The Soldier's Details

First Name:
Alfred John
Nick Name:
Alf or Pluto
Regimental #:
Battalion Headquarters
Place of Birth:
Maylands, Western Australia
Father's Name:
John Burgess
Mothers's Name:
Margaret Burgess
Church of England
Pre-war Occupation:
Reported missing from Ulu Pandan 12.2.1942, From Sumatra sailed Harukiku Maru, SS Van Waerwjick Party (rescued), Changi Gaol Camp from 28.6.1944
Return Details 1945:
Singapore-Darwin-Melboume, lst Netherlands Military Hospital Ship Oranje, Melbourne-Perth by troop train

General Description

Burgess enlisted AIF 13 Aug 1941, later joined 2/4th MGB as a reinforcement on ‘Aquitania’.  He was originally assigned to ‘E’ Company Special Reserve Battalion, however was transferred to Battalion HQ which was fortunate for him as many of ‘E’ Company were KIA in a Japanese ambush on 11 Feb at South West Bukit Timah.  He was reported missing from Ulu Pandan fighting on 12 Feb 1942. Please read about Ulu Pandan.
He managed an escape to Sumatra and was imprisoned at Pandan Gloe Gloer Camp at Medan with about a total of 100 Australian POWs also successful Singapore escapees.

Please read about other escapees from 2/4th

And about the other 2/4th men to reach Sumatra from Singapore  and became the Atjeh Party.
Read about the Harukiki Maru sinking
When the ‘Harukiki’ was sunk by British submarine HMS  ‘Tranlucent’  the men were picked up by a Japanese tanker about 4 hours later after treading water and holding onto debri and life-rafts, and taken onto Singapore. (169 POWs lost their lives)  It was found Alf had a head injury.  Although the POW’s remained about a month in Singapore before returning to Sumatra (and building the railway) Alf remained behind in Changi from 28 June 1944 which was fortunate for him – he avoided building the Sumatran Railway.Harold Smith WX17448 also remained behind as he developed appendicitis. The other three 2/4th boys in the group – Semple, Annear and Squance left Singapore and returned to Sumatra and the task of building the railway.
 Burgess was recovered from Changi at the end of the war.


Alf married about 1946 in Perth  to Georgina Baxter.
In July 1985 and Oct 1991 Borehole Bulletin, news recorded Alf was at Nazareth House, Hilton and would appreciate visitors.
Burgess died 13 June 1998 aged 78 years at Hilton.  He was cremated Pinaroo Valley Memorial Park.

Camp Locations:

  • Changi Gaol Camp - Singapore
  • River Valley Road Camp - Singapore
  • Gloe Gloer Camp - Sumatra