The Soldier's Details

First Name:
Nick Name:
Staff Sergeant (Promoted 11.2.1942)
Regimental #:
‘D’ Company Headquarters (transferred from No. 13 Platoon)
Place of Birth:
Boulder, Western Australia
Father's Name:
Richard Cody
Mothers's Name:
Mabel Cody
Roman Catholic
Pre-war Occupation:
Selarang Camp Changi
‘ A’ Force Burma, Green Force, No. 3 Battalion
Camps Thailand:
Tamarkan Hospital Camp No. 2 (4.4.1944), Chungkai, Kachu Mountain Camp, Nakom Nayok, Lopburi (see Danny Bevis Diary)
Camps Burma:
Reptu 30km and Khonkan 55km Hospital Camps, Victoria Point, Tavoy, Ye, Thanbuzayat, 4.8km, 14km, 75km, 105km
Return Details 1945:
Thailand‐Singapore by aircraft, Singapore‐Fremantle, HMT Circassia.

General Description

Cody enlisted AIF December 1940 and later joined 2/4th MGB’s 13 Platoon under Commanding Officer Lt. Wankey.  He was promoted 11 Feb 1942 to Staff Sergeant ‘D’ Coy HQ, under CO Major Cough.  Please read further
‘D’ Coy was located to north-west coast of Singapore in support of one of two Australian Brigades – 22nd Brigade under Brig. Taylor with 2/19th,  2/18th and 2/20th Battalions.   ‘D’ Coy’s HQ was set up just south of Ama Keng village, near to 22nd Brigade HQ.  ‘
‘D’ Coy machine gunners were set up right on the swampy coastline, digging into sand dunes – it was a lonely time for these men in their machine gun pits, working during the nights and hiding during the day to avoid Japanese war planes and reconnaissance flights.    This Australian defence line was so thinly manned.
Les was wounded at Buona Vista during fighting of 15 February 1942, fortunate to survive as many 2/4th were KIA. Admitted to Field Ambulance with shrapnel would to his right thigh he was transferred to 13 AGH 16 February 1942.
He was discharged to his Unit on 28 March 1942.
As a POW at Singapore Les left with the first work party ‘A’ Force Burma Green Force No. 3 Battalion which sailed to the south-west coast of Burma.  Several months later the POWs made their way from repairing and enlarging airfields to the northern most point of the Railway – the Burma end.
Please read further about ‘A’ Force Burma Green Force No. 3 Battalion



After the war Cody joined the Commonwealth War Graves Party under the command of Captain J. Leemon.

c. October 1945. Group portrait of three "A" Force members of the War Graves Commission survey party whose task was to locate POW cemeteries and grave sites along the Burma-Thailand railway. They also took the opportunity to recover equipment and documents which had been secretly buried, under instructions from senior POW officers, in the graves of deceased POWs. Left to Right; standing; Sergeant (Sgt) Jack Sherman, 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion, Acting Warrant Officer Class 2 Les Cody, 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion; seated: Sgt T. Lee, B Division Provost Company.


Warrant Officer Leslie Cody, 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion, an ex-prisoner of war and member of the War Graves Commission survey party, lays paybooks and other documents out to dry after their recovery from the graves of prisoners of war at a camp on the Burma–Thailand railway, September 1945. AWM P00761.046


Read the story of Norman Fraser


Fairbridge 2001
Fairbridge 2001


Back Row L-R: Jim Burns, John Lane, Jim Elliott, Cowboy Matthews, Frank Evans, Alf Worth, Trevor James, Wally Lynn, Les Cody, Owen Morris
Front Row L-R: Greg Burdon, Ron Badock, Des Coleves, Jim Gilmour, Joe Pearce.Back Row L-R: Jim Burns, John Lane, Jim Elliott, Cowboy Matthews, Frank Evans, Alf Worth, Trevor James, Wally Lynn, Les Cody, Owen Morris


Les Cody is author of “Ghosts in Khaki” – The History of the 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion which was published in 1997.
An excellent book written by a former POW who was there!
Les includes the personalities of so many men, the Aussie larrikins; and personalises stories.
This book is one of three specifically written about 2/4th.    Murray Ewen’s detailed “Colour Patch” and “To Hell-fire, Purgatory and Back” by Ian Saggers.  He used his father Major A.E. Sagger’s own secret diaries.   There are other books written by former 2/4th – about their own personal experience.
Les was an active member of 2/4th MG Battalion Ex-Members Assoc and with his wife attended social events.
He is represented every year by several grandchildren at the Anzac Day March.
Ron Badock, Dick Ridgwell & John Gilmour with grandsons of Les Cody
Ron Badock, Dick Ridgwell & John Gilmour with grandsons of Les Cody
Les passed away aged 83yrs, February 4 2002, at Karrinyup, WA.
Listen to the oral history interview of Les recorded in Singapore March 2000
Les Cody, The West 02 25 2002
Les Cody, The West 02 25 2002


Les was selected in Singapore to work on the Burma end of the Railway with ‘A’ Force Burma Green Force No. 3 Battalion.    The 3,000 men of ‘A’ Force sailed from Singapore to Burma.  Victoria Point was the first work camp where they spent months repairing and improving the airfield.  The POWs then went to Tavoy and Ye before heading to Thanbyuzat and to the head of the railway to commence work.   Their first camp was Kendau 4.8 km, Thetkaw 14km, Meiloe 75km, Aungganaung 105km before being evacuated sick to Thanbyuzat on 2 May 1943 from Meiloe.  From Thanbyuzat he was evacuated to 8km Wegale due to Allied bombing of the Thanbyuzat hospital.
Les also spent time sick at 30km Reptu hospital Camp (from where he was sent to Ankannan Camp on 11 Sept 1943) and Khonkan 55 km hospital Camp.
He was returned to 105km Aungganaung Camp before all the POWs were evacuated  south to Thailand when the railway was completed.  He was hospitalised at Tamarkan 4 April 1944.
Having improved a little he was then sent to Chungkai from where he was selected in early 1945 with a work party to go to Kachu Mountain Camp.  From here he was sent to Nakom Nayok and Lopburi Camps before the war ended.


The Cody family would have been excited to receive this news of Les in 1943.
Les died in 2002, Perth.



Camp Locations:

  • Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
  • Chungkai, 60k - Thailand
  • Lopburi - Thailand
  • Nakom Nayok, Nakhon Nayok - Thailand
  • Tamarkan, Tha Makham 56k - Thailand
  • Aungganaung,105Kilo - Burma
  • Kendau, Kandaw, 4 Kilo - Burma
  • Khonkan, 55Kilo Hospital 360k - Burma
  • Meilo, 75 Kilo, 340k - Burma
  • Reptu, Retphaw, 30Kilo 385k - Burma
  • Tavoy (Dawei) - river port - Burma
  • Thanbyuzayat, 415k - Burma
  • Ye - Burma
  • Kachau Mountain Camp - Thailand
  • Victoria Point, Kawthoung - Burma. \'A\' Force, Green Force No. 3 Btn
  • Thetkaw 14 Kilo - Burma