The Soldier's Details
- First Name:
- Robin Roy
- Nick Name:
- Regimental #:
- ‘D’ Company. No. 15 Platoon
- Place of Birth:
- Fremantle, Western Australia
- Father's Name:
- Robert Semple
- Mothers's Name:
- Cecelia Semple
- Pre-war Occupation:
- River Valley Road Camp, X4B Party, W Party, Changi Gaol Camp, Tanjong Pagar Camp.
- Return Details 1945:
- Singapore-Darwin-Sydney HMT Arawa, Sydney-Melbourne‐Perth by troop train.
Bluey recorded his sister Jessie Treeby as his NOK.
Semple enlisted AIF Aug 1940 later joined 2/4th MGB’s ‘D’ Coy 15 Platoon under Commanding Officer Lt Meiklejohn.
He was wounded in action on 9/2/1942. Gunshot wounds to both legs and left upper arm. Semple escaped to Sumatra where he was captured and interned at Padang, Gloe Gloer Camp (Medan).
During the battle for Singapore the battalion was engaged in heavy fighting for 20 hours before being overrun by the enemy.
Private Dudley Athelstan Annear, WX13457 of 2/4 MGB was killed in action at Singapore on 14 February 1942. He was attempting to escape with several others of the Platoon who had been trapped behind Japanese lines. He was 31. Bill Bell was also killed during this time.
MELBOURNE CUP – (1942 – while conditions were reasonable and prior to construction of Sumatran Railway)
One Sunday, the nearest to Melbourne Cup Day, the Australians decided to run their own cup. Frogs were the contestants. A West Australian, Bluey Semple (WX7532) appeared in jockey’s colours with a riding whip. Nobody knew where they came from. Appropriately his frog won, and he was presented with the cup – half a coconut on a stand.
He was moved from Sumatra to Singapore via ‘Hirukiku’ Maru Party The ‘Hirukiki’ Maru sank with loss of life of about 169 POWs. The POWs were picked up by a Japanese naval ship and taken to Singapore. Please read further.
Bluey Semple remained in Singapore and didn’t return to Sumatra. He had been injured during the sinking of Hirukiku, those who were well, continued their journey and returned to Sumatra to work on the railway.
However following his recovery he was back with work parties in Singapore – X and W Parties, Tanjong Pagar Camp and was recovered from Changi at end of the war.
Bill Bell, Dudley Annear, Blue Semple and Cliff Webb were mates and in 15 Platoon together.
Robin was one of seven children born to Scottish born Robert Semple and Cecelia Jones who m. Victoria 1892.
The family resided at Jandakot, where Robert was a market gardener. Children were Lillian, Robert, Jessie, Margaret, Effie, Donald, Robin. Robin Semple was the youngest.
Below: Sister Margaret Evelyn died 1923
In 1936 Electoral Roll, Robin was residing with parents at Yangebup Road, Jandakot working as a labourer.
In 1937, Robin’s father Robert Semple died aged 85 years.
Below: Robin Semple has his motor cycle stolen and damaged.
Below: Blue’s brother Don Semple from Pemberton enlists with RAAF.
Below: Jan 1944, sister Effie died.
In 1944 whilst a POW, Robin’s mother Cecelia died.
After the war in 1949 Robin was living Adelaide Tce, Perth working office assistant. In 1958 he was living 107 Goderich Street, East Perth and working as a labourer.
In Aug 1949, Blue’s sister Jessie died aged 49 years. She was mother to 10 children.
As far as we are able to ascertain, Robin Semple never married. He died 4 Jan 1965 at Perth aged 53 years. His body was cremated at Karrakatta Cemetery.
- Changi Gaol Camp - Singapore
- River Valley Road Camp - Singapore
- Tanjong Pagar Camp - Singapore
- Gloe Gloer Camp - Sumatra
- Padang - Sumatra **