The Soldier's Details

First Name:
Alfred John
Regimental #:
'D' Company Headquarters, Commanding Officer.
Place of Birth:
Busselton, Western Australia
Father's Name:
Henry James Cough
Mothers's Name:
Florence Mabel Cough
Church of England
Pre-war Occupation:
Building Contractor
Selarang Camp Changi, Officer Commanding Johore Bahru, Adam Park, Sime Road Camps, Selerang Barracks Camp Changi.
‘D’ Force Thailand Commanding Officer of V Battalion
Camps Thailand:
Kinsaiyok, Brankassi Hindaine, Kuii, Non Pladuk, Kanchanaburi, Bangkok
Return Details 1945:
Bangkok-Rangoon by aircraft, Rangoon-Singapore, HMT Highland Brigade, Singapore (6.10.1945)-Labuan-Morotai-Queensland by aircraft, Queensland-Perth by ANA aircraft.

General Description

Alf Cough was in the Militia for several years before enlisting in AIF with close mate with Ted Feltham.
Alf enlisted AIF 21 Oct 1940 and later joined 2/4th’s ‘D’ Coy Headquarters as Major and Commanding Officer with 2 IC Capt George Gwynne.  Cough was married, aged 34.
His Batman/runner was Bill Baillie WX9294.  Cough’s daughter Aileen says after the war, and for years, many of Cough’s men would visit his home, including Bill Baillie.
(Cheryl Mellor had a telephone conversation with Aileen in 2021.  In her 90’s she spoke endearingly of her father.    She remembered the 2/4th men visiting  their home after the war saying Bill Baillie was a regular visitor.  Her brother had died and she had no idea where her father’s original diary was adding that she no longer had copies of all his poetry.  I posted copies of all Alf’s poems we had on the website)
Aileen says she and her brother had a wonderful father.  Alf whilst  quiet and gentle, he was well-liked and charming.  He spoke little of the war other than to say he often thought of all the young men who died needlessly.  He never forgot.


On the death of Lt-Col Anketell during the fighting in Singapore February 1942, Major Alfred John Cough was promoted to Battalion Second in Command to Major Charles Edward Green WX3435.
Major Green left Singapore with ‘A’ Force Burma, Green Battalion No. 3 for the Burma end of the railway in early 1942.    Alf Cough left Singapore with ‘D’ Force Thailand in about May 1943 and was CO of V Battalion which although was part of ‘D’ Force Thailand – was separated and sent to Camps where there were large numbers of Dutch POWs and did not remain in contact and was somewhat isolated.

Please read about the recovery of bodies in Singapore



Following Japan’s surrender, Cough was recovered from Kanchanaburi, travelled to Bangkok from where he flew to Rangoon before flying back to Singapore.
After the war and returning home his appointment was terminated 18/1/1946.
Major Alf Cough 1943



Cough was quite a composer of poetry.  Please read this story


Cough headed up ‘D’ Force V Battalion workforce to the Burma-Thai Railway.  The following months would prove to be the most challenging for Alf as a POW of the Japanese.

V Battalion would endure the greatest loss of life in ‘D’ Force.

