The Soldier's Details
- First Name:
- Corporal (Promoted on 24.1.1942)
- Regimental #:
- 'C' Company, No. 10 Platoon (Section Corporal)
- Place of Birth:
- Beverley, Western Australia
- Father's Name:
- Gilbert Henry McLennan
- Mothers's Name:
- Grace Lavina McLennan
- Church of England
- Pre-war Occupation:
- Motor Mechanic
- Selarang Camp Changi, Mt Pleasant Camp, Thompson Road (Caldecot Hill Estate Camp), Selarang Barracks Changi
- 'D' Force Thailand, S Battalion
- Camps Thailand:
- Kanu II, Kanu III, Hintok Road Camp, Tarsau, Non Pladuk, Tamuang, Konkoita, Kinsaiyok, Tamarkan, Chungkai, Petchaburi, Nacompation, Bangkok
- 3/6456, 8734
- Return Details 1945:
- Bangkok-Singapore by aircraft, Singapore-Sydney, HMT Highland Chieftan.
Wounded in his face at Hill 200, Ulu Pandan on 11/2/1942 but remained on duty.
At Konkoita the work involved raising the height of a bridge and at Kinsaiyok a railway loop line was built.
As a POW Singapore, McLennan was selected with ‘D’ Force Thailand S Battalion to work on the Burma-Thai Railway.
S Btn included a large number of 2/4th ‘Boys’. They departed Singapore Railway Station May 1943 on a 4-5 day train journey to Bampong Thailand. S Btn was transferred by trucks to Kanchanaburi and then to Tarsau which would become Japanese HQ for ‘D’ Force and their hospital. They worked here several weeks clearing land for the rail link. In fact the relatively easy work did not prepare them for their move to Konyu II on 25 April 1943 at the Hellfire Pass Cutting.
At Konyu II the men slaved long hours in terrible conditions using hammer and tap to shave away the mammoth rock-face. The POWs had little protection from the flying pieces of rock, their clothes and shoes had fallen apart in the humid tropical climate.
They were subjected to Japanese brutality and bashings, little food and long hours working. Then came the tropical illnesses and cholera. Chris was sent with a work party from Konyu II to Konyu III to Clayton’s site then onto Tampie in a 100 man work party (including Dick Ridgwell). From here he was sent to Hintock.
13 Decemnber 1943 he was evacuated to Tarsau Hospital with an ulcer on his foot. Tarsau Hospital of course was not equipped with medical supplies. It was a hellish place, in particular the ulcer wards which could be smelled long before nearing them. There were quite a few 2/4th sick here.
Chris was then sent to Non-Pladuk onto Nacompaton Hospital arriving 7 May 1944 and remained 6 weeks. He was sent to Tamuang Camp via Non Pladuk.
From here he was selected with a work party to Konkoita Camp to rebuild a bridge which had been washed away. Then onto to Kinsaiyok Camp working on a loop line for Japanese engineers.
Then to Tamakan, Chungkai, Phetburi on 30 August 1945.
Allied POWs gathered at Nacompaton (like a holding Camp) to travel to Bangkok (University Camp) before flying to Singapore.
The above was included in ‘Listening Post’ Summer 1995, Vol 18, No. 4
Chris passed away aged 81yrs, February 8 2002, at Hilton, WA.
Chris’s son Rod joined the 2/4th Committee some years after his father’s death. He became President about 2010 remaining so until his untimely death in 2018. The old ‘boys’ enjoyed Rod’s company – he sort of spoke the same language. They would always enjoy lunch over a few beers at Anzac House following monthly meetings( we women would sir the other end of the table – it wasn’t because we didn’t wish to mix, the ‘boys’ enjoyed sitting together over their beers mostly quietly talking.
Rodney Chris McLennan born 23 July 1947 died 25 Sept 2018 was a former Vietnam Veteran who served with 21 Platoon 9RAR.
During the last years of his life there Rod sadly suffered terrible health issues . Months of hospitalisation, home a short time then back to another hospital. He suffered ulcers which would not heal on his legs and feet. He lost several toes due to amputation. He also had his dark times.
Rod was father to three sons .
I well remember seeing sores over his limbs and body for the first time. Sores which would not heal and the itch which drove him mad at times – he reminded me he always had them!
But they were more visible when wearing only a blue hospital gown!
They were the long-term results and rreminder of Vietnam’s chemical sprays – Agent Orange. I realised there was little the doctors could do – there were no cures!
Chris McLennan and Mrs McLennan would have been mighty pleased and very proud of their eldest son. We, the Committee of 2/4th we will fondly remember Rod’s commitment to 2/4th and in particular his admiration and endless patience with the ‘old boys’ who loved him dearly.
- Mount Pleasant Camp - Singapore
- Selarang Barracks Changi - Singapore
- Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
- Thomson Road (Caldecot Hill Estate Camp) - Singapore
- Chungkai, 60k - Thailand
- Hintok, 154k - Thailand
- Kanu 1 151.00k - Thailand
- Kinsaiyok Main, 170.2k - Thailand
- Nacompaton, Nakom Pathom Hospital - Thailand
- Non Pladuk, 0k - Thailand
- Petchaburi - Thailand
- Tamarkan, Tha Makham 56k - Thailand
- Tamuang, Tha Muang 39k - Thailand
- Tarsau, Tha Sao 125k - Thailand