The Soldier's Details

First Name:
Alfred Thomas James
Nick Name:
Regimental #:
Despatch Rider
'D' Company, No. 13 Platoon
Place of Birth:
Broken Hill, New South Wales
Father's Name:
James Edward Cato
Mothers's Name:
Mabel Emily Cato
Pre-war Occupation:
Locomotive Fireman
Selerang Camp Changi, Johore Bahru, Adam Park, Selarang Barracks Changi
'D' Force Thailand, S & U Battalions
Camps Thailand:
Tarsau, Tarsau North, Tonchan South, Tonchan Central, Kanu I, Kanu II , Hintok River Camp, Kinsaiyok, Hintok Road Camp, Hintok River Camp, Tarsau, Tamuang, Wampo, Kinsaiyok, Kanu II, Kinsaiyok, Chungkai, Tamarkan, Tardan Bridge, Tarsau, Tamuang, Pratchai, Bangkok.
4/5981, 8759
Return Details 1945:
Thailand-Singapore by aircraft, Singapore-Fremantle, HMT Highland Brigade.

General Description


Tom Cato enlisted AIF 25 Oct 1940 and later joined ‘D’ Coy Headquarters under Commanding Officer Major Cough as a despatch rider.
Tom moved to ‘D’ Coy’s No 13 Platoon under Commanding Officer Lt Wankey.  At Singapore Tom was again moved this time to newly created No. 16 Platoon under Commanding Officer Sgt Arbery – an additional Platoon established in Singapore to increase the number of machine gun platoons to assist in the defence of Singapore’s north west coast.

Please read about 16 Platoon


Tom Cato Winellie Camp Darwin

Tom Cato, Winnellie Camp, Darwin Nov 1941


Tom Cato standing amongst Pandanas Palm Dec 1941
Tom Cato standing amongst pandanas palms Dec 1941


Tom left Singapore to work on Burma-Thai Railway with ‘D’ Force Thailand.

Read about Tom on Thai-Burma Railway U Battalion

‘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′

At the end of the war, Tom was recovered from Thailand.



We know Tom played footy whilst residing in Geraldton.






Tom was residing with his parents 1931 at Geraldton, then in 1936 at Maylands in 1936.
Tom married about 1940 to Marie Ward. They had a daughter in 1946 and twins (boy and girl)  born in 1949.
In 1952 Tom’s younger brother Ern and his wife Verna died in a light plane crash at Catabia Station and were buried at Carnarvon.
His mother Mabel Emily Cato (nee Halse) died in 1956 at Maylands aged 73 years and his father James Edward ‘Jim’ Cato died Maylands 1969 aged 85 years. Tom was the first son and second child of 10 children.

Tom died 1971 aged 61 years.

Camp Locations:

  • Adam Park Camp - Singapore
  • Johore Bahru, - Malaysia
  • Selarang Barracks Changi - Singapore
  • Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
  • Chungkai, 60k - Thailand
  • Hintok, 154k - Thailand
  • Hintok River Camp, 158k - Thailand
  • Kanu 1 151.00k - Thailand
  • Kanu II, 152.30k - Thailand
  • Kinsaiyok Main, 170.2k - Thailand
  • Pratchinburi - Thailand
  • Tamarkan, Tha Makham 56k - Thailand
  • Tamuang, Tha Muang 39k - Thailand
  • Tarsau, Tha Sao 125k - Thailand
  • Tonchan South, 131k - Thailand
  • Wampo, Wang Pho 114k - Thailand ***
  • Tardan - Thailand