The Soldier's Details

Surname:
Wood
First Name:
Thomas Ashton
Nick Name:
Tom
Rank:
Private
Regimental #:
WX5073
Classification:
Driver
Company:
‘D’ Company, No. 15 Platoon (moved to No. 16 Platoon)
Enlisted:
23.07.1940
Discharged:
4.12.1945
DOB:
22.05.1920
Place of Birth:
St Pancras, England
Father's Name:
Thomas Ashton Wood
Mothers's Name:
Ellen Elizabeth Wood (Beard)
Religion:
Church of England
Pre-war Occupation:
Farmhand
Singapore:
Listed as missing from 9.2.1942, soldier had escaped to Java.
Return Details 1945:
Recovered at Batavia, Java‐Singapore by aircraft, Singapore-Fremantle, HMT Tamaroa.

General Description

 

In Singapore another Platoon was created, No. 16 which Tom was transferred to for the fighting Please read further.
This Platoon and other D Company Platoons were subjected to very heavy fire followed by invasion by Japanese Forces.  A number of men were caught behind the front line.
Listed as missing from 9.2.1942, soldier had escaped to Java.
There are no records to locate where Tom Wood was imprisoned. By early 1944 most Australians had left Java with work parties for Burma-Thai Railway or Japan.  It is believed about 400 Australian POWs were concentrated in the Batavia area in early 1944.    They were at Makasura, Tanjong Priok, the Bicycle Camp and Glodok Gaol—which they shared with POWs of other nationalities. However some were employed at Adjick and 70 were sent to Serang.
Please read about other 2/4th who remained and were recovered from Java.
In January 1945 many Australians were transferred to Singapore and those remaining were held in the overcrowded local gaol at Bandeong.

Above:  POWs at Bandeong awaiting evacuation from Java to Singapore and then home.
It is believed this was probably where Tom was recovered from at the end of the war.  He was one of five 2/4th  men recovered from Java.
During 1942, five 2/4th men died mostly of dysentery.
__________

 

 

The 2/4th Committee of April 2000 was advised by Mrs A. Moir ** that Tom Wood had passed away 1997-1998. (published Borehole Bulletin April 2000)
** We believe Mrs A Moir is Alma Moir, wife of Lloyd.  Tom Wood had resided in the Plantagenet/Albany region as did the Moirs.
Tom Wood died 6 January 1995 aged 74 years and buried Karrakatta.
Two year old Tom Wood sailed from London to Fremantle ‘Bendigo’ on 24 January 1924 with his mother Ellen Elizabeth.

Tom’s father had sailed a year earlier from London to Albany on ‘Diogenes’ 3 January 1923.  His occupation was recorded as barman.
Thomas (Snr) and Ellen were residing Wokalbin where he was working as a farm labourer.  Wokalbin is about 260km east-northeast of Perth and 22 km to  Mukinbudin. There was a school at Wokalbin.  It is not known if the Wood family increased.
The Wood family with  son Tom were residing at Mt. Helena in 1943 and 1946.
Tom’s father Tom (Snr) died at Mt Helena in 1946. (His mother Ellen died in 1964).

 

 

 

Tom and Helen Wood are recorded residing Cantonment Street, Fremantle with Tom working as a bus driver. (1949 Electoral Roll).
After the war Tom married in Jan 1946 to Helen Clair Wroth of Mt Lawley.  They had two sons, Terrance Ashton and Kim Harold however the marriage did not last, and by 1950 the couple had parted. They divorced in 1954.
Tom’s was not the only marriage to break-down and we would have to assume much of the issues would be due to his POW years for which men received virtually no support.  On return after the war the men were told ‘to get on with their lives’ and ‘not to talk about their experiences’ (probably because nobody would believe them) and Australia and the powers-to-be simply wanted to get on with the world.  DVA had no ideas on how to deal with what today is known as ‘stress’.  These men had lived nearly 4 years undernourished, humiliated, bashed, worked as slaves and stood by as mates died with unfamiliar tropical diseases  and/or were bashed because they then were in no condition to work.
We know little of Tom Wood’s war experience.  Having got himself to Java he spent the remainder of the war there in POW Camps.   There are no official records of the Camps where Tom was incarcerated. He escaped from Singapore and quite possibly would have spent his POW years with men he was not known to, most likely Dutch and not Australians.
Back