The Soldier's Details
- First Name:
- Basil William James
- Lance Corporal (Promoted on 18.1.1942)
- Regimental #:
- 'C' Company, No. 12 Platoon (Section Corporal)
- Place of Birth:
- Northam, Western Australia
- Father's Name:
- William Jesse Clarke
- Mothers's Name:
- Daisy Linda Clarke
- Pre-war Occupation:
- Selarang Camp Changi
- 'A' Force Burma, Green Force, No. 3 Battalion
- Camps Thailand:
- Tamarkan Hospital Camp No. 2, December 1943, Bangkok, Nacompaton from April 1944 to September 1944.
- Camps Burma:
- Victoria Point, Kendau 4.8km, Thetkaw 14km, Meiloe 75km, Augganaung, Evacuated from Aungganaung 105km to Khonkan 55km Camp on 3.7.1943 with a tropical ulcer. Soldier’s right leg was amputated through middle of thigh 22.9.1943.
- Return Details 1945:
- Thailand-Singapore by aircraft, Singapore-Sydney, HMT Highland Chieftan, Sydney-Melboume-Perth by troop train
Basil Clarke was involved at the fighting at Ulu Pandan Hill 200, Singapore as a member of ‘C’ Coy No. 12 Platoon.
As a POW at Singapore Basil was selected with the first work party to leave the Island – ‘A’ Force Burma, Green force No. 3 Battalion.
Green Force included a large number of 2/4th men. The only other Force to include such was ‘D’ Force S Battalion.
The 3,000 POW party ‘A’ Force departed Singapore onboard three ships on 14 May 1942 heading for the south west coast of Burma.
Green Force was the first to leave the group at Victoria Point, where their main work was to repair and enlarge the aerodrome left by the departing British forces. They would be here several months before leaving and heading north east to the northern most point of the Burma-Thai Rail link . They arrived at Kendau 4.8km Camp on 1 October 1942 – the first Australian POWs to work on rail in Burma.
Green Force and ‘A’ Force would remain working on the rail until December 1943.
On 3 July 1943 Basil was evacuated with a tropical ulcer from Aungganaung 105km Camp to Khonkan 55km Hospital Camp, Burma.
Dr Albert Coates and Dr Claude Anderson (2/4th) operated to amputate Clarke’s tropical ulcerated right leg through mid thigh in September 1943. Clarke was extremely fortunate, so many POWs did not survive amputation, but he did.
By December 1943, the Japanese began moving all POWs in Burma south to major camps in Thailand. Basil was evacuated to Tamarkan Hospital Camp No. 2 on 2 Dec 1943.
Medical facilities, food and care was more available at this camps.
In April 1944 Clarke was sent via Bangkok to Nacompaton where hew remained and was recovered from at the end of the war.
Whilst recovering at Nacopamton Hospital Camp, Thailand, Clarke became good friends with another amputee Bill Reynolds of 2/3rd Btn. Their friendship continued throughout their lives even though Bill Reynolds lived interstate.
Having been a farmer before he went to war, Clarke was determined to continue his life with the family farm at Wongan Hills, which he did successfully until he retired and his son took over.
Read about Dr Claude Anderson and Dr Albert Coates.
Also read about Basil’s visit to the Alhambra Bar.
Basil’s arrival safely home is included in the local newspaper.
He married Margaret Thomas in 1946.
Basil passed away during 1985.
- Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
- Nacompaton, Nakom Pathom Hospital - Thailand
- Tamarkan, Tha Makham 56k - Thailand
- Aungganaung,105Kilo - Burma
- Kendau, Kandaw, 4 Kilo - Burma
- Khonkan, 55Kilo Hospital 360k - Burma
- Meilo, 75 Kilo, 340k - Burma
- Victoria Point, Kawthoung - Burma. \'A\' Force, Green Force No. 3 Btn
- Thetkaw 14 Kilo - Burma