WX13421 Ronald Clifford BECKHAM – 16 YEAR OLD STOWED AWAY TO SINGAPORE 17 APRIL 1941

WX13421 Ronald Clifford BECKHAM, aged 16 years had stowed away on a transport 17 April 1941 to Singapore. He wanted to join his father who had gone to the Middle East.

 

On 21 March 1941 his father Rueben Beckham  had embarked from Middle East for return to Australia due to ill health.
On arrival in Malaysia Ronald Beckham was charged, admonished then allocated Service No. WX13421. He was Taken on Strength with HQ AIF Australian Base Ordnance and later transferred to 4th Anti Tank Regiment.
Following capitulation at Singapore and on 2 March 1942 POW Beckham was transferred to 2/4th MGB.  He remained mostly at Singapore but was included in ‘H’ Force Work Party to Burma-Thai Railway.  He survived working in Thailand and returned to Singapore.  He was recovered from Changi and the end of the war.
As a 15 year old Ron Beckham attempted to enlist.  His age was discovered and he was discharged.
Beckham’s mother had no clue what had happened to her eldest son until a Japanese Postcard arrived Sept 1943 notifying her he was a POW and being well looked after.

 

 

Reuben Thomas Beckham b. 29 Nov 1899 Liverpool, England  enlisted at Subiaco 7 Nov 1939 aged 39 years and 11 months, his then occupation was labourer and his wife Olive Vera Beckham was residing Clotilde Street, East Perth.
His Service Number was WX1442 and was to serve with the 6th Division AAMC .
Reuben recorded previous military service was with 1st Wales Borderers in France and Belgium.
When Beckham arrived Gaza Ridge Hospital he was ill with tonsilitis.  Prior to this he had been hospitalised once or twice.   He later suffered appendicitis.  On 21 March 1941, Beckham embarked at Middle East for return to Australia.  He was discharged due to ill health on 1 Sept 1941.

Below:  Gaza Ridge AGH 1941.

 

Reuben Beckham died 2 Feb 1992 whist residing 24 Almuta St, Nollamara.