The Soldier's Details
- First Name:
- William Howard
- Nick Name:
- Regimental #:
- ‘B’ Company, 9 Platoon
- Place of Birth:
- Kalgoorlie, Western Australia
- Father's Name:
- William Howard Earnshaw
- Mothers's Name:
- Faith Daisy Earnshaw
- Church of England
- Pre-war Occupation:
- Rigger‘s Mate
- Epitaph, Labuan Memorial, Panel 18, Age 25.
- Selarang Camp Changi, Johore Bahru, Adam Park, Selarang Barracks Changi
- 'E' Force Borneo
- 4/6092 and 1684
- Cause of Death:
- Place of Death:
- Sandakan No1 Camp
- Date of Death:
Bill Earnshaw was selected in Singapore with ‘E’ Force, which sailed to Borneo to Sandakan.
Bill died Mar 1945.
He was 25 years old.
- WA. Paybook photograph, taken on enlistment, of WX6262 Private William Howard Earnshaw, 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion, Australian Infantry. He was one of over 2000 Allied prisoners of war (POW) held in the Sandakan POW camp in north Borneo, having been transferred there from Singapore as a part of E Force. The 500 Australian and 500 British POW’s who made up E Force, left Changi on 28 March 1943, on board the S.S. DeKlerk arriving at Berhala Island (adjacent to Sandakan Harbour) on 15 April 1943. The POW’s were held there until 5 June, when they were taken by barge to Sandakan. The next day they were transferred to the 8 Mile Camp, which was about half a mile from the B Force compound. Private Earnshaw, aged 25, died as a prisoner of the Japanese on 15 March 1945. He was the son of William Howard Earnshaw and Faith Daisy Earnshaw, of Kalgoorlie, WA. He is commemorated on the Labuan Memorial Panel 18. (Photograph copied from AWM232, items 4 and 5. Personal information from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Database.)
EARNSHAW, Private, WILLIAM HOWARD, WX6262, A.I.F. 2/4 M.G. Bn., Australian Infantry. 15 March 1945. Age 25. Son of William Howard Earnshaw and Faith Daisy Earnshaw, of Kalgoorlie, Western Australia. Panel 18.
Labuan Memorial, Malaysia
Bill’s father William Howard Earnshaw, was born in Bendigo enlisted at Blackboy Hill and fought in WW1, Service No. 777.
Below: Prior to their marriage, correspondence between Bill’s mother Faith Daisy and Army regarding Bill Earnshaw (Snr) – he was with several Battalions.
Bill’s mother Faith Daisy Copland was born in England. She came to Australia with her mother and stepfather, travelling and arriving as Daisy Scott.
Bill (Snr) and Daisy married September 1918 at East Coolgardie and continued residing in the Kalgoorlie region. Bill (Snr) fought at Gallipoli and the Western Front in the 11th Battalion. The Earnshaw family resided in Wilson Street, Kalgoorlie in 1943, Bill was employed as a brewery hand.
William (Bill) standing, sister Laura beside brother Frank and Jean in the chair
Bill (Jnr) was the eldest of four children. His sister Laura Annie was born in 1921, sister Jean Faith was born in 1923 and brother Francis John in 1925.
Left to right Frank, Jean, Back Row, Faith (Daisy) Mother Front, Bill middle, Laura, Back Row, William, Father, Front.
Bill teaching younger brother Frank to ride.
Bill Earnshaw – the competitor.
Daisy Earnshaw endured concern and anxiety about Bill (Snr) in WWI and was to endure the same concern for her son Bill (Jnr) who was taken POW of Japan and probably reported missing. We do not know, but believe there was no correspondence sent by POWs from Borneo. Nor was there any opportunity for Red Cross knowing of his whereabouts as was the case with POWs in Burma when cards were sent from Moulmein, and later POWs were reported alive by Red Cross in several locations.
The news and confirmation of Bill’s death would have shattered the Earnshaw family and they would have been one of the many grieving Kalgoorlie families.
Kings Park Avenue of Honour
David Earnshaw – nephew of Bill. The family resemblance is remarkable.
Standing: Jodie and David Earnshaw (nephew to Bill and Laura C/F) seated centre front: Laura Anderson, sister of Bill, with her granddaughter Jennie and daughter Betty.
Laura is included in the two above family photos. She is the eldest of two Earnshaw daughters.
2019 Anzac day Luncheon for 2/4th MGB Ex-Members Assoc.
- Adam Park Camp - Singapore
- Johore Bahru, - Malaysia
- Selarang Barracks Changi - Singapore
- Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
- Sandakan - Borneo ***
- Lintang Officers Camp, Kuching - Sarawak