The Soldier's Details

Surname:
Green
First Name:
Thomas William
Nick Name:
Tom or Tommy
Rank:
Private
Regimental #:
WX8540
Classification:
Driver
Company:
Headquarters Company, No. 3 Platoon Administrative
Enlisted:
18.10.1940
DOB:
3.01.1918
Place of Birth:
Wagin, Western Australia
Father's Name:
Thomas William Green
Mothers's Name:
Elsie 'May' Green (Nee Blandford)
Religion:
Church of England
Pre-war Occupation:
Truck Driver
Memorial:
Epitaph, Labuan Memorial, Panel 18, Age 24.
Singapore:
River Valley Road Transport Camp
Java:
‘Blackforce’
Force:
‘A’ Force Burma Java Party No. 4, Black Force
Camps Java:
Bicycle Camp Batavia
POW#:
1716
Cause of Death:
Malaria
Place of Death:
Sandakan No. 1 Camp
Date of Death:
22.01.1945

General Description

Sent to Singapore from Java withA’ Force Burma Java Party No. 4, Black Force.  Remained behind when these Forces departed for Burma, Tom was obviously ill.

Transported to Kuching from Singapore and joined ‘E’ Force at Sandakan.

GREEN, Private, THOMAS WILLIAM, WX8540, A.I.F. 2/4 M.G. Bn., Australian Infantry. 22 January 1945. Age 24. Son of Thomas William and May Green; husband of Sylvia Madeline Green, of Perth, Western Australia. Panel 18.

Labuan Memorial, Malaysia.

 

At Fremantle, ‘Aquitania’ anchored for one night 15 Jan 1942 for supplies and reinforcements .  She was transporting about 3,500 reinforcements  to Singapore (soldiers did not know their destination at the time) – on board was 2/4th MGB from West Australia which had been training in Woodside, SA and Darwin.

These machine gunners were desperate to see their loved ones before they left for overseas fighting.  Hundreds jumped overboard and went AWOL.  Tom was one of about 90 men who could not get back to ‘Aquitania’ before she sailed at midday.

Please read further.

He was transported to Java several weeks later.

He was taken POW of Japan and interned Bicycle Camp, Batavia from where he selected to work on Burma-Thai Railway with ‘A’ Force Burma, Java Party No. 4 Black Force.

Tom got as far as Singapore where he became ill.  He was left behind at AGH Roberts Barracks, Changi.

On 3 Feb 1943, and once recovered he was then selected with 104 POWs in Singapore to sail to Kuching, Borneo.  They were men from Java Parties No’s. 1, 2, (British), 3,4 and 5a (Australian).

Now in Borneo, Major Suga Tatsuji, head of POW Camps, Borneo informed Major Farley, that no combatant officers would go to
Sandakan.  Farley, another officer and 15 other ranks were removed from the draft and replaced with 17 POWs who had arrived in February.  Tom Green was one of the 17.

On 9 April 1943 this group with ‘E’ Force marched out of Lintang Barracks to board ‘Taka’ Maru on a five day trip sailing northern coastline of Borneo  – their final destination was Sandakan.

Tom was one of over 2000 Allied prisoners of war (POW) held in the Sandakan POW camp in north Borneo, having been transferred there from Singapore as a part of E Force. The 500 Australian and 500 British POW’s who made up E Force, left Changi on 28 March 1943, on board the S.S. DeKlerk arriving at Berhala Island (adjacent to Sandakan Harbour) on 15 April 1943. The POW’s were held there until 5 June, when they were taken by barge to Sandakan. The next day they were transferred to the 8 Mile Camp, which was about half a mile from the B Force compound. Private Green, aged 24, died as a prisoner of the Japanese on 22 January 1945. He was the son of Thomas William and May Green, and the husband of Sylvia Madeline Green, of Perth, WA.

 

 

Tommy’s father William Edward Green was born 1886 at Jarrahdale to a large family.  He died 1971 at Fremantle.  His wife Elsie May Blandford was born 1899 Camberwell, Surrey, England.  The 1911 Census records show Elsie aged 12 a scholar, residing with her widowed mother Mary Blandford aged 43 years, working as a needlewoman.  Her father had died in England 1902.

William Edward Green enlisted WW1 14 May 1915, joined 28th Battalion Service No. 1170.  His enlistment details inform us he was 28 years old, employed as a stockman, 5’4″ tall, with black hair and dark brown eyes.

His records show he was wounded Gallipoli receiving GSW to both arms 13 May 1915.  He was sent to England for medical treatment.  William Green was sent home to Australia 24 June 1916, and discharged 9 November 1916.  He did however marry 12 June 1916 at Middlesex to English born Elsie ‘May’ Blandford.

It is not known when Elsie arrived in Western Australia.

