The Soldier's Details

First Name:
Eric Francis
Regimental #:
‘A’ Company
Place of Birth:
Perth, Western Australia
Father's Name:
Henry Joseph Osbome,
Mothers's Name:
Edith Beatrice Osborne (nee Ash)
Roman Catholic
Pre-war Occupation:
Kranji War Cemetery, Collective Grave, Plot 30, Row A, Grave 9-13, Age 19.
Cause of Death:
Killed in Action
Place of Death:
Buona Vista
Date of Death:
In a common grave at map reference 784112

General Description

  • Eric Osborne  received a shrapnel wound to the skull.
  • He had spent most of his life in an orphanage.


The above notice is from Eric’s brother Arnold known as ‘Barney’, Allan and sister Lear Beatrice; his mother’s sister Alice, her husband Walter Jared Teakle.
Research has found Eric’s mother died in 1929, aged 29 years her youngest child, daughter was about 6 months old.



Edith Beatrice Ash was born 1900 Lake Boga, Victoria to Mary
Ann Lear and Francis (Frank) Ash who married Feb 1880 Hay, NSW.    Edith was the youngest of their family of 10 surviving children born in Victoria.    Her mother Mary Ann Ash died Victoria 1902  aged 42 years.
Edith was youngest sister to Rupert Leslie Ash – older brother by 6 years.  Rupert’s daughter Doris Ash married 1946 to Ronald Henry Simpkin WX8141 of 2/4th.  We also believe Rupert and his wife Bertha adopted Lear – Edith’s 6 month old baby daughter.
In about 1904 Frank (Snr) moved his family to Isseka where he had acquired  farming land.




Frank Ash (Snr) remarried 1909 at Isseka, near Geraldton to Carmella Tanner (who died in 1912 in SA.)
Edith’s father Frank Ash died Northampton 1934 aged 75 years a pioneer of the Northampton area.




Edith married Henry Joseph Osborne at Geraldton in 1922. Henry Osborne was born about 1889 Greenough to John Osborne and Honoria ‘Nora’ Sweeney (died 1963 Fremantle aged 72 years)  John  was working around Greenough in 1922 and 1925, moving to Northampton in 1931.
Edith was recorded on Electoral Roll of 1925 living Harwood Street, Leederville area when she died. Edith had given birth to Henry Rupert Osborne during 1925, she however died in 1928. In 1928 she gave birth to Allan Stanley.  Her daughter Lear Beatrice was born in 1929 and was less than 6 months old when Edith died in December 1929.  This was just months after Rupert Henry died of accidental poisoning – a terrible and shocking moment for Edith to live with.
At the time Edith was mother to Arnold ‘Barney’, Eric, Allan and Lear.  The three boys were sent to Clontarf Boys home, and it is thought Lear was raised by Rupert Ash and his wife Bertha. (Rupert was brother of Edith).



Eric’s Grandfather John Osborne has his name included in the Early Pioneers of Greenough.
Arnold ‘Barney’ Osborne also enlisted in WW2 and returned home, he died in 2010.  Allan Osborne died 2005.
Eric Osborne enlisted the day he turned 19 years of age – at that time 19 was the minimum age.  When he was selected to join 2/4th reinforcements (boarding ‘Aquitania’ which had sailed into Fremantle’s Gauge Roads on 15 January 1942, anchored and departed the following day to Singapore) he had undergone training for no more than four months.  This was the case with so many reinforcements, too young and many more with less training, some for as little as one or two months – and the odds were not in their favour when  ‘E’ Company  ran into the Japanese Ambush where nearly all their (trained) officers were killed and the death rate was too high.  Please read about ‘E’ Company 
Today in 2018 so much has been revealed and written about the horrors children were confronted with at Clontarf.  It is our deepest wish that Eric and his brothers were safe.  For information about the life Clontarf provided the children who were placed there,  please go to Find and Connect
Eric and his brothers may have been placed in the workforce outside of Clontarf at young ages, however for many they remained working at the orphanage, mostly unpaid.  It is tragic Eric and Barney most likely sought to enlist to escape to a better life, as thousands of men did throughout Australia.  On the upside, it may well have been the case, that the three boys were taken from Clontarf by their father or relatives.
Eric enlisted at Isseka which is located in the Shire of Northampton, 10 kms south of Northampton and 32 kms north of Geraldton.  Had Eric had been sent to work here, or he had made his way here because his father was working here or nearby he had plenty of Ash relatives.   Or perhaps the boys were taken from Clontarf by their father or extended family much earlier.
Below:  Sister Lear, Allan, Eric and Barney (in uniform)


Allan John Osborne married Northampton 1954 to Verna Jean Mitchell.
Lear Osborne married 1952 Northampton to Trevor M. Murphy.
Edith’s brother Bertie Ash’s young wife Phoebe whom he married 1920, died of illness in 1926 at the age of 27.  She left 3 daughters and a young son.




In 1927 Bertie Harold Ash remarried in 1927 to Mary Grace Cripps (nee Ridley), a young widow from Northampton with a son  – David Charles (Davey) Cripps WX15783 who was born Dec 1921  who later joined 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion.  Both Davey Cripps and Eric Osborne were in ‘A’ Coy.
Mary Ash (nee Cripps) was now step-mother to 3 daughters and a son as well as her own son.
Below:  Bertie Ash lost his farm in 1930 as so many did during the depression of 1930s.



Unfortunately, the Ash marriage broke down and a divorce followed in 1948.  Mary endured a very sad marriage and the tragic news her only son Davey had lost his life in the South China Sea in 1944.



Bertie died remarried in 1949 and died Cunderdin  in the early 1970s.
Mary Grace Ridley who had been born Northampton 1897 died 7 November 1961 Geraldton aged 67 years.