The Soldier's Details
- First Name:
- Joseph Frederick
- Regimental #:
- ‘B’ Company, 7 Platoon
- Place of Birth:
- Laverton, Western Australia
- Father's Name:
- Joseph Starcevich
- Mothers's Name:
- Gertrude May Starcevich
- Roman Catholic
- Pre-war Occupation:
- Farmer and Miner
- Selarang Camp Changi, Johore Bahru, Adam Park, Selarang Barracks Changi, River Valley Transport Camp
- ‘D’ Force Thailand, Captain Fred Harris Party
- Camps Thailand:
- Kanchanaburi, Tarsau, Hintok, Kinsaiyok, Hindato, Konkoita, Tarsau, Non Pladuk
- Camps Japan:
- Fukuoka sub-Camp No. 17, Omuta
- 4/6657 & 603
- Aramis Party
- Return Details 1945:
- Nagasaki-Okinawa, USS Cape Gloucester, Okinawa-Manila, USS Bingham, Manila-Morotai-Darwin PBYCatalina aircraft A24-379, Darwin-Perth, B24 Liberator aircraft A24-379.
Starcevich enlisted AIF 23 Oct 1940. He later joined 2/4th MGB’s B Company & 7 Platoon under Commanding Officer Penrod Dean.
Joe’s left leg was injured in a rock fall below ground on 5/1/1945 while working at the Omuta Mine, Japan. Omuta mine was then being run by Mitsui.
The leg in question was amputated over 50 years later which means Joe would have been in his mid 70’s.
WRS or Bob Baker was from Esperance/Norseman area. The two men would have no doubt known each other. Baker lost his life in Sept 1944 the South China Sea when his POW Transport ship was torpedoes by American Submarines.
The following day on 23rd March the group were transported in open flat railway trucks to Kanchanaburi. S, T and V Battalions had already arrived at Kanchanaburi before U Battalion. It was here that Capt. Fred Harris reluctantly agreed to command a 225 strong POW work party which had been ordered by the Japanese be separated and remain behind to load ballast onto trains. When the group moved out of Kanchanaburi several men, Joe Starcevich and James Flanagan were too ill to continue, having consumed pork which was too rich, and remained behind.
Being the tail end of ‘Force, U Battalion tendered to gather in stragglers from other groups and they passed through from the lower camps of Thailand as they moved north of Kanchanaburi. Tom Cato from S Battalion joined U Battalion at Tarsau June 1943.
On 4th April the Japanese arrived to pick up U Battalion in a convoy of trucks to take then to their next destination, Tarsau. Many had thought they would be marching – so this was a pleasant surprise.
Tarsau Camp 4 April 1943 to 24 May 1943
Tarsau North Camp 24 May 1943 to 2 June 1943
Tonchan Camp 2 June 1943 to 28 June 1943
Kanu II Camp 30 June 1943 to 10 July 1943
Hintok River Camp 11 July 1943 to 16 July 1943
Around mid July Japanese issued orders for U Battalion to move back down river by barge to the British Camp at Tonchan Central.
Tonchan Central Camp 17 July 1943 to 21 September 1943
We believe Joe would have been selected to work in Japan while he was at Non Pladuk.
Joe was recovered from Japan at the end of the war.
Joe’s parents Croatian born Joseph Starcevich and Gertrude May Walter married Laverton 1915. Joseph Frederick (Joe) was the first born of 8 children born over a period of 16 years. There were six sons and two daughters.
Below: the Starcevich family receive news of Joe.
In about 1948 Joe married Myrtle Ellen Allsop.
They had four children.
In the 1954 and 1958 Electoral Rolls Joe and Myrtle resided Carey Park, Bunbury where Joe worked as wood machinitst.
In 1963 Joe and Myrtle were living Coorow farming.
In 1977 Joe and Myrtle were residing 169 Brigids Terrace, Scarborough. In 1980 they were at same street, but it was now Wembley.
Joe died in Perth in 2007 but was buried at Esperance. He was 91 years old.
His parents were also buried at Esperance. His father Joseph died in 1961 aged 68 years and his mother Gertrude May died 1969 at Esperance aged 72 years.
Two large families from Grass Patch included the Starcevich and Smith families.
Younger brother Stan Starcevich returns from Korea 1952.
Below: Brother Allan’s wife dies 1954
- Adam Park Camp - Singapore
- Johore Bahru, - Malaysia
- River Valley Road Camp - Singapore
- Selarang Barracks Changi - Singapore
- Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
- Hintok, 154k - Thailand
- Kanchanaburi, 50k - Thailand
- Kinsaiyok Main, 170.2k - Thailand
- Non Pladuk, 0k - Thailand
- Tarsau, Tha Sao 125k - Thailand
- Tonchan, 139k - Thailand
- Omuta Miike, Fukuoka #17-B - Japan