The Soldier's Details
- First Name:
- Sydney Francis
- Nick Name:
- Regimental #:
- ‘A’ Company, No. 6 Platoon
- Place of Birth:
- Subiaco, Western Australia
- Father's Name:
- Stanley Garfield Spouse
- Mothers's Name:
- Elizabeth Valetine Mathson Spouse (nee Oxman)
- Church of England
- Pre-war Occupation:
- Kanchanaburi War Cemetery, Plot 1, Row K, Grave 7, Age 22.
- Selarang Camp Changi, Thomson Road (Caldecot Hill Estate Camp), River Valley Road Camp, Selarang Barracks Changi
- ‘D’ Force Thailand, S Battalion
- Camps Thailand:
- Tarsau, Kanu II
- 3/9609 & 8849
- Cause of Death:
- Heart Failure
- Place of Death:
- Date of Death:
- Grave No. 261. Cemetery No. 2. Tarsau
Kanchanaburi January 2018 (C. Mellor)
Above was printed in 1947.
We believe Syd spent some of his formative years at Dumbleyung after his parents Stanley Garfield and Elizabeth Valentine Spouse moved there.
His mother Elizabeth Valentine Matheson (nee Davidson) had previously been married to Roy Edward John Oxman and had resided at Narrogin. She was granted a divorce in 1921.
Syd enlisted 24 May 1941 and joined 2/4th MGB as a reinforcement with ‘A’ Company, No. 6 Platoon. Following the Allied surrender to Japan, Syd became a POW and working with various work parties for the Japanese. He was at Selarang Camp, Thomson Road, River Valle Road Camp and then Selarang Barracks before being to work on Burma-Thai Railway with ‘D’ Force S Battalion which departed Singapore Railway Station about 14 March 1943.
S Battalion included a large number of 2/4th men and their work camps were centred around Hellfire Pass. Work was strenuous, long hours and conditions brutal. The men were underfed, bashed by their guards, subjected to disease and illnesses for which they had no medicines and initially their doctors had little knowledge of.
Within 5 months of working on the railway, Syd Spouse died of heart failure on 13 October 1943 at Tarsau Hospital Camp where he had been evacuated to from Hellfire Pass Cutting. He was just 22 years old. He was one of 8 men from 2/4th to die at Tarsau. Many more had been evacuated and had survived to join work parties.
‘WX5211 Pte Stan Currie confirmed he was with the burial party near Tarsau during Sep 1943. The following died:
WX11580 A/Cpl Don McGlinn 16 Jul 43 avitaminosis
WX8777 Sgt J. Sanderson 19 Jul 43 avitaminosis
WX15690 Pte J M Carr 23 Jul 43 malaria
WX8689 Lt/Cpl MacMaster 25 Jul 43 beri beri
WX13553 Pte S Spouse 13 Oct 43 tropical tumour’
Below: The Spouse family leave Dumbleung for Broad Arrow.
Syd’s father Stanley Garfield Spouse enlisted at Narrogin, WW1 16th Battalion 4th Reinforcements. He fought Gallipoli and was reported Missing in Action at Reincourt, France on 21 Apr 1917, and later confirmed to be a POW of Germany.
The following is a brief overview of the attack at Bullecourt taken from AWM.
‘Four experienced Australian divisions of I ANZAC Corps were part of the British 5th Army under Sir Hubert Gough. The general wanted to attack at Bullecourt to support an important offensive by the adjoining British 3rd Army to the north and the French Army further to the south. Relatively young, Gough was an energetic commander. However his aggressive spirit coupled with poor planning resulted in heavy losses. His attack launched at Bullecourt on 11 April 1917 was a disaster. Despite this a further attack across the same ground was ordered for 3 May. The Australians broke into and took part of the Hindenburg Line but no important strategic advantage was ever gained; in the two battles the AIF lost 10,000 men.’
‘The fighting cost the Australians more than 3000 casualties, 1170 of whom were taken prisoner – the largest single capture of Australians in WW1.
Australian troops captured on the Western Front often came from a unit that had been cut off or surrounded soon after achieving its objective.’
Stan Spouse, Service No. 1862 was repatriated to England 18 months later on 30 Dec 1918 and returned to Australia 3 Mar 1919. Please read his name on the Repatriated Prisoners returning to Australia 1919 and history of WW1 POWs
Stan Spouse was repatriated from Gustrow, Germany to England before sailing home to WA 1919.
- River Valley Road Camp - Singapore
- Selarang Barracks Changi - Singapore
- Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
- Thomson Road (Caldecot Hill Estate Camp) - Singapore
- Kanu II, 152.30k - Thailand
- Tarsau, Tha Sao 125k - Thailand