The Soldier's Details

Surname:
Bartlett
First Name:
Michael Arthur
Rank:
Private
Regimental #:
WX9361
Classification:
Driver
Company:
‘C’ Company Headquarters
Enlisted:
2.11.1940
DOB:
16.04.1917
Place of Birth:
Albany, Western Australia
Father's Name:
Michael Bartlett
Mothers's Name:
Mary Baker Bartlett (nee Muir)
Religion:
Church of England
Pre-war Occupation:
Farmhand
Memorial:
Kanchanaburi War Cemetery, Plot 1, Row K, Grave 47, Age 28.
Singapore:
Selarang Camp Changi, Johore Bahru, Adam Park , Selerang Barracks Changi
Force:
‘D’ Force Thailand S Battalion
POW#:
3/6887 & 8754
Cause of Death:
Beri-Beri and Dysentery
Place of Death:
Tarsau
Date of Death:
7.12.1943
Buried:
454 No. 2 Cemetery, Tarsau.

General Description

Michael enlisted with AIF 2 November 1940 aged 25 years.  He later joined 2/4th’s ‘C’ Company Headquarters as a driver under Commanding Officer Capt Colin Cameron.  ‘C’ Coy’s Second in Command, Capt ‘Jack’ Thompson was taken by the Japanese with several other 2/4th soldiers on 16 Feb 1942, the day after capitulation.  They were never seen again and its was assumed they were executed.
We believe Michael was working as a farmhand in the Mt Barker district when he enlisted.
At Singapore he worked at Jahore Bahru and was moved to Adam Park Camp and then back to Selarang Barracks, Singapore, Michael was selected with ‘D’ Force S Battalion to work on Thai-Burma Railway.  He departed by train on a horror 4 day and night trip to Thailand on 14 March 1943.  The Battalion departed by train in Singapore for Thailand on 14 May 1943.
‘D’ Force S Battalion included the largest number of men from the 2/4th than any other work force. Please read further.
After arriving at Non Pladuk, Thailand,  Michael’s group was trucked to Tarsau where they worked for several weeks.  Tarsau was in fact the HQ camp for ‘D’ Force.  The group was then moved to Konyu II to work near the Hellfire Pass cutting.  The work conditions here were terribly hard, cutting in the rock face, using hammer and tap, avoiding explosives.  The heat of working in white-rock cutting was intense.  The men worked long hours and the Japanese were brutal.  Many men became sick with tropical diseases and ulcers mostly on the lower legs caused by flying rock splints.  Cholera broke out.
200 men from S Battalion were sent to assist the Work Forces working at Hintock Road Camp.  We cannot be absolutely sure  about where Michael worked because men were often pulled out of groups to work at nearby projects for a week, 2 weeks, then returned. Records were not kept on their movements, only when the men were sick and these records were kept by the medical officers. S Battalion however, remained working around Kanyu II, Kinsaiyok and Hintok area. Michael would have been evacuated sick to Tarsau hospital where he died, he would have been accompanied by other men from 2/4th.
Initially he was buried at Tarsau however after the war his body was laid to rest at Kanchanaburi War cemetery with 91 mates from the 2/4th.
Michael’s parents Michael Bartlett (Snr) born Yambuk, Victoria 1879 married 1914 to Mary Baker Muir, born 1886 Albany.

 

The Bartlett’s had a family of four children, Michael, Andrew, Noel and Winnifred and resided at  Mt Barker, where Michael (Snr) was in partnership with another butcher.
Michael was one of four children.  He was the second of three sons and one daughter Winifred May who married 1941 to Ronald James Sprigg.
Michael’s older brother Andy was killed in a motor cycle accident in Albany in 1937.
Brother Noel Muir was born 1926.
When Michael (Snr) died unexpectedly in 1927 Albany he left May Bartlett widowed with four children, Michael was 10 years old and youngest Noel was about 12 months.
May’s life ahead would have been challenging. There was no widow’s benefits or social welfare.
We have received information May Bartlett at some time worked as a housekeeper for Frank Squire at Mt Barker.

 

 

 

 

 

Above: Andrew Robert Bartlett, brother to Michael, tragically died in a motor cycle accident in 1937.
It is no known when the Bartlett family received official confirmation of Michael’s death in 1943 as a POW.

Above:  Mary Bartlett, mother of Michael (Jnr) died 9 June 1949. Michael and Mary Bartlett were buried at Mt. Barker.

 

Detailed newspaper report of Michael Bartlett’s parents 1914

Camp Locations:

  • Adam Park Camp - Singapore
  • Johore Bahru, - Malaysia
  • Selarang Barracks Changi - Singapore
  • Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
  • Tarsau, Tha Sao 125k - Thailand
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