The Soldier's Details

First Name:
William Walter
Regimental #:
‘C’ Company, 10 Platoon
Place of Birth:
Prestbury, Gloucestershire, England
Father's Name:
George Reeves
Mothers's Name:
Alice Jane Reeves
Church of England
Pre-war Occupation:
Stevedore and Railway Employee
Selarang Camp Changi; Thomson Road (Caldecot Hill Estate Camp); Selarang Barracks Changi
‘D’ Force Thailand, S Battalion
Camps Thailand:
Tarsau, Kanu II, Kao Rin, Nacompaton, Prachuab Kirikhan-Mergui Escape Road, Petchaburi
3 /9303 and 8839
Return Details 1945:
Thailand-Singapore by aircraft; Singapore-Fremantle, HMT Highland Brigade

General Description

English born Reeves enlisted AIF Aug 1940 and later joined 2/4th’s ‘C’ Company 10 Platoon under CO Lt Wilson.
From Singapore Bill Reeves was sent to Burma-Thai with ‘D’ Force S Battalion.
Please read further about D Force S Battalion
This Battalion included the largest contingency of 2/4th men of all the Railway work Forces.
He worked firstly at Tarsau, Kanu II, then Kao Rin before being sent to Nacompaton.
Whilst at Nacompaton Hospital, Bill Reeves was one of eight 2/4th POWs to be included in the 1000 man workforce to  construct the Mergui Escape Road.  Road construction commenced in April 1945. (others were Cosson and Wilkinson)
Conditions at Nacompaton were so terrible, Bill thought at the time, any move was better than staying in this death camp, the POW’s description of the hospital camp.    Initially the Japanese informed the men the work force was for light duties in Malaya!   Another Japanese lie.  The POWs were then in poor health after several years as POWs.
This road was to be constructed over challenging and mountainous terrain.  When the war ended 18th August, Bill was airlifted to Singapore. One in four POWs died on this project
Read further about Mergui Road Escape.


Bill’s son Eric Charles REEVE also enlisted WW2 – he joined 2/28th Battalion.
Bill and Ada (Beatrice nee Priday) married in Gloucester, England 1820 and prior to sailing to WA with Group Settlement Scheme. In 1920 their daughter Rosalie Beatrice Reeves was born. She however died in 1922.
They sailed on ‘Themistocles’ from Liverpool on 11 Sept 1926 with their young son Eric to Albany, WA. According to information on the shipping list their last address was Hemsted, Gloucestershire.   Bill had been employed as a ‘Deal Porter’ – (Having no idea what a Deal Porter’s job involved – I did some research…………..C. Mellor, 2/4th Historian, 2023)
Deal porters were a specialist group of workers in London‘s docks. They handled baulks of softwood or “deal”, stacking them up to 60 feet (18 m) high in quayside warehouses. This was a demanding and dangerous job. It required physical strength, dexterity and a head for heights, to such an extent that they were nicknamed “Blondins” after the famous acrobat, Charles Blondin. Deal porters wore special leather headgear (backing hats) with long “aprons” over their shoulders in order to protect their heads and necks from wooden splinters.
Their trade was a notably hazardous one.’

****Please see bottom of page

In 1931 Electoral Roll Bill and Ada are residing Group 13,    Cowaramup.  At Group 17 Cowaramup is Charles Frederick and his wife Alice Mary Reeves – it is possible they are related.
In 1936,1937 Bill and Ada are residing High Street, Busselton with Bill working as a labourer.  They have given up farming which was not unusual, many migrants found Group Settlement farming unrewarding emotionally and financially.  Please read further about Group Settlement
In 1958, 1963  Electoral Rolls Bill and Ada are residing High Street, Busselton.  Bill is working as a labourer.
Bill Reeves died 8 March 1976 at Nedlands. Ada died at Bunbury 18 Aug 1986.
Borehole Bulletin April 1990
Bill’s daughter Mrs Mary Wheldon wrote, paying subscription with small donation.  Chris McLennan who was friend of her late father had made arrangements for  her to receive last years Borehole Bulletin.  Although she currently had little contact with 2/4th Members, she enjoyed reading the magazine.



Camp Locations:

  • Selarang Barracks Changi - Singapore
  • Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
  • Thomson Road (Caldecot Hill Estate Camp) - Singapore
  • Kanu II, 152.30k - Thailand
  • Kao Rin, Specialist Camp 46.92k - Thailand
  • Mergui (Myiek) Escape Road - Thailand
  • Nacompaton, Nakom Pathom Hospital - Thailand
  • Petchaburi - Thailand