The Soldier's Details

First Name:
Norman Willis
Nick Name:
Sergeant (Promoted on 7.2.1942)
Regimental #:
'E' Company, Special Reserve Battalion
Place of Birth:
Bunbury, Western Australia
Father's Name:
Herbert Sleath Platts
Mothers's Name:
Ethel Jane Platts (nee Maslin)
Pre-war Occupation:
Water Engineer
Epitaph, Singapore Memorial, Column 135, Age 31.
Cause of Death:
Killed in Action
Place of Death:
South‐West Bukit Timah
Date of Death:

General Description

Norm Platts enlisted AIF Oct 1941 becoming a reinforcement for 2/4th.  He joined ‘Aquitania’ at Gage Roads Fremantle 15 Jan 1942 and the 2/4th Battalion.  He joined ‘E’ Company No 1 Platoon, was Platoon Sergeant to Commanding Officer Lt. Jimmy Till.
NCO pulled Lieutenant J. Till back after he was wounded at South-West Bukit Timah.
(Lieutenant Till, wounded in the shoulder was pulled back to a position where his wounds could be treated. It is believed that in the confusion of the ambush and during withdrawal from the area that Lieutenant Till came across some more Japanese. His body was discovered at the crossing of a creek and Reformatory Road at Map Reference 763139 by the burial party led by Major Bert Saggers from Sime Road Camp on 21.12.1942.)
Platts was killed in action 11th February 1942, just four months after enlisting  6th October 1941.  Norm was 31 years of age.

Please read about Aquitania.

And ‘E’ Company who ran into a Japanese ambush at South West Bukit Timah and lost half Platoon.


Norm Platts was the second son born to Herbert Sleath Platts and Ethel Jane Maslin who married about 1908 in Bunbury.   Herbert and Ethel had a large family.  Norman’s younger brother Richard Sleath Platts born in 1916 also enlisted. Richard WX5686 joined 2/16th Battalion.  He died 5th December 1942 at Bomana near Port Moresby, New Guinea.




Norm’s father born in Yorkshire, England married West Australian born Ethel Jane Platts in 1908.
On 21 Jul 1916 Herbert Platts enlisted WW1 and joined 44th Battalion 5th Reinforcements.  His Service No. 2650.  He embarked Fremantle 9 Nov 1916.  He served in France, received a GSW left leg which recovered but was invalided home to Australia with epilepsy accompanied by violent headaches.  Information provided by Platts says he had a fall 20 years earlier from a trapeze – however it appears his war service increased the frequency of epileptic fits.   He was discharged 22 Feb 1918.
Norman married Annie ‘Ray’ Armstrong in 1930 Bunbury,  they had two children Norman (Ivor) and Margaret.  Ivor married about 1955 Bunbury to Lois Ellen Outridge. Margaret Anne married 1955 Bunbury to Kenneth Donald Waller.
Norm’s grandfather died in 1931.


Prior to his marriage, Norm volunteered his time for Scouts.


Below:  Norm’s love of rowing and his input into the Bunbury Rowing Club’s entertainment.










Below:  Ray Platts attends her uncle’s funeral.






Platts 3

Platts 2



Norm was referred to as Bunbury’s Paul Robeson.  He was much appreciated for his singing voice.