The Soldier's Details
- First Name:
- Norman Frederick Thomas
- Nick Name:
- Regimental #:
- ‘E’ Company, Special Reserve Battalion
- Place of Birth:
- Leederville, Western Australia
- Father's Name:
- James (Jim) Harold Gough
- Mothers's Name:
- Jessie Sarah Gough (nee Roberts)
- Roman Catholic
- Pre-war Occupation:
- Storeman and Miner
- Selarang Camp Changi; Johore Bahru; Adam Park; Sime Road Camp, Thomson Road (Caldecot Hill Estate Camp); Selarang Barracks Changi
- ‘D’ Force Thailand, V Battalion
- Camps Thailand:
- Kinsaiyok, RinTin, Hindato, Brankassi, Hindaine, Brankassi, Hindato, Non Pladuk; Tarsau, Non Pladuk No. 1 and No. 2 Camps
- Camps Japan:
- Fukuoka sub-Camp No. 17 Omuta
- 4/6169, 2246 and 598
- Aramis Party
- Return Details 1945:
- Nagasaki-Okinawa USS Cape Gloucester; Okinawa-Manila, USS Bingham; Manila-Morotai-Darwin, PBY Catalina aircraft A24-354; Darwin-Melbourne-Perth by aircraft
Tom enlisted 20 Oct 1941 and was almost immediately drafted into 2/4th reinforcements and sent to Singapore on ‘Aquitania’ sailing from Fremantle on 16 January 1942. They were with ‘E’ Company SRB and incredibly survived the war to return home.
Tom’s mate ‘Sonny’ Hugh Wilkes had enlisted 30 Oct 1940 but seriously injured his knee whilst at Northam. He was sent to Perth to hospital – returning in time to join the 2/4th reinforcements train to Fremantle to embark on ‘Aquitania’ 15 January 1941.
It was here nearly half the company were either KIA or wounded. Those survived scattered in every direction. The fortunate ones met up with other 2/4th companies and remained with them until the Surrender on 15 Feb.
Flarty was injured during the fighting at Singapore, unable to walk because of his injured knee Tom Gough piggy-backed his mate to the medical post.
Tom Gough was sent to work on Burma-Thai Railway with ‘D’ Force V Battalion which endured many deaths. Please read further.
The work and comp conditions for this group of men was simply appalling – all those on the Rail suffered starvation and tropical diseases for which they possessed no medical supplies. They were also victims to several sadistic Japanese guards.
In Singapore Tom was first at Selarang then
4 April 1942 Adam Park – where he worked on the Japanese Shrine.
5 April 1942 Johore Bahru
4 May 1942 Sime Road
Thomson Road – Caldecott Estate
28 June 1942 Changi
Then ‘D’ Force V Battalion to by train to Thailand:
Kanchanaburi – approx. 10 days
31 Mar 1943 Kinsaiyok Cuttings 1-4-1943 to 5-5- 1943
7 May 1943 Rin Tin Transit Camp on march 3 days
8 May 1943 Hindato
9 May 1943 Brencassi – two weeks
24 May 1943 Hindaine – built camp
4 Aug 1943 Brencassi 150 fittest men left
6 Nov 1943 Hindato
14 Nov 1943 Tarsau Hospital Camp – Sick with Malaria
18 Nov 1943 Non Pladuk
21 Dec 1943 to Non Pladuk No 2 Camp – Selected to work in Japan. Departed for Singapore by train 28 May 1944.
28 May 1944 sailed from Singapore ‘Aramis’
2 June 1944 Arrived Japan
19 June 1944 Arrived Fukuoka No. 17 Omuta Camp & Coal Mine. Lt Howell was 1 I/C of 152 POWs.
15 Aug 1945 Released
The three mates remained together and left to work in Japan with ‘Aramis’ Party.
Gough with the others was sent to work at Omuta, from where he was recovered at the end of the war.
Tommy Gough was born Nov 1922 at Leederville to James Harold ‘Jim’ and Jessie Sarah Gough (nee Roberts), named after his grandfather Thomas ‘Tom’ who died in 1920.
In 1924 Jim Gough died aged 25 years leaving his 2 year old son and a young widowed wife.
Friends/neighbours Mr Ernie & Mrs Eliza Wilkes, parents to Hugh Wilkes (also of 2/4th) offered to have Tommy. The Wilkes had a family of three children with the arrival of another two in 1927 and 1930. He remained with the Wilkes and his friend Hugh throughout his formative years.
Tommy’s mother Jessie Gough did remarry in 1937 at Perth to Albert Day.
After the war Tommy married1950 to Sylvia ‘Sylvie’ June Reynolds. The couple had one son Ronald ‘Ronnie’ Gough.
Tommy and Hugh continued their friendship after the war as they had done as POWs with V Battalion and Omuta Mine Japan – two of the most terrible experiences for POWs.
POWs of V Battalion lost nearly 50% of their men to terrible illnesses, mostly the result of starvation, working slave hours and conditions and Japanese brutality. Omuta Camp in Japan was one of the most horrific camps – American Marines arrived long before British and Australians and had an underhand deal with Japanese guards where they controlled all the food supplies. The Australians were relegated to the worst work in the mines where working conditions were archaic, in tiny tunnels in old and then disused mines.
Tommy died 28 Sep 2008 aged 85 in Leederville and Sylvie died 10 Aug 2009 aged 82 also in Leederville.
We wish to acknowledge and thank Thomas ‘Tom’ van Grootel, grandson of Sonny’s younger brother named Ernest (after Ernest Snr) for forwarding to us his knowledge of the lifelong friendship between Sonny and Tom Gough.
- Adam Park Camp - Singapore
- Johore Bahru, - Malaysia
- Selarang Barracks Changi - Singapore
- Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
- Sime Road Camp - Singapore
- Thomson Road (Caldecot Hill Estate Camp) - Singapore
- Brankassi, Prang Kasi, 208k - Thailand
- Hindaine, Kui Mang 200k - Thailand
- Kinsaiyok Main, 170.2k - Thailand
- Non Pladuk, 0k - Thailand
- Rin Tin, Lin Tin 180k - Thailand
- Tarsau, Tha Sao 125k - Thailand
- Omuta Miike, Fukuoka #17-B - Japan