The Soldier's Details
- First Name:
- Edgar Cheetham
- Regimental #:
- Headquarters Company
- Place of Birth:
- Manchester, England
- Father's Name:
- John Hugh Jones
- Mothers's Name:
- Mary Alice Jones
- Church of England
- Pre-war Occupation:
- Railway Shunter
- Djakarta War Cemetery, Plot 5, Row E, Grave 10, Age 40,
- Camps Java:
- Bicycle Camp Batavia
- Cause of Death:
- Bacillary Dysentery
- Place of Death:
- Bicycle Camp Hospital Batavia
- Date of Death:
- Dutch Cemetery about 6 miles from camp. Funeral service conducted by Padre Frank Kellow of the 2/2/ Pioneer Battalion. Buried Grave No 102 but reburied later in British section Grave No 65.
Edgar Jones enlisted August 1940, and recorded his birth year as 1901, when in fact he was born Manchester in 1897 ( maximum age was 40 years at that time).
He joined 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion Headquarters Company at Northam. In July 1941, the Battalion left WA to train further at Woodside South Australia and Darwin, N.T. The Battalion was urgently called up to leave Darwin at the end of December 1941 and soon were sailing on ‘Aquitania’ with reinforcements for Australia’s 8th Division (Singapore) from Sydney.
Prior to ‘Aquitania’ anchoring in Gauge Roads off Fremantle on 15th January 1942 the men of 2/4th were advised there was shore leave – the men would not be able to see their families and loved ones – they were going to war and had not seen their families for 6 months. Hundreds of men jumped ship, most were able to board before ‘Aquitania’ sailed the next day on 16th January, but about 100 well trained machine gunners were left behind.
Edgar was one of these men. Read further about this.
This group of men was reduced to about 90 – and left Fremantle a few weeks later but as their ship neared Singapore it became evident the Island would soon fall to Japan and the men were taken to Java. Edgar joined ‘Blackforce’ . The various groups of Allied soldiers joined Forces and Dutch East Indies to fight for Java. They were taken POW several weeks later when the Dutch East Indies capitulated to Japan.
The POWs were in various Camps – however Edgar was at Bicycle Camp where he became ill with bacillary dysentery and sadly succumbed on 6 July 1942.
Acting Sgt (Doug) Hampson from 2/4th was present when Private Edgar Chetham Jones WX7453 died of bacillary dysentery at Bicycle Camp Hospital, Batavia on 6th July 1942.
He was buried at the Dutch Cemetery about 6 miles from Camp. The funeral service was conducted by Padre Frank Kellow from 2/2 Pioneer Battalion. He was buried in Grave No. 102 however reburied later in the British Section Grave No. 65.
After war’s end his body was laid to rest at the Djakarta War Cemetery, Plot 5, Row E, Grave 10.
Read further about Java and POW Camps.
Jones was the only child of John Hugh Jones and Mary Alice Cheetham who married 1897 Manchester England.
In 1913, Mary and 14 year old Edgar sailed from Liverpool on ‘Belgic’ to Fremantle. It is thought John Jones sailed earlier to Fremantle.
Hugh Jones enlisted WW1 November 1915 and joined 13th field Company Engineers. He was one month short of 39 years. (It is quite possible Hugh Jones was older). He had 4 years service with Manchester Volunteer Battalion at Manchester, England.
He served in France as a sapper, hospitalised with nephritis and discharged 10 September 1917 returned to WA.
He was paid a fortnightly pension. Nephritis is an illness affecting kidneys. It was evident with WW1 and Civil War soldiers and thought to be associated with trench warfare conditions, however nephritis is not confined to this area.
In 1926 Edgar Jones married in Perth to Irene (Rene) Bethal Jane Bates-Parker who was born Toodyay in 1906. The couple had 4 daughters, lived in Leederville close to Edgar parents, with Edgar working for WAGR as a shunter. Their daughter Enid died aged 3 years in 1929.
John Hugh Jones died in 1929.
Edgar’s mother Mary died in 1937.
‘Rene’ Jones died in Perth in 1981.
- Bicycle Camp, Batavia, Jakarta - Java ***