The Soldier's Details
- First Name:
- Robert Joseph
- Nick Name:
- Regimental #:
- Headquarters Company, No. 3 Platoon
- Place of Birth:
- Bellevue, Western Australia
- Father's Name:
- Alfred Henry Walker
- Mothers's Name:
- Flora Elizabeth Walker (nee Gast)
- Pre-war Occupation:
- Djakarta War Cemetery, Plot 4, Row J, Grave 8, Age 36.
- Cause of Death:
- Place of Death:
- Bicycle Camp Batavia
- Date of Death:
- Petamboran Cemetery, British Section, Grave No 47
Bob Walker enlisted AIF 6 August 1941 and was Taken on Strength from Northam to Woodside Camp SA, 5 October 1941. He became reinforcement to Headquarters Company No. 3 Platoon.
He undertook training at Woodside then Darwin where he departed with 2/4th to sail via Sydney, Perth to Singapore. Their transport ship ‘Aquitania’ put down anchor in Gauge Roads off Fremantle on the morning of 15 Jan 1942. Bob was also amongst about 90 men who were unable to re-board the ship before it sailed for Singapore the following day on 16th January 1942.
On 30th January, 88 well-trained machine gunners from 2/4th departed Fremantle in a small convoy for Singapore. The plan was to sail to Java and from here the men were to be transhipped to Singapore. Before they arrived in Java, it had become evident Singapore would fall to Japan. The 2/4th men were then assigned to reinforce the Allied Forces on Java.
On 1st Mar 1942, 45,000 Japanese troops landed on Java at four different locations. The Allied forces on Java were under the leadership of General ter Poorten, Dutch Commander-in-Chief – local Dutch Commander and the appointed commander of land forces in the American-British-Dutch-Australian Command, a short-lived unified command of all Allied forces in South East Asia – to whom Blackburn was to support and report to.
Dutch East Indies, who within a very short time capitulated to Japan much to the anger of the Australian Force. It was not long before all Allied Forces were also taken POWs and incarcerated in various camps around Java.
Robert was imprisoned at Bicycle Camp where a large number of Australians were being kept. On 5 May 1942, Robert Walker succumbed to dysentery and died aged 36 years.
Funeral service conducted by Padre F. Kellow from the 2/2nd Pioneer Battalion.
Height 5′ 7″
WALKER, Private, ROBERT JOSEPH, WX15614, A.I.F. 2/4 M.G. Bn., Australian Infantry. 5 May 1942. Age 36. Son of Alfred Henry and Flora Elizabeth Walker; husband of Amelia May Ellen Walker, of Bellevue, Western Australia. Grave Ref. 4. J. 8.
JAKARTA WAR CEMETERY, Indonesia
He sailed from Darwin to Sydney with the 2/4th, then on ‘Aquitania’ to Fremantle. He was one of about 100 well-trained machine gunners unable to reboard before their ship sailed for Singapore on 16 January 1942. The men had been locked up and unable to be freed in time.
Jakarta War Cemetery, Indonesia.
Robert’s parents Alfred Henry Walker and Flora Elizabeth Gast married 1897 at Midland and resided at Bellevue.
Bob had three older sisters Harriet Agnes, Flora Jessie and Catherine Olive.
Alfred Henry Walker was born Albany 1869. He died 21 June 1947 in Western Australia at the age of 78.
In 1931 Robert and Amelia are residing Bushmead (Guildford) and Bob is brickmaker.
In 1937 Electoral Rolls, Robert and Amelia and residing Maylands, Bob is working as a bricklayer.
Below: Bob’s father Alfred Henry Walker died in 1947.
We believe Robert had at least one brother and 3 sisters. Sisters Harriett Agnes Walker, Flora Jessie Walker was b.1901 (m. George Norman McSwain) and d. 1976, Catherine Olive Walker b. 1903 (m. Robert Hampton Norseman Green) continued residing Bellevue and died Feb 1988.
