The Soldier's Details

First Name:
Thomas Membury
Nick Name:
Tim or Blue
Regimental #:
‘A’ Company, 5 Platoon
Place of Birth:
Loxton, South Australia
Father's Name:
Thomas Michael McMahon
Mothers's Name:
Ethel Joan McMahon (nee Cleverley)
Church of England
Pre-war Occupation:
Hoist Driver
Epitaph, Labuan Memorial, Panel 18, Age 24.
Selarang Camp Changi
‘ A’ Force Burma, Green Force, No. 3 Battalion
Camps Burma:
Victoria Point, Kendau 4.8km, Thetkaw, Meiloe, Augganaung
Rakuyo Maru Party, Kumi No. 35
Cause of Death:
Lost at Sea
Place of Death:
South China Sea
Date of Death:

General Description

Tom or Blue as he was known, enlisted AIF 23 Oct 1940 from Norseman and later joined ‘A’ Coy 5 Platoon under Commanding Officer Lt. Walton.
McMahon was wounded in action at Ulu Pandan on 12.2.1942. Admitted to 13th Australian General Hospital with a schrapnel wound to his left foot. Discharged to unit on 24.2.1942.

Lost at sea, South China Sea, Rakuyo Maru, 14.9.1944


L-R Jim Gilmour, "Widgee" Holst, "Blue" McMahon, Bert Norton, Jim Elliott, Clarrie McDonald. Kneeling - Jim Dore
L-R Jim Gilmour, “Widgee” Holst, “Blue” McMahon, Bert Norton, Jim Elliott, Clarrie McDonald. Kneeling – Jim Dore



McMahon T.M. WX8760
McMahon T.M. WX8760


McMAHON, Private, THOMAS MEMBURY, WX8760, A.I.F. 2/4 M.G. Bn., Australian Infantry. 14 September 1944. Age 24. Son of Thomas Michael and Ethel Joan McMahon, of Byford, Western Australia. Panel 18.

Labuan Memorial, Malaysia.

  • Tom McMahon who was born Loxton, South Australia has his name inscribed on the Unley Town Hall Honour Board for WW2.
  • ‘MCMAHON, Thomas Membury 
    Service number WX8760, Private, 2nd/4th Machine Gun Battalion, 2nd AIF WW 2, Born 8 Mar 1920, Died 14 Sep 1944, Died at sea (Rakuyo Maru)’


He was working as a miner Norseman when he enlisted 23 October 1940.  Tom joined 2/4th’s ‘A’ Company in Northam Training Camp.
As a POW of Japan he was accommodated at Selarang Camp, Singapore and selected to work on Burma end of Thai-Burma Railway with ‘A’ Force Burma, Green Force No 3 Battalion which sailed from Singapore.   Green Force was delivered to Victoria Point on the south-west coast of Burma.  Their first task was to repair and enlarge the local aerodrome before making their way to the northern end of the railway in Burma several months later.
‘A’ Force Green Force No. 3 Battalion included the largest contingency of men from 2/4th as did ‘D’ Force Thailand S Battalion.  Blue McMahon was in good company – with many of his mates from ‘A’ Company.
Please read further about ‘A’ Force Burma, Green Force No. 3 Battalion.
When the railway was completed at end of 1943 the Japanese began moving all POWs in Burma south into one of 4 large camps in Thailand.  We cannot be absolutely certain, however Blue is believed to have been sent to Tamarkan as he was not recorded as having been ill.  That is not to say he was blooming with good health – nobody was, but the Japanese wanted to prepare the POWs for shipment to work in Japan.  Food and accommodation was much superior at these camps.
Blue was selected with what would be known as ‘Rakuyo Maru’ Party.  They were taken by train via Bangkok into French Indo-China and finally to Saigon from where it is planned they would be sent by ship to Japan.  They were accommodated in Saigon and worked on the docks and several times prepared for travel from the docks but each time were returned.  The Japanese realised the American submarine blockade was too effective.  The local waters were filled with bombed shipping.
It was decided to return the men to Singapore on train via Bangkok and depart from there for Japan.

Please read about ‘Rakuyo Maru

Thomas (Snr) McMahon (born Victoria) married Ethel Joan Cleverley (born Devon, England) in 1917 Noora, South Australia.  The couple had four sons, the eldest Delmar (Jack) was born about 1917 SA followed by the birth of Thomas (Jnr) Membury McMahon who was born about 1920 Loxton South Australia.  The McMahon family then moved to Western Australian Goldfields and Walter was born 1923 East Coolgardie and David Michael in 1928.
When Blue enlisted he was recorded on the Electoral Roll living in Norseman with several family members including his mother.
He was 24 years old when he lost his life. He had managed to survive for two days in the sea before succumbing to the elements.
His father Thomas (Snr) died at Kenwick, WA in 1964.  Ethel Joan McMahon died at Victoria Park in 1989.

Camp Locations:

  • River Valley Road Camp - Singapore
  • Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
  • Tamarkan, Tha Makham 56k - Thailand
  • Aungganaung,105Kilo - Burma
  • Kendau, Kandaw, 4 Kilo - Burma
  • Meilo, 75 Kilo, 340k - Burma
  • Saigon - French Indo China
  • Victoria Point, Kawthoung - Burma. \'A\' Force, Green Force No. 3 Btn
  • Thetkaw 14 Kilo - Burma