The Soldier's Details

First Name:
Nick Name:
Regimental #:
Headquarters Company, No. 3 Platoon.
Place of Birth:
Leeds, Yorkshire, England
Father's Name:
Charles Hophni Hobson
Mothers's Name:
Charlotte Ann Hobson
Church of England
Pre-war Occupation:
Epitaph, Labuan Memorial, Panel 18, Age 38.
Selarang Camp Changi, River Valley Road Transit Camp, Singapore
'A' Force Burma Green Force, No. 3 Battalion
Camps Thailand:
Camps Burma:
Victoria Point, Kendau 4.8km, Thetkaw 14 km, Meiloe 75km, Aungganaung 75 km,
Rakuyo Maru Party, Kumi No. 35
Cause of Death:
Lost at Sea
Place of Death:
South China Sea
Date of Death:

General Description

Cliff Hobson, with his family sailed to Melbourne departing on 26 May 1921 from London on ‘Beltana’.  He was 15 years old and younger brother Gordon 12 years.  His father Charles Hobson recorded his occupation as mine deputy.  It is believed the boy’s birth mother Agnes Farrar died in 1918, Cliff was then about 13 years old.  Charles Hobson remarried.


It is unknown how long Charles and Charlotte Hobson remained in Australia.   Gordon Hobson died a young man of about 21 years in NSW, Australia.    Cliff Hobson is recorded as deserting HMAS Penguin, Sydney 28 December 1926 – there were always desertions particularly from the Navy, with many notices regularly in the Government Gazettes.




We assume, Cliff would have had to complete his time with the Navy.
We believe he returned to England not long after the above – we have found a record of what appears to be Cliff Hobson returning to Fremantle in 1933.


Prior to his enlistment Pte. Hobson was living in Kalgoorlie and working as a miner.  He had  previously worked as a farm labourer.
His last Electoral record has him working as a miner and living at Norseman.
In 1936 Cliff was at Kulja, farmhand. (Kulja is in the Koorda Shire)
In 1937 he was at Yandanooka, ‘Laand’ Farm as a farmhand. (Yandanooka lies in the Shire of Mingenew)
Cliff obviously loved cricket and we find him recorded in the local newspaper playing for Kulja in 1932 before he is in hospital.  The local papers would not have included his hospital visit if he was not well known in the community.
He was then playing for the Yandanooka Cricket Team from 1936 to 1938.




Cliff enlisted AIF 10 Sept 1941 and became a reinforcement to 2/4th MGB’s Headquarters Company No. 3 under Officers Capt. Phelps and Lt. Bernie O’Sullivan.  He was in fact one of 17 reinforcements to this platoon.  At least Cliff had a few months training, many reinforcements only had weeks.  He joined the 2/4th at Woodside, SA before travelling to Darwin with the Battalion.
As POWs in Singapore he was with the first Australian work Party to depart Singapore  to sail to the Burma end of the Burma-Thai Railway with ‘A’ Force Burma, No. 3 Battalion
Once the rail link was completed at the end of 1943, the POWs in Burma and Thailand were sent by Japanese to one of four large camps  to be ‘fattened up’ or hospitals if they were sick.  It was from these camps, the Japanese sought out the ‘fit’ POWs to work in Japan.
Hobson was selected with the group which would become known as ‘Rakuyo’ Maru Party.
Cliff Hobson lost his life when ‘Rakuyo’ Maru sank in South China Sea Sept 1944.  Please read further
He was one of 38 men from 2/4th who lost their lives when the ‘Rakuyo’ Maru sank.
Tragically, Cliff Hobson had never married, probably had no close family living in Australia however through his passion for cricket he became a community member in the towns/ locations of Yandanooka and Kulja and no doubt Norseman.  He would have firmed up many friendships during his POW life.







HOBSON, Private, CLIFFORD, WX16446, A.I.F. 2/4 M.G. Bn., Australian Infantry. 12 September 1944. Age 38. Son of Charles Hophni Hobson and Charlotte Ann Hobson, of Kippax, Leeds, Yorkshire, England. Panel 18.
Labuan Memorial, Malaysia.

(Charlotte Hobson is in fact his father’s second wife).


Camp Locations:

  • River Valley Road Camp - Singapore
  • Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
  • Linson Wood Camp, 202k - Thailand
  • Aungganaung,105Kilo - Burma
  • Kendau, Kandaw, 4 Kilo - Burma
  • Meilo, 75 Kilo, 340k - Burma
  • Tavoy (Dawei) - river port - Burma
  • Saigon - French Indo China
  • Victoria Point, Kawthoung - Burma. \'A\' Force, Green Force No. 3 Btn
  • Thetkaw 14 Kilo - Burma