The Soldier's Details

First Name:
Avon Reah
Nick Name:
Regimental #:
‘B’ Company Headquarters
Place of Birth:
Northam, Western Australia
Father's Name:
Thomas Smith-Ryan
Mothers's Name:
Hilda Mary Smith-Ryan
Pre-war Occupation:
Bank Officer
Selarang Camp Changi, Adam Park, Selarang Barracks Changi, Levelling Party Changi Aerodrome, Changi Gaol Camp.
Return Details 1945:
Singapore‐Darwin‐Sydney, HMT Arawa, Sydney-Melbourne by troop train, Melbourne‐Fremantle, HMT Strathmore.

General Description

A bank officer with the Commercial Bank of Australia from Northam, WA, enlisted on 21 Nov 1940, after service as a Lieutenant in the 11th Battalion of the Militia. As the original Second-in-Command of ‘B’ Company, 2/4th MG Bn.
Landing in Singapore in January 1942 with his company as support to the Manchester Fusiliers originally tasked with defending the naval base. From 8–15 of February, 137 men of 2/4th MG Bn were killed or missing, 106 wounded, and 24 suffered ‘shell shock’ from Japanese air, artillery and infantry attacks.
Upon the units surrender, he was marched to Changi with remnants of 2/4th MG Bn and spent the duration of the war in Adam Park and Changi. He was responsible for writing the unit’s War Diary and secretly kept a personal diary whilst a POW, hidden from the Japanese. Much of what we know about the 2/4th MG Bn during the Battle for Singapore was extracted from these diaries. He was recovered in 1945, and returned to WA, living in East Perth. He died at Floreat Park, WA, on 13 Nov 1970.

Appointment Terminated 18/1/1946.

Read of Smiith-Ryan’s escape from Japanese firing squad, Singapore, 1942.



A young Avon Smith-Ryan  1918, Northam

Death of Grandmother Mrs S.C. Ryan 1923.


Below:  Smith-Ryan’s father died May 1939. Thomas Smith-Ryan was son to Dr W.R. Smith (South Australia) & Mrs S.C. Ryan – after which the surname was hyphenated.

1938  Smith-Ryan working in Geraldton, and with Militia


Smith-Ryan marries Grace Christina Clark 23 December 1939.

Below:  death of Hilda Ryan-Smith – mother of Avon.

Below:  Father-in-law of Smith-Ryan died 1946

Below:  death of Mother-in-law and mother of Grace Smith-Ryan.


In 1935, Smith-Ryan is transferred to Geraldton from Boyup Brook.

Below:  Smith-Ryan returns to Commercial Bank, Boyup Brook as Manager, 1946 on his previous employment he had been a teller.


Avon Smith-Ryan died 13 Nov 1970 at Floreat aged 62 years and was cremated at Karrakatta Cemetery.

Camp Locations:

  • Adam Park Camp - Singapore
  • Changi Aerodrome - Singapore
  • Changi Gaol Camp - Singapore
  • Johore Bahru, - Malaysia
  • Selarang Barracks Changi - Singapore
  • Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
  • Nacompaton, Nakom Pathom Hospital - Thailand