The Soldier's Details
- First Name:
- Herbert Alfred Thomas
- Nick Name:
- Regimental #:
- 'D' Company, No 14 Platoon.
- Place of Birth:
- Sutton, England
- Father's Name:
- Alfred Chilvers
- Mothers's Name:
- Eleanor Maria Chilvers (nee Lawrence)
- Church of England
- Pre-war Occupation:
- Epitaph, Labuan Memorial, Panel 18, Age 33.
- Selarang Camp and Barracks Changi
- 'E' Force Borneo
- 4/5990 & 1634
- Cause of Death:
- Place of Death:
- Sandakan No. 1 Camp
- Date of Death:
- No. 2 Cemetery, Sandakan.
Bert Chilvers was employed as a driver at Youanmi prior to his enlistment at Big Bell in 1940. He joined 2/4th MGB’s ‘D’ Company No.14 Platoon under Commanding Officer Lt. Tomkins.
West Australian Newspapers 1945
CHILVERS, Private, HERBERT ALFRED THOMAS, WX8123, A.I.F. 2/4 M.G. Bn., Australian Infantry. 31 March 1945. Age 33. Son of Alfred and Eleanor Maria Chilvers; husband of Doris Kathleen Chilvers, of Byford, Western Australia. Panel 18.
Labuan Memorial, Malaysia.
Pay Book Photo for Bert Chilvers
Chilvers died of malaria 31 March 1945 at Sandakan Camp, North Borneo. He had sailed from Singapore with ‘E’ Force Borneo.
Please read further about the men who were sent to Borneo from Singapore – The men from ‘B’ and ‘E’ Force who all died in North Borneo.
Herbert’s parents Alfred Chilvers, born in Australia and Eleanor Maria Lawrence married in 1903 Surrey, England. The couple had one daughter Eleanor ‘Grace’ and two sons Herbert and Leslie ‘Eric’. The family came to Australia before 1914 and were residing at Barricup, near Nannup. (this spelling was used). Alfred enlisted for WW1 on 9 November 1914 at Blackboy Hill. He joined 4th Field Ambulance. He received GSW to left thorax (lung) and left arm at Dardenelles in May 1915. He was first hospitalised at Harefield, Middlesex and then Manchester before being invalided home to WA 14 December 1915. His WW1 file shows he was granted a pension from 27 May 1916 which cancelled 7 June 1917. (Pensions were mercilessly cancelled in those days!)
The marriage between Eleanor and Alfred broke down about this time. Eleanor was living in a de facto relationship with John Frederick Smith (they eventually married in 1944 – possibly because Alfred died in 1944). Eleanor died 29 April 1969.
The children were young and with Alfred away at war, we assume they were with their mother and remained living with her.
In 1937 Bert married Doris Elliot at Byford before the couple moved to Youanmi. It is believed the couple were residing at Youanmi when Herbert enlisted however Doris returned to live near her parents at Byford once Herbert was with AIF.
We read where Bert competed in several cycling competitions.
Herbert’s father Alfred Chilvers attempted to enlist for WW2 with RAAF – unsuccessfully – below is his requested history from WW1.
Prior to sailing to Australia, Alfred had served with the 1st Lincolnshire Regiment, which according to his record, he left due to illness.
Alfred Chilvers died in 1944.
Above: Herbert’s younger brother Leslie ‘Eric’ who was a merchant seaman, died during a bombing raid of Bermondsey, London, England in July 1944.
Within 12 months, Eric’s brother Bert died of malaria at Sandakan No. 1 Camp, Borneo in March 1945.
Bert’s mother Eleanor died in 1969.
Doris Chilvers remarried about 1951 to Frederick John Dorrington, WX9557 of 2/4th.
Above: Youanmi Mine 1914 and below in 1940s.
- Selarang Barracks Changi - Singapore
- Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
- Lintang Officers Camp, Kuching - Sarawak