The Soldier's Details

First Name:
Cyril (John)
Nick Name:
John or Mac
Regimental #:
'B' Company, 9 Platoon
Place of Birth:
Meckering, Western Australia
Father's Name:
Hugh McPherson
Mothers's Name:
Ethel Margaret McPherson (nee Hitchcock)
Church of England
Pre-war Occupation:
Selarang Camp & Barracks Changi
'D' Force Thailand, S Battalion
Camps Thailand:
Konkoita. Tarsau, Konyu 2,
Return Details 1945:
Thailand-Singapore by aircraft, Singapore-Fremantle, HMT Highland Brigade.

General Description

John  McPherson enlisted AIF Aug 1940 and later joined 2/4th MGB’s B Coy 9 Platoon as did his first cousin Harry Blakistan WX7937  McPherson’s mother and Harry’s mother were sisters – their parents William Austin Hitchcock and Martha Woolhouse,  John was one of about 11 children.
In May 1943 both Blakiston and McPherson left Singapore with ‘D’ Force S Battalion to work on Burma-Thai Railway.
John worked at the S Battalion POW camps – Tarsau, Kanu II, possibly Hintok as well as Konkoita.
When the rail was completed by end of 1943, the Japanese moved all POWs in Burma and Thai work camps to one of several very large camps in Thailand – where there was more food available and for the POWs to recover.
We cannot be sure where John was but was recovered from Thailand at the end of the war.




Below:  Martha Hitchcock, Grandmother to John and his mother’s mother.  She died in 1940.







Above: death of Hugh McPherson in 1947.  Hugh McPherson married 1906 at Northam to Ethel Margaret McPherson.  The McPherson family of Bakers Hill had a large family of 10 children.
Hugh McPherson was employed with the Waterworks, and had a small farming property.
During his 20’s young John McPherson managed a few scrapes with ‘the law’!  (John wasn’t the only one).  He enlisted in 1940 aged 26 years.
When he returned from war John McPherson returned to living at Bakers Hill.  At the end of 1948 he married local girl Pat Otway.


Below:  Death of Johns’ father Hugh McPherson 1947.


In 1958 John remarried to Norma Joyce Johnson, after which the couple resided in Perth.  Throughout the 1960s and 1980’s John and Norma McPherson resided around Dianella, Inglewood.


40th Anniversary Dinner – Heritage on Charles

1985 – Mac McPherson, Doug & Ettie Hampson, Mrs McPherson


50th Anniversary Dinner 27 Nov 1990

John McPherson


Mac was selected at Singapore to work on the Burma-Thai Railway with ‘D’ Force Thailand, S Battaliion which departed Singapore Railway Station 14 May 1943 for Thailand.
Conditions were pretty terrible and the men crowded into tiny carriages for the 4-5 day journey where the nights were freezing cold and the days stinking hot.
Please read about S Battalion which with A Force Green Force, had the largest numbers of 2/4th men of all the work forces.
Please read further
When the rail was completed by end of 1943 and the Japanese began to regroup all the POWs from Thailand and Burma at one of the large camps or hospitals in Thailand, many 2/4th of S Battalion ended up at Tamuang Camp where they were deemed ‘fit’ by the Japanese and selected to work in Japan.
At the end of the war he was recovered from Thailand.


Cyril John’ (Mac) McPherson died in 1995 aged 81 years at Beechboro.  His wife Norma died 1997 aged 75 years.  Both are buried Karrakatta Cemetery.

Camp Locations:

  • Selarang Barracks Changi - Singapore
  • Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
  • Kanu II, 152.30k - Thailand
  • Tarsau, Tha Sao 125k - Thailand