The Soldier's Details

First Name:
Norman James
Nick Name:
Regimental #:
'D' Company
Place of Birth:
Cottesloe, Western Australia
Father's Name:
Joseph Munday Venemore
Mothers's Name:
Rosa May Venemore (nee Goodall)
Church of England
Pre-war Occupation:
Epitaph, Labuan Memorial, Panel 19, Age 28.
Selarang Camp Changi, River Valley Road Camp
'A' Force Burma, Green Force, No. 3 Battalion
Camps Thailand:
Camps Burma:
Victoria Point, Kendau 4.8km, Thetkaw 14km, Meiloe 75km,
Rakuyo Maru Party, Kumi No. 37
Cause of Death:
Lost at Sea
Place of Death:
South China Sea
Date of Death:

General Description




Above:  life is quite exciting as a young soldier in training – going home prior to leaving to train in SA and NT!
Read about D Company
Go to Gallery for Lubuan Memorial
From Selarang Camp Changi Norm Venemore was selected for ‘A’ Force, Green Force No. 3 Battalion to work on the Burma-Thai railway.  He departed Singapore on-board ‘Toyashi’ Maru and arrived off Victoria Point on 22 May 1942.  Initially Norm would have worked either in Victoria Point or at the aerodrome 7 miles from town.
From Victoria Point Norm would have worked at some or all of the following camps in Burma –
Kendau 4.8 km Camp from October to December 1942,
Thetkaw 14 kmn Camp from Dec to 28 March1943,
Meiloe 75 km Camp from 28 Mar 1943 to 11 May1943,
Augganaung105km Camp from 11 May 1943 to December 1943.
When the rail link was completed, the Japanese began to move all POWs in Burma, south into Thailand into one of several very large Camps.
Venemore was railed to Tamarkan.  It was from Tamarkan in 1944 that Norm was selected for Japan in what is now known as the ‘Rakuyo Maru’ Party. It would be many months before the POWs actually boarded their ship ‘Rakuyo Maru’ on 6th September 1944.
They were first sent by train via Bangkok to French Indo-China (Vietnam) where it was intended POWs were to be shipped to Japan from Riviere de Saigon at Cape St Jacques (south of Saigon). The Japanese then decided the American submarine blockade made this route too dangerous and POWs were returned by rail to Singapore where they finally arrived on 4th July 1944. Accommodated at River Valley Road Transit Camp he POWs worked excavating the dry dock opposite Pulau Damar Laut known as Jeep Island and other locations waiting for a ship.
Six days after  ‘Rakuyo Maru’ sailed out of Singapore on 12th September 1944; the POWs were desperately trying to remain alive without food or water in the waters of the South China Sea.
Their ship had sunk, many were injured and the Japanese left them to fend for themselves. Only a few men survived long enough to be rescued from the water.
Tragically this young Western Australian farmer lost his life at the age of 28 years.
Further reading about Rakuyo Maru
VENEMORE, Private, NORMAN JAMES, WX9292, A.I.F. 2/4 M.G. Bn., Australian Infantry. 15 September 1944. Age 28. Son of Joseph Munday Venemore and Rosa May Venemore, of Shackleton, Western Australia. Panel 19.
Labuan Memorial, Malaysia.


The above was included in  Norm’s Official WW2 Personnel File.  It is a radio sent message and has been picked up and passed onto his mother (as well as being kept on file).
This was probably the last message Norm’s mother received unless she was fortunate to receive written Red Cross cards sent from POW Camps in Burma.




Norm’s parents Joseph Munday Venemore b. England and Rosa May Goodall b. SA were married Northam 1914.  Norm was their second child and son after Ken- 2 years older followed by sister Jean.


Rosa’s family were residing in Western Australia, however it is not known if Joseph had any family in WA.
Prior to enlisting Norm Venemore was farming at Shackleton, in fact in 1938 was trading with his brother Ken as Venemore Brothers.  When his father died in 1921 aged 37 years, Norm was 5 years old.
Joseph Venemore has 700 acres – 1914.




Norm’s mother Rosa May Goodall remarried in 1923 to Ernst Watson.  Norm had a sister Jean who married in 1940.



Norm was a gifted tennis player and competed in local competitions and in Perth.
He enlisted the same day as Shackleton farmer, Ron Langdon WX9293 of the 2/4th.  The Langdon and Venemore families were well known to each other having farmed at north Shackleton at  Erikin.
The two recruits became drivers with ‘D’ Company.  Langdon died of illness in January 1944 having returned from working on the Burma-Thai Railway.  He died at Sime Road, Singapore aged 32 years.
The young men were honoured by the local population of Shackleton on 17th April 1947.
Height 5′ 8″
Shackleton War Dead April 1947 8




Venemore Norm


Venemore wedding Sunday Times (Perth, WA - 1902 - 1954), Sunday 24 March 1940, page 18 (1)


The above happy family wedding of Elizabeth (Jean) Venemore took place in 1940, with Norm in attendance in the wedding party.




Langdon is also named in Shackleton Tennis Team below.


Camp Locations:

  • River Valley Road Camp - Singapore
  • Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
  • Tamarkan, Tha Makham 56k - Thailand
  • Aungganaung,105Kilo - Burma
  • Kendau, Kandaw, 4 Kilo - Burma
  • Meilo, 75 Kilo, 340k - Burma
  • Saigon - French Indo China
  • Victoria Point, Kawthoung - Burma. \'A\' Force, Green Force No. 3 Btn
  • Thetkaw 14 Kilo - Burma