William and Elsie ‘May’ had a family of four or more sons we believe.

We also believe William had a brother Percy Douglas Green born Pinjarra 1896 who enlisted WW1.  Percy Green died 27
Sep 1917 at Belgium.

Tommy’s parents resided for many years at John Street, Cottesloe and as late at 1963, Thomas (Snr) recorded his occupation as horse driver.  He enlisted WW2 with the Army Citizen Military Forces.

Thomas William Green married 1940 at Katanning to Sylvia Madeline King. It is believed Sylvia later remarried about 1948.

 

 

‘Thomas (Tommy) William Green born 1918 Wagin, Western Australia to George Henry and Janet Margaret Green who married Port Adelaide, SA in 1902.

Tommy’s father William Edward Green was born 1886 at Jarrahdale to a large family.  He died 1971 at Fremantle.  His wife Elsie May Blandford was born 1899 Camberwell, Surrey, England.  The 1911 Census records show Elsie aged 12 a scholar, residing with her widowed mother Mary Blandford aged 43 years, working as a needlewoman.  Her father had died in England 1902.  It is not known when Elsie arrived in Australia.

Tommy’s parents resided for many years at John Street, Cottesloe and as late at 1963, Thomas (Snr) recorded his occupation as horse driver.  He enlisted WW2 with the Army Citizen Military Forces.

Thomas (Tommy) William Green married 1940 at Katanning to Sylvia Madeline King. It is believed Sylvia later remarried.

Tommy went AWOL when ‘Aquitania’ with up to 3,500 reinforcements (including 2/4th MGB) anchored overnight on 15 Jan 1942 on her journey to Singapore from Sydney to pick up supplies and further reinforcements for 2/4th.

Tommy’s Battalion 2/4th MGB, had been training Woodside SA and Darwin for past several months. They were urgently called up from Darwin to head to Sydney (and unknown to soldiers onto Singapore). The West Australians had not seen their families for several months and believed they would be given leave at Fremantle.

But this was not the case. Several hundred men jumped ship. Most managed to reboard before ‘Aquitania’ departed next day, however more than 90 well trained machine gunners where left behind.

Soon after sent on a smaller ship to Singapore, they were redirected to Java as Singapore was about to fall. The 90 2/4th men joined the Allied forces then in Java

– Australians who had been recalled from middle east to fight in Singapore, also sent to Java – arrived without personal equipment or armaments.   Now Allied with Dutch East Indies and under their command they surrendered to the invading Japanese forces about 8 March 1942.

During 1942-1943 the POWs were being taken in work parties to various locations, mostly to Burma-Thai Railway.

Tommy was selected with ‘A’ Force Burma Java Party No. 4 Black Force. They sailed via Singapore to Burma on 12 October, 1942 to commence work on Burma end of Burma-Thai Railway. Tommy got no further than Singapore – he was obviously sick and left behind – sent to AGH at Roberts Barracks, Changi.

Tommy was now a POW in Singapore.

On 3 Feb 1943 POWs from Java Parties No.s 1, 2, (British) 3, 4 and 5A (Australian) a total of 104 men left Singapore for Kuching, Borneo.

Major Suga Tatsuji, head of POW Camps informed Major Farley that no combatant officers were to accompany the men to Sandakan.

This resulted in Major Farley, one other officer and 15 men from other ranks being removed from the draft and replaced with 17 other ranks that had arrived in February – Tommy Green was one of the 17.

Major Farley appointed Capt. R. Richardson, 2/20th and Capt. R Steele 2 I.C.

On 9 April 1943 ‘E’ Force marched out of Lintang Barracks to board ‘Taka’ Maru an 887 ton small cargo ship on what would be a 5 day journey edging around the top of Borneo coastline via Labuan Island to replenish its coalbunkers, before heading for Sandakan. A group of British POWs would arrive a few days after – ‘E’ Force and ‘B’ Force already at Sandakan Camp No. 1, and British Force were absolutely forbidden to communicate. ‘E’ Force sent to No. 3 Camp and British to No. 2 Camp.

Of the thousands of Australian and British POWs sent to Sandakan, Borneo only 6 managed to survive by escaping.

When the airfields, which POWs had spent years, constructing, were finally bombed by Allies to be no longer repairable, the Japanese made plans to move themselves to Ranau, safer and well inland away from the bombing planes. So began Sandakan – Ranau death marches.

Tommy died at Sandakan 22 Jan 1945 aged 24 years- he wasn’t well enough to join the First March from Sandakan to Ranau. Nor the 2nd or the 3rd.

 

Please read further about Sandakan

 

Camp Locations:

  • River Valley Road Camp - Singapore
  • Sandakan - Borneo ***
  • Bicycle Camp, Batavia, Jakarta - Java ***
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