Corney)
Religion:
Church of England
Pre-war Occupation:
Farmhand
Singapore:
Selarang Barracks Changi, Sime Road Camp, Changi Gaol Camp, X10 Party.
Force:
'H' Force Group No. 3
Return Details 1945:
Singapore-Darwin-Sydney, HMT Arawa, Sydney-Melbourne by troop train, Melbourne-Fremantle, H M T Strathmore.

General Description

Ron at age 16 enlisted underage.  He was formerly a Home Service soldier (Regimental No. W4800) with 5th  AA Battery.
On  7th April 1941 Beckham stowed away on transport ship to Singapore.  On arrival he was charged, admonished and allotted  AIF Regimental No. WX13421.  He was then Taken on Strength in Malaysia with HQ AIF Australia and later to 4th Anti-Tank Regiment.  In March 1945 he was attached to 2/4th MGB.
As a POW Singapore, Ron was selected to work on Burma-Thai Railway with ‘H’ Force Group 3 March 1943 and returned to Singapore before end of December 1943.  ‘H’ Force Thailand
During July 1945 Beckham was selected to work with X.10 Party.  Please read further.

 

Below:  In July 1946 Beckham and 2/4th soldier Douglas Godfrey Ross were in court with 2/4th’s George Gwynne representing them.

 

Ron was eldest of four children born to Lancashire born Reuben Thomas Beckham and Olive Vera Corney who married about 1926. Olive was born Coolgardie.    Ron had two brothers Mervyn and Leslie and one sister Patricia.  Mervyn also enlisted into AIF WX500308.  Patricia married and died in SA.
Reuben Beckhan died 1992 Leederville and Olive Beckham died 27 June 1965 Perth.

 

 

In 1947 Ron had moved to South Australia where he married Florence Patricia Lester and had a family of four children Mervyn, Murray, Ronald and Theresa.
His father Reuben Beckham died 2 Feb 1992 whist residing 24 Almuta St, Nollamara.
Ron Beckham died Adelaide, South Australia 11 Mar 1971 aged 46 years.

 

 

 

 

Below:  Ron’s sister Patricia.

 

 

Reuben Thomas Beckham b. 29 Nov 1899 Liverpool, England  enlisted at Subiaco 7 Nov 1939 aged 39 years and 11 months, his then occupation was labourer and his wife Olive Vera Beckham was residing Clotilde Street, East Perth.
His Service Number was WX1442 and was to serve with the 6th Division AAMC .
Reuben recorded previous military service was with 1st Wales Borderers in France and Belgium.
When Beckham arrived Gaza Ridge Hospital he was ill with tonsilitis.  Prior to this he had been hospitalised once or twice.   He later suffered appendicitis.  On 21 March 1941, Beckham embarked at Middle East for return to Australia.  He was discharged due to ill health on 1 Sept 1941.

 

 

Above, Gaza Ridge Hospital 1941

 

SOUTH WALES BORDERERS WW1

In August 1914 the South Wales Borderers consisted of two regular battalions, the 1st in Bordon with 3rd Brigade 1st Division, the 2nd in Tientsin; the 3rd Special Reserve Battalion in Brecon; and one Territorial battalion, the Brecknockshire Battalion, also in Brecon. By the end of the war a further 17 battalions had been raised eight of which went on active service and all of them feature in this excellent history, even if only briefly in the case of those that did not leave the UK. Total dead numbered some 5,500, 64 Battle Honours were awarded and six VCs were won. There is a list of Honours and Awards, including Mention in Despatches and foreign awards, and also the Roll of Honour in which officers are listed alphabetically, other ranks alphabetically by battalions; place and date of death are not given.
Battalions of the regiment served on the Western Front, at Gallipoli (2nd and 4th), in Macedonia (7th and 8th) and Mesopotamia (4th). Two of the active service battalions, 11th and 12th, were disbanded in France in Feb 1918 when divisions in the BEF were reduced from twelve to nine battalions. The 1st Battalion landed in France on 13 August 1914 with 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, and stayed with them for the rest of the war, fighting on the Western Front. The 2nd Battalion was in China when war broke out, and its first operation was the capture of the German naval base of Tsingtao, in cooperation with the Japanese, and with this accomplished in November 1914 the battalion returned to the UK where it arrived in January 1915. Back home, it was allocated to the newly formed ‘incomparable’ 29th Division, the last of the regular divisions to be formed (apart from the Guards Division) and with which it landed on Gallipoli in April that year. After Gallipoli it went to France with the division, arriving in March 1916, and there it stayed to the end.
The Brecknocks served throughout the war in Aden and India, the 4th went to Gallipoli with 13th (Western) Division and from there to Mesopotamia where it won two of regiment’s six VCs. The 5th and 6th Battalions were Pioneers and fought in France as divisional pioneer battalions while the 7th and 8th, both in 22nd Division, after only a month in France went with the division to Macedonia in November 1915 where they saw out the rest of the war. The 10th and 11th Battalions served with 38th (Welsh) Division in France from the end of 1915, and finally the 12th (Bantam) Battalion crossed to France in June 1916 with 119th Brigade 40th Division in which it served till disbanded in Feb 1918.
Reuben Beckham died 2 Feb 1992 whist residing 24 Almuta St, Nollamara.

 

 

4TH  ANTI TANK REGIMENT

The 4th Anti-Tank Regiment was raised in Victoria in late 1940. It consisted of four batteries firing a range of artillery. One battery, the 14th, deployed to Darwin and aided in the defence of northern Australia for most of the Second World War.
The three remaining batteries–the 13th, 15th and 16th–took part in the fighting on the Malayan peninsula, including at Muar and Gemas. In February 1942, they were in Singapore when the city fell to the Japanese and all were taken POWs.
From an original strength of 556 soldiers, the regiment suffered 11 men killed in action, 34 missing and 37 wounded. More than 170 died as prisoners of war.
ANTI TANK REGIMENT – MALAYSIA 1941

Camp Locations:

  • Changi Gaol Camp - Singapore
  • Selarang Barracks Changi - Singapore
  • Sime Road Camp - Singapore
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