The Soldier's Details

First Name:
Ernest Jesse
Nick Name:
Jack or Ernie
Regimental #:
Headquarters Company No. 1 Platoon Signals
Place of Birth:
York, Western Australia
Father's Name:
Meshacha Thomas Ovens
Mothers's Name:
Lily Ovens
Church of England
Pre-war Occupation:
Kranji War Cemetery, Plot 1, Row A, Grave 11, Age 24.
Cause of Death:
Killed in Action
Place of Death:
Ulu Pandan
Date of Death:
Where killed at map reference 763132 by Major A. Cough Party

General Description

Ovens 29 Jun 1941 - LACE-TRIMMED GEORGETTE - Trove


2nd4th Football team 1941
Back row L-R C Ryan , F. McCaffery, L. Daily (C), A Hewby (Manager), E. Hunt, R. Anderson, F. Clark, T. Tomkins
Middle row L-R C. Helmrich, R. Baddock, J. Pearce, R. Riebe, C Spackman, J. Dore
Front row L-R E.J. Ovens, J. Smith, J. Wheelock, J. Innes, H. White, A. Mussman .


He was a member of 2/4th Football team.  Read further.


Ovens married about 1941 to Margaret Edith Joan Cole.

His mate Harry Pickett, a POW on ‘Rakuyo’ Maru transport ship to Japan was one of the fortunate to be rescued by US submarine ‘Pampanito’ following 4 days at sea, clinging to makeshift life rafts.


Jack Ovens was mentioned several times in the news of Koorda along with Ken Skinner, Basil Clarke and Cyril Fogarty.


Below:  All of Ernie’s brothers enlisted into Australian Forces – Ernie was the only one not to return home.


Ovens aged 24 years was KIA Hill 200, Ulu Pandan Singapore on 12 Feb 1942.  The Australians were overrun by Japanese troops and many 2/4th Machine Gunners lost their lives.

Please read further about Hill 200





Below: Ernie’s cousin KIA New Guinea 1944.


Ernst Jesse Ovens was one of eight children and third of four sons born to Meshachan Thomas Ovens and Lilly Coles who married 1908 at York, where Lilly’s family resided.

Lilly Coles was born in York as was her mother below.  The Cole family residing at Mackie Bridge about 1900.

Below is death notice for Lilly’s mother and Ernie’s grandmother.


Below:  Lilly’s younger brother Ernest John Coles had died 1917 France.  We believe Ernest Ovens was named after this uncle and grandfather, Jesse Coles.



Ernie Ovens’ grandfather Jesse Coles died 1922.



Below:  The Ovens farm at York is sold and they relocate to Mollerin, Koorda.

1 May 1827






His mother died in 1988 and his father in 1962.

Widowed Margaret Ovens remarried 1947 to Terrence Millsteed at Northam.