The Soldier's Details

First Name:
Robert Gregson
Nick Name:
Regimental #:
‘B’ Company, 9 Platoon
Place of Birth:
Saltcoats, Scotland
Father's Name:
Not Known
Mothers's Name:
Elizabeth Whitelaw
Pre-war Occupation:
Tractor Driver
Selarang Camp Changi, Johore Bahru, Adam Park, Selarang Barracks Changi
‘D’ Force Thailand, S Battalion
Camps Thailand:
Kanu II, Tamarkan (hospital 16.7.1943-24.11.1943), Chingkai (24.11.1943-7.4.1944), Rashin Maru Party
Camps Japan:
Ohama Camp 9B
4/6799, 8862 & 419
Return Details 1945:
Wakayama‐Okinawa, USS Consolation, Okinawa-Manila, USS Haskell, Manila-Sydney, HMS Speaker, Sydney-Fremantle, HMT Dominion Monarch.

General Description

Whitelaw enlisted AIF Oct 1940 and later joined 2/4th MGB’s ‘B’ Company, 9 Platoon under Commanding Officer Lt. Lee.
He left Singapore as a POW to work on the Burma-Thai Railway with ‘D’ Force Thailand S Battalion, a work force which include a large number of 2/4th.
From Kanu II he was evacuated sick to Tamarkan Hospital Camp remaining there from 16 July 1943 to 21 Nov 1943.  Unfortunately there is no record of what he was there for, but that was a long time.  He was transferred to Chungkai Hospital Camp 24 Nov 1943 to 17 Apr 1944.
Whitelaw was then selcted fit to work in Japan, to sail on the ‘Rashin’ Maru.  Please read about this 70 day sea journey for these POWs.
On arrival at Moji, Japan Bob was sent to work at Ohama Camp 9B.

Back Row:  L-R (1)  Bert Poulten WX9764  (5)  Doug Carter WX8240
2nd Last Row: L-R (2) Alf Worth WX7440 (3)  Alex Oag WX8481
3rd Row from Back:  L-R (4) Aub Schuts WX8562 (8) Bob Whitelaw WX9076
Front Row:  L-R (9) Arthur Walker WX16370


Back Row:  Aub Schuts, Bob Whitelaw, Bert Poulton,
Front Row:  Alec Oag, Alf Worth, Arthur Walker


Bob arrived Fremantle from London on ‘Omar’ 16 Mar 1924 aged 21 years, his occupation is recorded as farm labourer.
Bob worked at a farm labourer at Coorow on a property called ‘Koobabbie’ from years 1937 until 1943.  ‘Koobabbie’ was a stud farm.
We know so little about Bob.  Only that he never married and it appears he may have lived his life very much as a loner, without family.  We hope he maintained contact with 2/4th and his old mates.
Whitelaw died 11 Jul 1983 and was cremated a Karrakatta Cemetery aged 80 years.  He had been residing in Mt. Lawley.
During the preceding years we find him on the Electoral Roll:
1949 Pemberton, Labourer.
1963 Francis Street, North Perth, Labourer.
1977  238 Beaufort Street, North Perth.  No Occupation.
1980  51 Alexander Street, Yokine.  No Occupation.
It is possible, but challenging to confirm, Bob may have made a return trip to Scotland in about 1949.



“Koobabbie” was obviously a large property with an overseer and staff.  It was a stud farm with both sheep and cattle.



Camp Locations:

  • Johore Bahru, - Malaysia
  • Selarang Barracks Changi - Singapore
  • Chungkai, 60k - Thailand
  • Kanu II, 152.30k - Thailand
  • Tamarkan, Tha Makham 56k - Thailand
  • Ohama, Hiroshima #9-B - Japan ***