The Soldier's Details

First Name:
Walter Stafford
Nick Name:
Regimental #:
Battalion Headquarters
Place of Birth:
London, England
Father's Name:
Not Known
Mothers's Name:
Kate Watkins
Church of England
Pre-war Occupation:
‘A’ Force Burma Java Party No. 3, Williams Force (advance party with Lieutenant C. J. Mitchell)
Camps Thailand:
Neikhe 131km, l33km, Kanchanaburi, Tamarkan, Chungkai
Camps Burma:
Tanyin 35 km, Reptu 30km Camp (25.3.1943) Anakwin 45 km, Taungzan 57km, Mezali 72 km, Apalon 77km,, Kyondaw 108km, 8
Return Details 1945:
Thailand-Singapore by aircraft, Singapore-Fremantle, HMT Moreton Bay.

General Description
















Wally was one of 90 or so 2/4th men who was AWOl from ‘Aquitania’ when it anchored off Fremantle for the night of 15 Jan 1942 – he was unable to re-board before the ship sailed for Singapore the next day. Others from HQ included Allpike, Glass, Fred Kuhl, Clarrie Sawyer (who died Bandeong Hospital 1 April 1942) and Bill Harris.   Please read further.
Now in Java, men of 2/4th were split into various parties to fight the Japanese with the existing Australian Forces.
Watkins he served with ‘Blackforce’ in Java prior to being taken POW of Japan in early March 1942.
WX8356 Walter (Wally) Watkins left Java with Java Party No. 3 – under command of 2/2nd Pioneer Battalion’s Lt. C J Mitchell – this was one of the first to leave for Burma.
2/2nd Pioneers (engineers) returned from Middle East and were diverted to Java – 26 Work Parties departed Java between Sept 1942 and January 1945.





Watkins would have worked in several camps in Burma before moving south to Thai end of the Railway as Williams Force moved frequently because of their engineering experience.  The Japanese hit a jackpot with the skills of the majority of men in this Force.
It is not known when Walter Watkins arrived in WA.  The first recording on State Electoral Roll is 1925 and he working as a farmhand at Dowerin.  Throughout the years 1931, 1936, 1937 he was working as farmhand at Ejanding, north of Dowerin.  Ejanding was once a small town with a primary school.
Returning from war he married in 1949 to Lila Joan Gibson (nee Graham) following her divorce to her first husband.   It appears Wally worked as a hospital orderly for the remainder of his working life.  He and Joan are recording living at Byford, East Victoria Park, Rivervale, etc.  He worked as an orderly at Hollywood Repatriation Hospital before 1949.

Please read about Lady Mitchell convalescent Hospital.

Walter Watkins died in 1974 aged 70 years and was buried Karrakatta. Lila Jean Watkins died 202 Bentley aged 95 years.


Height 5′ 8″


Should any descendants or family members read this information about Wally and can provide photographs and further information, please contact this website.  Thank you.

Camp Locations:

  • Chungkai, 60k - Thailand
  • Kanchanaburi, 50k - Thailand
  • Nikhe Wood Camp, Ni Thea, 131 Kilo, 284k - Thailand
  • Tamarkan, Tha Makham 56k - Thailand
  • Tonchan South, 131k - Thailand
  • Apalon, Apalaine, 80 Kilo, 337k - Burma
  • Reptu, Retphaw, 30Kilo 385k - Burma
  • Taungzun, 60 Kilo, 358k - Burma
  • Tanyin 35 Kilo Camp - Burma
  • Anakwin 45 Kilo Camp - Burma
  • Mezali 70km Camp - Burma
  • Nikhe, Ni Thea, 133Kilo Camp, 281.80km - Thailand
  • Kyondaw 95 Kilo Camp – Burma