The Soldier's Details

First Name:
Peter Joseph
Regimental #:
‘C’ Company Headquarters
Place of Birth:
Greenhills, Western Australia
Father's Name:
Samuel Joseph Moate
Mothers's Name:
Theresa Margaret Moate (nee Gurney)
Roman Catholic
Pre-war Occupation:
Railway Porter, W.A.G.R.
‘Blackforce’, attached to 2/3rd Machine Gun Battalion
‘D’ Force Thailand, Java Party No. 6, O Battalion
Camps Thailand:
Kinsaiyok, Hintok Road Camp, Tarsau (evacuated with a tropical ulcer), Nacompaton
Camps Java:
Garoet, Bandoeng , Bicycle Camp Batavia, Makasura
Return Details 1945:
Thailand-Singapore by aircraft; Singapore-Australia, no details are known.

General Description

Moate was originally with 25th Light Horse at Merredin prior to enlisting AIF.  He was selected as reinforcement to 2/4th and TOS to Woodside, SA on 5 October 1941 to join the Battalion’s ‘C’ Coy Headquarters under CO Lt Colin Cameron.


Peter Moate was AWOL when ‘Aquitania’ sailed for Singapore from Gauge Roads, Fremantle on 16 January 1942.  He was one of a couple hundred  soldiers from 2/4th desperate to see their families before going to war, absconding without leave.  This group of men were then shipped out a few weeks later supposedly to Singapore, but with Singapore now about to fall, were left at Java where they joined with the small contingent of Allied soldiers/sailors etc and Dutch East Indies army.

Please read about Fremantle and Java.

He was attached 2/3rd Battalion to fight in Java.
Captured by Japanese on 8 March 1942 he was imprisoned Bandeong, Java  27 March 1942. He was later incarcerated at Garoet, Bandeong, Makasura and Bicycle Camp whilst in Java.
He was selected to work on the Burma-Thai Railway and arrived Singapore from Java with Java Group 6A, 25th Company  on 7 January 1943.   He departed Singapore on 19 January 1943 to work on Burma-Thai Railway with ‘D’ Force O Battalion.
Read further about O Battalion.
From ‘The War Diaries of Weary Dunlop’ P249, 22 June 1943 Dunlop wrote that on this day at Hintok Mountain Camp about 5 POWs were assisted or carried to camp hospital following terrible beatings over several hours from Japanese engineer and guards. Their punishment included fist blows, wooden clogs hammered over their faces and heads, being thrown over shoulders then to the ground before being kicked severely in stomach, scrotum, ribs, etc, bamboo thrashing, etc.
Dunlop described Moate’s face as unrecognisable with discolouration, swelling and lacerations amongst other injuries.
The POWs had been working 13 days straight, many men too ill to work were forced from hospital by Japanese to work on railway.  Half the men in the camp were receiving cholera vaccine on one day and the other half the following day.  There had been cholera cases and deaths with more to come.
This was ‘speedo’, ‘wet season,’ shortage of food and poor hygiene in the Camp.
Earlier in the day various battalion work parties had been one man short on numbers.   Some were found after searching.  A Sgt Hallam had returned very ill with malaria to camp, reported his condition, made his way to hospital – he was one of the five and was given an ‘indescribable beating by  Japanese engineer  Sgt ‘Billie the Pig’  and his assistant ‘Mollie the Monk’ wrote Dunlop.  Sgt Hallam died four days later on 26 June 1943.
The brutality continued, as did cholera.
Later Moate was evacuated to Tarsau 22 August 1943 with a leg ulcer.
Please read Ridgwell’s account



Perter’s parents Samuel Joseph Moate and Theresa Margaret Gurney married York 1908.  They had a family of at least 6 children.  Peter was a talented sportsman beginning in school days until well after the war.  They included cricket, footy, darts, billiards, etc.
Peter gained employment as a porter with WAGR prior to his enlistment – he returned to and remained working with the Railways throughout his life, initially returning to Merredin.  In later years Peter resided around the Midland area.



Above: Peter was in 25th Light Horse prior to his enlistment with 2/4th.  Also in 2/4th was Corp. Tom Hampton.


Moate celebrates his 21st birthday.


Peter’s Grandfather died when he was POW.

His father died in 1950 at Merredin.





Above: Danny Bevis and Peter Moate return.
Below:  Peter’s sporting life resumes, Merv Bevis is Danny’s son.

His mother died in 1956 at Northampton.

Peter Moate passed away 12 June 1994. During his younger days he was regarded as a naturally talented sportsman, able to skilfully participate in many different sports

 The above is from the Beattie Collection (Joe Beattie collected every newspaper article about 2/4th, the men and Camps connected to Singapore)

Camp Locations:

  • Hintok, 154k - Thailand
  • Nacompaton, Nakom Pathom Hospital - Thailand
  • Tarsau, Tha Sao 125k - Thailand
  • Bandoeng - Java ***
  • Bicycle Camp, Batavia, Jakarta - Java ***
  • Garoet - Java
  • Makasura - Java
  • Kinsaiyok Jungle Camp No.1, 161.40km - Thailand