Brother Walter John Walker enlisted 1917 WW1 aged 19 years, service No. 7632 into 51st Battalion. He was 5’4″ tall. He sailed from Fremantle on ‘Ormonde’ 13 Mar 1918. He was discharged 23 Sep 1919 (so was fortunate to have a short war).
Bob married 1927 to Amelia ‘Millie’ May Ellen Moss, daughter of Albert Frederick Moss. Their first son born in 1928, Robert Joseph Edward Walker and a second son Kevin.
Albert Frederick Moss of Bellvue died in 1940.
The Sad History of Flora Walker’s (nee Gast) family
Flora Gast’s father died in June 1885 Victoria. During the same year whilst living in Victoria, Flora’s 7 year old sister Annie Francis Gast also died. In early 1886 her mother Harriett Gast gave birth to a baby daughter Louisa who died soon after birth.
At some time after this her mother Harriett Gast and Flora’s siblings moved to Midland, WA.
Flora was the eldest followed by brother Walter John (2), Charles Chandler (3), Joseph Chandler (4) and lastly Katherine (5). The family was to endure further deaths and tragedy.
2) Walter John Gast would die of illness (plague) 1903 at Midland. He was about 30 years old.
3) Charles Chandler ‘Wagga’ Gast died WW1 France in 1918.
4) Joseph Chandler Gast volunteered aged 21 years and served Boer War, died 1952.
5) Katherine married, however died in 1925 aged 40 years in WA. She married 1907 to Bertram Duncan and they had a family of five children.
Below: death of John Gast Midland 1903, supposedly from Plague.
Flora Walker’s mother Harriet Gast passed away on 9 January 1921 in Bellevue, Western Australia, at the age of 69.
Below: Charles Chandler Gast
Charles Chandler Gast enlisted 1 Jul 1916 and joined 7th Reinforcements for 51st Battalion, Service No. 7527 aged 35. He recorded he was living with his mother Harriet Gast at Stafford Street, Guildford.
Charles Gast DOW received on 25 April 1918 Bourgoyne, France. Just after 10pm on 24 April 1918, ANZAC Day eve, the 51st began their advance in the now legendary attack to dislodge the enemy from Villers-Bretonneux. The 51st Battalion included a large number of Western Australians.
Please read more about 51st Battalion at bottom of page.
‘French Croix de Guerre (war Cross). Unnamed as issued. A cross pattée with crossed swords between the arms. Obverse: The centrepiece bearing the head of ‘Marianne’ of the French Republic facing right surrounded by ‘REPUBLIQUE FRANÇAISE’ and a laurel wreath at the base. Reverse: The dates ‘1914 1918′ on two lines in the centre circle. The Cross has a loose ring suspender fitted to a ball mount on the top arm. A piece of 37 mm green ribbon with seven red stripes, with a bronze five pointed star pinned to the front, is attached to the suspender ring.’ From AWM
Wagga Gast was a talented football player.
Harriet’s brother and Bob’s uncle Joseph Gast, who had served in the Boer War, died in 1952.
Amelia Walker (nee Moss) of Meltham died 15 June 1955 aged 47 years and was buried Karrakatta Cemetery.
The 51st Battalion, WW1
The original cross was erected on the battlefield of Villers Brettoneux, France, in 1918 and unveiled in St Anne`s Church Ryde on Armistice Day, 1934, by Brigadier General Herring to commemorate the men of the 51st Battalion AIF, who died in service or were killed in action during the counter attack at Villers Bretonneaux in 1918.
The cross was returned by the memorial authorities to Australia after World War One and was handed over to the 51st Militia Battalion at Ryde New South Wales. In 1956, by mutual agreement between the parishioners of the church and the 51st Battalion AIF Association, the cross was transferred to St George`s Cathedral in Perth.’
The above has been copied from Monuments Australia
- Bicycle Camp, Batavia, Jakarta - Java ***