The Soldier's Details

First Name:
Herbert William
Nick Name:
Regimental #:
'A' Company
Place of Birth:
Perth, Western Australia
Father's Name:
Herbert William Heal
Mothers's Name:
Elizabeth Heal (nee Weir)
Pre-war Occupation:
Hotel Yardman
Thanbyuzayat War Cemetery, Plot A16, Row E, Grave 2, Age 33.
Selarang Camp and Barracks Changi
'F' Force Thailand
Cause of Death:
Beri-Beri and Dysentery
Place of Death:
Tanbaya Hospital Camp Burma
Date of Death:
Grave No. 737, Tanbaya

General Description

Bert enlisted 30 Oct 1940 and joined 2/4th’s ‘A’ Coy.   As a POW  at Singapore he was selected to work on Burma-Thai Railway with ‘F’ Force Thailand which departed by trains beginning 16 May 1943.
‘F’ Force was to endure a tortuous and horrific journey to Thailand to their first work camp, and then conditions did not improve.  The POWs were forced to march the entire journey to their northern Thai Camps.
Please read further about ‘F’ Force

Below:  2/4th’s ‘F’ Force – list compiled by Harold Cowie.


The majority of POWs who made up ‘F’ Force had been former patients and/or older soldiers.  It is probable Bertie had been hospitalised prior to this selection and many POWs had been ill, hospitalised or recently released to their Units.
Bert was evacuated from the railway line to Tanbaya Hospital Camp in Burma where he died of beri beri and dysentery on 22 Dec 1944 aged 33 years.  Funeral service conducted by Chaplain Duckworth (British Army).
By December 1943 ‘F’ Force survivors were returning to Changi, Singapore.  Their time on the rail link was not long, but they endured needless deaths because of long hours & primitive working conditions, appalling camp conditions and starvation amidst dreadful tropical illnesses and withheld medicines.

Read further about Tanbaya Camp

Below:  the Heal family receive a card from Bert bringing relief and happiness.

Please read about other families who received POW Cards


Above:  notice of Bertie’s g.grandfather at York 1909.


Herbert’s parents Herbert William Heal b. 1882 York and Elizabeth Weir married about 1910 Perth.  Bert was eldest of three children. He had brother Stewart and sister Betty.


Above:  Happy family days in 1929 Bert’s younger brother Stewart celebrates his 17th Birthday!
Bert has interests in yachting and side-car racing at Claremont Oval.

Below:  We are unsure which Bert this is – father or son!


Below:  Herbert William Head (Snr) died in 1939.


In 1934  and 1937 Electoral Rolls show Bertie residing Moorgate Street, Victoria Park with his parents – working as a clerk.  Before he enlisted, Bert had moved to Toodyay and was employed as  yardman.
There was a farewell party for Bert and his mates at the Newcastle Hotel at Toodyay






Camp Locations:

  • Selarang Barracks Changi - Singapore
  • Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
  • Tanbaya, 362k - Burma