The Soldier's Details

First Name:
Bernard Patrick
Nick Name:
Regimental #:
Headquarters Company, No. 3 Platoon
Place of Birth:
Geraldton, Western Australia
Father's Name:
Patrick Doolan
Mothers's Name:
Ellen 'Nellie' Hilda Doolan (nee Heenan)
Roman Catholic
Pre-war Occupation:
Truck Driver
Selarang Camp Changi
‘A’ Force Burma, Green Force No. 3 Battalion
Camps Thailand:
Tamarkan, Chungkai, Non Pladuk, Kachu Mountain Camp, Petchaburi, Nacompaton, Nakom Nayok.
Return Details 1945:
Thailand-Singapore by aircraft, Singapore-Fremantle HMT Circassia

General Description

Doolan enlisted AIF 30 July 1940 later joining 2/4th MGB’s Headquarters Company No. 3 Platoon as Pioneer Sergeant under Capt. Phelps and Lt. O’Sullivan.
Les Cody author of ‘Ghosts in Khaki’ wrote of Doolan.
30th January 1942
‘We got our ear plugs today! Not officially:
For efficient official administrative staff work – substitute opportunism and Barney Doolan.  Nobody in the Battalion had a greater capacity for reorganising an opportunity and exploiting it to the full than Barney, our legendary Pioneer Sergeant.
..….Sitting outside the camp gates in the early evening with Viv Keay, passing the time of day with locals, they got into a conversation with a couple of British civilians employed at the Naval Base.  As they were trying to digest another bully beef meal, it was inevitable that the conversation centred around food and resulted in an invitation to a meal at the naval Base the next eveningWhen the civilian let drop that the stores he was controlling included ordnance spares, Barney zeroed in ………… ‘clearing plugs for machine guns?’

‘Yes, plenty replied the civvy’

…………An appointment for the next morning was arranged.  By Lunch time Barney had been, seen and appropriated enough clearing plugs for the Battalion, plus a load of other hard to get equipment.  The Battalion was now ready for action, whatever form it would take.’

Tragically Viv Keay died at Sandakan in 1945.


Back row L-R E. Preedy, J. Heffernan, J. Holt, Bluey Smith, Lin Powell, R Kelt, 2nd row - Tom Firns, H. Elkins,Scotty McEwan, Front row - Darkie Rennie, Unknown, R Newling, J. Quinn, Barney Doolan

Back row L-R E. Preedy, J. Heffernan, J. Holt, Bluey Smith, Lin Powell, R Kelt, 2nd row – Tom Firns, H. Elkins,Scotty McEwan, Front row – Darkie Rennie, Unknown, R Newling, J. Quinn, Barney Doolan
Selected with ‘A’ Force  Burma Green Force No. 3 to work on the Burma end of the Railway, Bernie Doolan with at the following Camps:
Victoria Point
Non Pladuk
Nakom Nayok
He was recovered from Kachu Mountain Camp at war’s end.
Please read Flanigan’s War Affidavit
It was at Kachu Mountain Camp in 1945, that Doolan was savagely beaten by Japanese guard ‘The Gobbler’ for supposedly handing out incorrect tools to POWs before starting out to work.  The attack lasted several minutes, he was beaten about the head and face by Gobbler’s fist then with his stick leaving Doolan with severe lacerations to his head and face.

(recorded in Flanigan’s War Trial Affadavit)

‘Barney’ Doolan died Carlyle 13 July 1999. Radiance died in 1961.



Doolan married about 1931 at Geraldton to Radiance Pearson.  Both Barney and Pearson were born in Geraldton. They continued to reside in Geraldton until Barney enlisted, and he returned to Geraldton after the war.

We believe they had one son, Michael.

Barney moved to live in Perth in the 1950s.  Electoral Rolls show he had changed occupation – cabinet making, and in 1972 was a carpenter employed at Bentley Institute of Technology prior to moving to Carlisle.



Above: Barney’s father Patrick Doolan died in 1951.


Camp Locations:

  • Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
  • Chungkai, 60k - Thailand
  • Nacompaton, Nakom Pathom Hospital - Thailand
  • Nakom Nayok, Nakhon Nayok - Thailand
  • Non Pladuk, 0k - Thailand
  • Petchaburi - Thailand
  • Tamarkan, Tha Makham 56k - Thailand
  • Kachau Mountain Camp - Thailand