Please read further about ‘D’ Force V Battalion, and Hindaine Camp


Please read Cough’s poem

’22 June 1998
There were two people who made a great impact on my life when I was in my early teens. Alf Cough and Ted Feltham. These two were great mates and both in the militia before the war. I believe Alf was a Lieutenant and Ted a Sergeant QM.
Ted was a foreman cabinetmaker; Alf never served an apprenticeship as a carpenter and joiner but was accepted as a top tradesman. Alf always had the ability to rise up as a leader in any path in life.
At this time I was an apprenticed carpenter and joiner, with 3-4 years completed of a 5-year course. Ted worked for Rosenbergs, Corner of Vincent and Beaufort Streets, Mt Lawley.
I boarded with his parents at 39 Lawley Street, Mt Lawley as I had come from Harvey to get a job in the city. Ted got me a job there and then moved on to work for a builder A. House, 44 Fairfield St, Mt Hawthorn as Foreman Cabinetmaker. Now Ted knew he did not have the knowledge required to be a foreman of a joiner’s shop as A. House wanted him to be, so Ted took me with him to Mt Hawthorn.
This is where Alf came in as Foreman of the Joiner’s shop and made a great impression on all the staff and his new boss. Alf came from Mussen & Sons, another Builder & Joiner. As a 4th year apprentice Alf made a great impression on me.
WWII came and people were joining up and leaving work. Alf heard the news and was off. Because of his high standing no-one would take on his job. Although I was a 4TH year apprentice, he asked me, and I did.
As soon as Alf got into the military he wanted Ted to join. Ted was a Sergeant and had to go along with Alf as a Private. Next thing I heard Ted had his stripes again and away they went.
Ted had a brother Mike who also left the Light Horse and served with 2/3rd. Both Feltham brothers and Alf came back.
On his return Alf became Chief Architect of the Housing Commission. Years later and following his retirement I heard he was reversing out of his driveway at home and was killed during a collision.
Ted was a Masonic Man, a senior man in the Druids and a great RSL person who always attended RSL Congresses. Currently Ted’s large portrait photograph hangs in the Tuart Hill RSL hall where he was President over many years. Ted lived over the road in Main Street. I helped him build his house.
Bill Hopton,
Duncraig 6023
Bill enlisted in the 2/7 Artillery, 9 Division Borneo.
In 1998 he was Chairman of 2/7 and President of North Beach RSL.’


Alf passed away in late 1987 at Lesmurdie.




Cough was adopted about 1914 by his parents Henry James (Harry) Cough and Florence Mabel Kirk (nee Jones).  Florence born in NSW was earlier married to James Kirk at Waverley, NSW in 1902.  She then married Cough 1914 at Wellington, WA.
Cough’s birth father was Charles Emil Hansen or Hanson. Hansen named his son Emil Alfred Hansen.
Henry James enlisted AIF WW1 June 1915, Service No. 2584 with 8th Reinforcements, 11th Battalion.    Florence remained residing at Bunbury.


He returned to Australia Nov 1917 due to the above illness.


Alf Cough married about 1928 to Dorothy Jane (aka Doll) Smith.



Their son was born 1928 named Alfred William Cough however was known as Allan.  Alan married Doris Alice Witte about 1950.  In 1958 the couple resided at 239 Flinders Street, Yokine.  Allan was a carpenter.
This marriage failed and  Alan re- married Patsy Ruth Madalena about 1975.  In 1977 Alan was recorded as a Builder.
Alan died 10 Dec 2011.


Aileen Cough married Robert Joseph Clementson in 1955 he was born Geraldton 1928 to Joseph Clementson and Mary Alice Davison of Coolgardie who married in 1927.

Robert Clementson died Yokine June 1996 aged 67 years.

Aileen’s father-in-law died accidently 1954.




In 1942 Alf’s father died whilst he was  POW in Singapore. his death was preceded by the death of his father-in- law William Charles Smith father to Dorothy Jane Cough (Doll).





On his return, Alf was elected Vice President to the newly formed 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion ex Members Assoc.


Below:  Alf’s son Allan.


Electoral Rolls

1929 – Cough’s wife Dorothy ‘Doll’ is at 224 Havelock Street, West Perth with his Parents Florence & Henry James (labourer).
1936 – Dorothy and Alf at 5 Lyall Street, West Subiaco (he is a carpenter)
1937 – 171 Carr Street, Leederville (carpenter)
1943 – 224 Carr St, Leederville (Joiner)
1954 & 1958 – Alf & Dorothy 146 Northwood Street, Leederville.   Aileen is with them in 1954, she is secretary.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Alf and Doll lived at Lesmurdie, he was employed as a civil servant.

Camp Locations:

  • Adam Park Camp - Singapore
  • Johore Bahru, - Malaysia
  • Selarang Barracks Changi - Singapore
  • Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
  • Sime Road Camp - Singapore
  • Brankassi, Prang Kasi, 208k - Thailand
  • Hindaine, Kui Mang 200k - Thailand
  • Kanchanaburi, 50k - Thailand
  • Kinsaiyok Main, 170.2k - Thailand
  • Kuii, Kui Yae, 185.6k - Thailand
  • Non Pladuk, 0k - Thailand