The Soldier's Details

Surname:
Semple
First Name:
Robin Roy
Nick Name:
Bluey
Rank:
Private
Regimental #:
WX7532
Company:
‘D’ Company. No. 15 Platoon
Enlisted:
6.08.1940
Discharged:
14.03.1946
DOB:
25.05.1912
Place of Birth:
Fremantle, Western Australia
Father's Name:
Robert Semple
Mothers's Name:
Cecelia Semple
Religion:
Protestant
Pre-war Occupation:
Miner
Singapore:
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.

General Description

 

Semple enlisted AIF Aug 1940 later joined 2/4th MGB’s ‘D’ Coy 15 Platoon under Commanding Officer Lt Meiklejohn.  Please read further about ‘D’ Coy, 15 Platoon.
Bluey recorded his sister Jessie Treeby as his NOK.
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).
Please read about 2/4th men to escape to Sumatra from Singapore
MELBOURNE CUP – (1942  – while conditions were reasonable and prior to 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 was obviously ill, those who were well sailed 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.

Please read about the evacuation of  POWs from Sumatra

From West Australian Death Notices – for their mates……….
‘BELL – ANNEAR – In memory of two of our Mates, Bell and Dudley of Don Company, 2/4th M.G. Battalion, killed in action February 14 1942.  Inserted by Blue Semple and Cliff Webb.’
Robin was one of seven children born to Robert Semple and Cecelia Jones who m. Victoria 1892.
The family resided at Jandakot, where Robert was a market gardener.
In 1936 Electoral Roll, Robin was residing with parents at Yangebup Road, Jandakot working as a labourer.
After the war in 1949 Robin was living Adelaide Tce, Perth working ads office assistant.  In 1958 he was living 107 Goderich Street, East Perth and working as a labourer.
Robert Semple died Oct 1937 at Jandakot aged 85 years.

 

In 1944 whilst a POW, Robin’s mother Cecelia died.

 

As far as we are able to ascertain, Robin Semple never married.  He died 4 Jan 1965 at Perth aged 53 years.  Sumatran Railway would have taken a terrible toll on his health.

Camp Locations:

  • Changi Gaol Camp - Singapore
  • River Valley Road Camp - Singapore
  • Tanjong Pagar Camp - Singapore
  • Gloe Gloer Camp - Sumatra
  • Padang - Sumatra **
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