The Soldier's Details

First Name:
Michael Joseph
Nick Name:
Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Officer, 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion
Regimental #:
Mentioned in Despatches
Battalion Headquarters
Place of Birth:
Briagolong, Victoria
Father's Name:
Richard John Anketell
Mothers's Name:
Annie Anketell (nee Feely)
Church of England
Pre-war Occupation:
Trustees Officer
Epitaph, Singapore Memorial, Column 135, Age 51.
Cause of Death:
Died of Wounds
Place of Death:
Alexandra Hospital, Singapore
Date of Death:
ln Slit Trench No. 17 near main entrance of Alexandra Hospital with 32 other men on Monday 16.2.1942

General Description


Mick’s younger brother Dick also enlisted in WW1, a private in General Reinforcements.  After the war,  in 1919 at 21 years of age he had a tonsillectomy after which he  haemorrhaged excessively and died.


Richard John Anketell married 1889 Briagalong, Victoria to Annie Freely.  Both John and Annie were born in Victoria.   Their first child Michael Joseph Anketell was born Oct 1890 at Briagalong, the eldest of four children.
It is not known when the Anketell family moved to West Australia.




Michael Anketell’s WW1 Enlistment details.


Alf Cough wrote a poem whilst in Darwin.  Please read.
Lieutenant Colonel Michael Joseph Anketell WX3376
Lieutenant Colonel Michael Joseph Anketell WX3376


Wounded in action at Ulu Pandan 12.2. 1942, receiving a gunshot wound to the groin. The Colonel was evacuated unconscious by ambulance to Alexandra Hospital. Major Bull R.A.M.C. stated that he was on duty in the officer’s ward at Alexandra Hospital and that Lieutenant-Colonel Anketell was admitted there on Thursday, Feb 12 at 1700 hours. He was suffering from a compound fracture of the right upper femur and was in a profoundly shocked condition. He was sent to the resuscitation ward and was given 2 pints of plasma. When his condition was improved he was sent to the operating theatre whilst his wound was dressed and the limb splinted. He was sent to the ward in moderate condition but never rallied and died on the morning of Friday, Feb 13 1942.

Report by the Surgeon in Charge-Major Webster, R.A.M.C.



On 7 November 1940, the Minister for the Army, Francis Forde announced Lt-Col M.J. Anketell was to form and train the 2/4th Australian Machine Gun Battalion.



Michael Anketell’s military career commenced on 3rd March 1916 when he volunteered for the A.I.F. On 20th January 1917, he departed Australia for overseas service with the 7th reinforcements for 44th Battalion.
By January 1918, 22 months after his enlistment, Michael Anketell had risen to the rank of Lieutenant.
On his return to Australia in 1919, Michael joined the Australian Military Forces (Militia) where he rose to the rank of Lt-Col and was appointed to command the 28th Battalion in February 1937.
In addition to his military pursuits, he was a very keen sportsman and competitor. His sporting achievements included gymnastics, ‘A’ Grade WAFL Football and ‘A’ Grade Cricket and was a dedicated yatchsman.
His father Richard John Anketell, an engineer and surveyor of note who had opened up large tracts of Australia throughout his career was the greatest influence on Michael.  A close-knit family, Richard passed on to his sons the importance of never asking those who work for you to do a task you were not prepared to do yourself.  Michael Anketell ran the same distances as his 2/4th men.



Michael Anketell was to leave an indelible stamp upon the Battalion.  He is remembered for his dedication to physical training and was able to impart his WWII experiences to his men.
 For further reading go to Anketell Commanding Officer 2/4th MGB
Col. Anketell Wounded – Daily News, Wednesday 18th February 1942
Official advice has been received that Lieut Colonel M.J. (Mick) Anketell has been wounded in Singapore.
Lieut – Colonel Anketell left Western Australia in charge of a machine-gun battalion.
His wife and two children reside in Adams Street, Claremont.
Mrs Anketell received advice that he had been wounded from the Minister for the Army on Monday evening.
Before the war Lieut-Colonel Anketell was in the Perth office of the W.A. Trustee Company Ltd
Anketell Street, South Perth was named after him, read story, Anketell Street.


Group portrait of five Australian junior officers from the 44th Battalion somewhere in France. Identified but positions unknown are 2nd Lieutenant (2Lt) Cyril Richard Cornish, of Midland Junction, WA; 2Lt Michael Joseph Anketell, of Perth, WA; 2Lt Charles Richard Davies, MM, of Perth, WA; 2Lt John Yule, of Perth, WA and Lt Aubrey Clarence Crawley, of Perth, WA. Lt Crawley was killed in action on 17 February 1918.


Group portrait of officers of the 44th Battalion. From left to right, back row: Lieutenant (Lt) David Robert Stephen (killed in action 28 March 1918); Lt A.C. Crowley; Lt Richard Benion O’Carroll MM; Lt Michael Joseph Anketell; Lt Charles Richard Davies MM; Lt William George Faulkner (killed in action 31 August 1918); Lt James Lampard Paton. Middle row: Captain (Capt) Alfred Ernest Pearson; Lt Robert Casey MC (died of wounds 7 April 1918); Lt Charles Daniel Lintott MC; Lt Harold Randolph Hughan; Second Lieutenant (2nd Lt) Stanley Youlden Garnsworthy; Lt Rupert Thomas Howard; Lt John Martin Tweedie; Lt Alfred Joseph Proud; 2nd Lt Eric George McKenzie MC; Lt Clement John Piper; Lt Edwin Charles Rogers MC; Lt William James Hunt. Front row: Lt James Seabrook Everett; Capt Morris Lewis MC; Capt Edgar Copley Adams; Capt John Henry Foxworthy; Capt Raphael Leo Kenihan MC (Medical Officer); Major (Maj) Malwyn Hayley A’Beckett DSO; Maj William Hudson Rockliff MC; Chaplain Edward Oswald Phillips; Capt Harold Gordon Bremner MC; Capt Hugh Lionel Fowler.



Earlier news reports stating details of Anketell’s death were varied.


Anketell Death




Anketell appointed 2/4th
Anketell appointed 2/4th


Kenny Anketell

March 1941.


Dinghy Club Event 17 Feb 1951 Anketell Cup
Dinghy Club Event 17 Feb 1951 Anketell Cup

The Anketell Cup on display at the Perth Dinghy Club.

Anketell Cup
Although several men from 2/4th had/have connections to Dinghy Club Members it is not known how the connection came about except that from very early years, the Machine Gunners held their monthly meeting at the old Dinghy Club which was then located in the city.


Below: Anketell’s father died in 1928 of illness, having travelled to Melbourne to seek medical advice.
R.J. Anketell travelled extensively throughout WA with his work.







Below:  Mick’s brother Terrance marries.


15 Dec 1921 Michael Anketell married Margaret ‘Madge’ Kenny.  They had two children, Kenny born 1926 and Margaret born 1936.



Below:  Evidence of Anketell’s passion for sport.


Lt-Col Anketell’s career with 28th Battalion Militia.








A further heartache for the Anketell family – Mick’s sister-in-law died July 1946.

Mick’s mother Annie Anketell died 1947 and was buried Karakatta.
Prior to his enlistment WW2, Anketell worked at the Perth Office of WA Trustee Company Ltd.


Margaret Anketell has followed her passion for the theatre.






Kings Park Honour Avenue.