The Soldier's Details
- First Name:
- Ronald Henry
- Nick Name:
- Popeye or Ron
- Regimental #:
- 'C' Company Headquarters
- Place of Birth:
- Geraldton, Western Australia
- Father's Name:
- Herbert Simkin
- Mothers's Name:
- Annie Mary Simkin
- Church of England
- Pre-war Occupation:
- Farmer and Mechanic
- Selarang Camp Changi
- 'A' Force Burma, Green Force No. 3 Battalion
- Camps Thailand:
- Tamkarkan, Chungkai, Bangkok, Nacompaton
- Camps Burma:
- Victoria Point, Tavoy, Kendau 4.8km, Thetkaw 14km, Meiloe 75, Augganaung 105km
- Return Details 1945:
- Thailand‐Singapore by aircraft, Singapore‐Fremantle HMT Circassia.
Read about the enlistments from Northampton and Mullewa. Others to enlist from Mullewa were the Tompkins brothers.
Simkin had a toe on his left foot amputated in 1944.
He left with the first work party from Singapore to work on the Burma end of the Railway, ‘A’ Force Burma No. 3 Battalion. Please read about the movements of this work force.
At the end of war, Ron was recovered from Nacompaton Camp Thailand. Late in 1943 the Japanese began bringing all the POWs in Burma south to Thailand to one of 4 or 5 large camps, from where they could select the fittest POWS to work in Japan.
Ron Simkin was born Geraldton 1917 to Herbert and Annie May Simkin who had married October 1908 Billesdon, Leicestershire, England.
Herbert and Annie Simkin’s first born child, son Joseph William ‘Enderby’ Simkin was born Sept 1909 at Oakabella, Northampton – indicating the couple departed England soon after their marriage.
Herbert and Annie had a family of 5 surviving children and it is believed Herbert farmed at Binnu, Northampton/Mullewa.
Below: The Simkin family embraced the Northampton community. We can see the children participating in local events such as tennis.
Ron had been working at Mullewa when he enlisted.
Below: from ‘Mullewa Mail’
Below: From ‘Mullewa Mail’
Ron enlisted with AIF 16 August 1940 and later joined ‘C’ Company HQ as a Driver. He had been working/living Mullewa.
He was selected with ‘A’ Force Burma, Green Force No. 3 Battalion to work on Burma end of Railway with Cripps, Randall, Carlyon. It was Carlyon being dark skinned, who assisted his mates to keep alive. Carlyon was able to slip out Camp more easily (not noticed by Japanese because of his skin colour) and search for food and natural medicines/vitamins from Thai jungle. When the POWs were all brought south from Burma by the Japanese to Tamarkan – Ron was sick (possibly when he had a roe on left foot amputated) because from Tamarkan he was sent Chungkai which was another Hospital Camp.
Ron missed the selection for Japan and ‘Rakuyo’ Maru Party because of his amputation and was recovered from Nacompaton, Thailand at the end of the war.
Please read about ‘A’ Force Burma, Green Force No 3 Battalion and their journey by sea to south west coast of Burma before reaching Burma end of Railway.
Returning from war Ron was a patient at Hollywood Hospital when his mate the late Les Raynor’s fiancee Doris Ash visited. Les Rayner was badly wounded during fighting in Singapore, receiving shrapnel wounds to both legs on 15 February. Rayner had one leg amputated at 2/13th AGH and sadly died on 27 Feb 1942 aged 24 years
Please read about Rayner
As Doris left the Hospital Ward, Ron announced to his mates ‘I am going to marry that girl’. He married at Northampton Sept 1946 to Doris Ash, daughter of Rupert Leslie Ash and Bertha Ivy Thomas. Doris had served with Australian Women Forces during the war.
Doris had known Les Raynor and his family from Nabawa when the Raynor family had owned and run the local pub.
Rupert was the youngest son of Frank Ash and Alice Mary May (nee Lear) who moved to Northampton with their large family of 10 children from NSW. Rupert’s younger sister Edith Beatrice Ash married Henry Joseph Osborne – parents of Eric Francis Osborne WX16279 of 2/4th KIA 15 February 1942 Singapore. Another brother of Rupert and Edith, widowed Bertie Ash married Mary Grace Cripps, mother of Davey Cripps WX15783 who enlisted 2/4th and perished off ‘Rakuyo’ Maru. Davey’s young father had died quite young leaving Mary ‘Grace’ Cripps widowed.
Below: Rupert sells up his property to move interstate.
Below: by 1934, Rupert Ash and his family have returned to WA and are living around Geraldton. Rupert’s younger sister Edith Beatrice Osborne (nee Ash) mother of Eric Osborne WX16279 died in 1929. We believe Rupert and his wife adopted Beatrice’s baby daughter Lear.
Below: at end of 1939, Doris Ash is engaged to Les Rayner who resided near Toodyay. Ted enlists in AIF 30 Oct 1940 and joins 2/4th’s ‘A’ Company .
He died 27 February 1942 at 13th Australian General Hospital, where he had been admitted wounded, during the short week’s fighting for Singapore. He received shrapnel wounds to both legs requiring an amputation of one.
Returning from war, Ron married in 1946. He returned to farming at Northampton and the couple had a family of five children.
7 Dec 1948, Rons’ parents Annie and Herbert Simpkin celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary during a wedding held at their son Enderby’s home.
Below: Ron was farming at Northampton 1950. He and Doris had a family of five children, three daughters and two sons.
Below: died during 1952, Bertha Ash, mother of Doris.
Please read further about the Ash family And about Eric Osborne of 2/4th.
For the boys from Northampton who survived – it can be said they were forever grateful to the skills and courage of their mate Les Carlyon, who because of his dark skin colour was able to get past camp guards unnoticed, and scrounge food from various sources.
Ron died 2 May 1984 aged about 67 years and was buried at Northampton Cemetery (as was Ted Cornell WX16260 who died 1981 aged 68 years).
Also buried at Northampton Cemetery are Ron’s parents Herbert and Annie as well as his brothers Enderby, Christopher and Keith.
Today, Ron’s son Wayne and Bevan continue to operate the Simkin farm.
Below: evidence of Herbert Simpkin at Yuba.
Annie Mary Simpkin died February 1949 at Northampton and Ron’s father Herbert died March 1963 Geraldton.
- Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
- Chungkai, 60k - Thailand
- Nacompaton, Nakom Pathom Hospital - Thailand
- Tamarkan, Tha Makham 56k - Thailand
- Aungganaung,105Kilo - Burma
- Kendau, Kandaw, 4 Kilo - Burma
- Tavoy (Dawei) - river port - Burma
- Thetkaw 14 Kilo - Burma