The Soldier's Details

First Name:
Nick Name:
Regimental #:
‘A’ Company, 5 Platoon
Place of Birth:
Ennistimon, County Clare, Ireland
Father's Name:
William Scales
Mothers's Name:
Jane Scales
Roman Catholic
Pre-war Occupation:
Kanchanaburi War Cemetery, Plot 1, Row M, Grave 14, Age 35.
‘Blackforce’, attached to 2/3rd M.G. Bn. POW at Makasura Camp
‘D’ Force Thailand, Java Party No. 6, O Battalion
Camps Thailand:
Tarsau, Konyu 1, Hintok Road Camp, Chungkai.
Cause of Death:
Polyavitaminosis and Dysentery
Place of Death:
Date of Death:
Grave No. 426, Chungkai
Return Details 1945:
Grave No. 426, Chungkai.

General Description

James was youngest of four children born to William Scales and Jane Pierce Ireland. His siblings were Elizabeth, Mary and William.  His father died in 1939 Ireland.
James Scales migrated to WA at age of 20 years, providing his occupation at farmer.  His ship ‘Orford’ departed London on 13 October 1928.
We know James moved to Kalgoorlie because his uncle Peter Scales (brother of his father) was there for several years.    Peter Scales was recorded 1906 applying for mining lease No 4228E, known as Shamrock. In 1919 Peter Scales applied for mining application 6 miles north-west of Kalgoorlie.  In 1929 Peter’s  marriage to widow Annie Dunn was reported in the Kalgoorlie newspaper.  Peter and Annie were residing in Fremantle in 1931, sometime thereafter Peter and his wife returned to Victoria.
Peter Scales died 1959 at Williamstown, Victoria.  He and his sister Ellen sailed to Victoria about 1900.



Jim enlisted AIF 23 Oct 1940  from Coolgardie and later joined 2/4th’s 5 Platoon under CO’s Brian Walton and Lt Learmonth. His Platoon Sergeant was Schurmann.
James Scales was AWOL when ‘Aquitania’ departed outside Fremantle on 16th January for Singapore.  He was one of about 90 men from 2/4th who were unable to re-board their ship one of several reasons, the worst being MPs locked the men in goal,  and weeks later the group sailed to Java where it was intended they would be transhipped to Singapore.  However this arrangement never took place as Singapore was already deemed lost to the Japanese.  Another 5  Platoon soldier was Vidler.

Read further about the men AWOL


Scales remained in Java and was attached to 2/3rd MG Btn.  The Allied troops were all taken POWs of the Japanese and interned in one of several camps, Scales remained at Makasura where it appears life was far improved compared to many other Java Camps.   Life changed once he arrived at Burma-Thai Railway.

Read about Java POW Camps.

Jim was selected with Java Party No. 6, O Battalion to work on Burma-Thai Railway.

Read further about this work Party.

Scales was evacuated to Tarsau on 20.8.1943 wee believe from Hintok River Camp suffering from malaria. It seems he was then evacuated to Chungkai Hospital Camp where he tragically died on 11 September 1943 of Polyavitaminosis and dysentery aged 35 years.
(polyavitaminosis – meaning a deficiency of more than one vitamin)



J Scales

Kanchanaburi War Cemetery, Thailand.



Camp Locations:

  • Chungkai, 60k - Thailand
  • Hintok, 154k - Thailand
  • Tarsau, Tha Sao 125k - Thailand
  • Makasura - Java