The Soldier's Details

First Name:
Thomas Keith
Nick Name:
Tom or Barney
Regimental #:
‘C’ Company, 10 Platoon
Place of Birth:
Menzies, Western Australia
Father's Name:
Thomas Sawyer
Mothers's Name:
Mary Sawyer
Roman Catholic
Pre-war Occupation:
Selarang Camp Changi
‘A’ Force Burma, Green Force, No. 3 Battalion.
Camps Thailand:
Tamarkan, Nakom Nayok, Bangkok
Camps Burma:
Victoria Point, Tavoy, Kendau 4.8km, Thetkaw 14km, Meiloe 75km, Aungganaung 105km
Return Details 1945:
Thailand-Singapore by aircraft, Singapore‐Fremantle, HMT Tamaroa.

General Description

Known as Keith to his family and ‘Tom Sawyer’ naturally, to 2/4th!
He was one of seven children of Ephraim (Thomas) Sawyer and Mary Collins who married Menzies 1906. Ephraim Thomas Sawyer came to Menzies with his parents and well known Menzies pioneers, William and Susannah Sawyer (nee McLaren).
William (snr) was born England, married Susannah McLaren on February 13, 1866, in Melbourne, Victoria.  He died on July 22, 1914, in Menzies, Western Australia, Australia, having lived a long life of 81 years and Susannah died Menzies in 1921.



‘WX7939 SAWYER, Clarence (Clarrie) John is son of Joseph Archibald ‘Archie’ Sawyer – older brother to Keith’s father Ephrain ‘Thomas’ Sawyer – making Keith and Clarrie first cousins.   
Parents to Archie and William Frederick (Jnr)  are:
WILLIAM FREDERICK SAWYER (SNR)  d. 1914 and SUSANNAH, known as ‘Nacida’  (nee MCCLAREN) d. Menzies 1921.’


Keith’s Grandfather died 1914.


Keith’s grandmother died 1921.



Below:  Grandparents William and Susannah Sawyer


Below:  Frank Halbert and Keith Sawyer, from 2/4th.  Frank died of illness in Thailand.  Both Sawyers and Halberts were extensively involved in mining.






Below:  Keith’s mother Mary died in 1944 – he was then a POW in Thailand.



Below: We wish to acknowledge and thank Mindat for the following information.
‘The Lady Harriet Gold Mine is the first lease pegged in the Menzies area. In September 1894, J. Brown, George Kirby, and Charles Jackman left Coolgardie, and headed north by camel in search of gold. In the Menzies area, Brown wanted to investigate some hills in the distance. After much argument they headed to the location, and discovered gold the next morning. Lady Harriet is named after Brown’s sister.
June 1896, the prospectors sold the mine to Florence, O’Driscoll and co., who floated a company in London called the Menzies Pioneer Ltd. They developed the deposit until June 1898. While some rich crushings were obtained, the three parallel lodes were lenticular and patchy according to the company, and they abandoned the lease.
It was subsequently mined by another London syndicate, then sold to Robert Ballard, Bell and party. Finally in the early 1900’s it was sold for only 60 pounds to the remarkable Sawyer family.
The family originally came from Mount Bures England. William Sawyer jumped ship in Melbourne in 1856, and headed for the Victorian goldfields. Later he worked for the Victorian railways. Around 1895, he left with his family for the Western Australian goldfields.
William Sawyer and his six sons had been tributing on the Lady Harriet, then purchased it from Ballard. Unlike the original company, they found much gold. On the eastern lode, the company had sunk a shaft but lost the reef after 60 feet. The Sawyers sunk to 100 feet and located a 2 foot wide reef, obtaining hundreds of tonne of stone at 5 oz values.
A six month option was taken by the Lady Shenton Company headed by Richard Falconer. They failed to secure the purchase, and the Sawyers had the advantage of processing the stone left behind. The other two lodes were subsequently developed, and some nearby leases like the Menzies Alpha. The lease contained a five head battery, and crushed for the public, becoming the dominant battery in the area. The Sawyer name is attached to the battery until the late 1930’s. The battery continued to operate until it closed in 1953, although the Sawyer name was not found attached to it after 1937.
William Sawyer died 22 July 1914 aged 76 years, and his wife Susannah 19 April 1921 at 71 years. They are buried at the Menzies cemetery.
The six brothers continued the family business of mining, and were at the mine for about 35 years. Several pictures of them exist on the internet. One shows four of the brothers and William in front of the mine, the brothers in their early twenties. Another is later in life with all the brothers. They were involved in the local Menzies fire brigade and roads board.
Names of the brothers are Archibald (born 1867), James (born 1870), William (Junior)(born 1872), Thomas (or possibly Ephraim Thomas) (born 1878), Charles (born 1881), Francis or Frank (born 1884), Herbert (born 1887). There were also sisters, two died as infants.
In 1996, Paddington Gold Ltd developed an open pit at the site, destroying the historic workings. This operation produced 193 184 tonnes of ore at 3.1 g/t yielding 21 212 ounces of gold.
From 1896 to 1922, the mine produced approximately 12 000 tonnes of ore for 8500 ounces of gold at 22 g/t.
The deposit is hosted in amphibolite rocks, consisting of quartz veins with alteration envelopes, plunging south-west. Pyrite and arsenopyrite are dominant, with some chalcopyrite, galena and sphalerite. There is a quartz-biotite-sericite alteration zone on the edge of the mineralised unit. Intrusive feldspar porphyry bodies are present, but are not significantly mineralised.
The main mine shoot plunged 20 to 30 degrees south south-east, at the convergence of three shear zones, as a series of brittle quartz veins. There are additional small mineralised zones south of the pit, and a narrow steep dipping quartz-biotite-pyrite zone 50 metres to the north.’



Returning from war, Keith married 1949 to Elvina P Bamess.


Tom/Keith/Barney Sawyer passed away 1991.

Please read further about the Sawyer family

Camp Locations:

  • Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
  • Nakom Nayok, Nakhon Nayok - Thailand
  • Tamarkan, Tha Makham 56k - Thailand
  • Aungganaung,105Kilo - Burma
  • Kendau, Kandaw, 4 Kilo - Burma
  • Meilo, 75 Kilo, 340k - Burma
  • Victoria Point, Kawthoung - Burma. \'A\' Force, Green Force No. 3 Btn
  • Thetkaw 14 Kilo - Burma