Indigenous Western Australians who joined 2/4th

There were 8 indigenous men in the Battalion.

  1. CARLYON William WX15785
  2. FLARTY Neave  WX17374
  3. HANSEN Robert WX15736
  4. HILL John WX8756
  5. MORRISON Arthur Edward WX15746
  6. NINYETTE Samuel  WX16417
  7. RALPH Arthur WX20107
  8. RONAN Edward John WX1626




Right:  Bill Carlyon 

Was working at Galena near Ajana, near Northampton when he enlisted.  There were a number of men from this area. Those who survived the battle for Singapore all went with A Force Burma, Green force No. 3 Btn to Burma to work on the northern end of the Burma Thai Railway.  Please read further about this work force.

Also read about the men from Northampton


Carlyon Bill, at home.

Please read further about Bill Carlyon.



Robert Hansen, Bill Carlyon, Jimmy Till J & Les Kemp covered with red dirt in NT prior to sailing to Singapore Feb 1942.  ( Photographer marked Lt Till with a cross for good luck – sadly Till died during battle for Singapore. )




Robert HANSEN WX15736

Please read further about Bob Hansen.

Hansen was one of about 90 men from 2/4th who left their transport ship ‘Aquitania’ anchored off Fremantle 15 Feb 1942 for one night on her journey to Singapore.  These men sailed to Java instead where they were taken POWs of Japan just a few weeks after Singapore fell.  Read further about this incident



 WX16417 Samuel NINYETTE

Samuel Ninyette had 6 children. with his wife Emmeline Francis Jones whom he married at Wagin 17th July 1941.
He died 17th February 1981at  RPH and was buried at Serpentine.
Ninyette was one of more than 90 men from 2/4th who left ‘Aquitania’ when she anchorerd off Fremantle for one night on 15 Feb1942 and sailed for Singapore the following day.

Please read about these men who then sailed to Java.

Please read further about Sam Ninyette who died 17th February 1981 at  RPH and was buried at Serpentine.


It is estimated about 3,000 Indigenous Australians served their country during WW2.  Their experiences were mixed.   On returning to civilian life most found they did not have access to War Service benefits such as those offered and accepted by non indigenous Australians in particular, War Service Loans for housing and War Service Farms.  The opportunities and dreams that possibly urged them to enlist were not available.
Before 1967 indigenous men were denied a drink at the pub with their service mates!
It was acceptable to serve together, however not acceptable to march together on Anzac Day!
There are several stories of incidents with publicans/bar attendants demanding 2/4th indigenous who had gathered with mates for a drink being told they would not be served and to leave the premises. There was outrage and uproar until the publican’s decision was overturned.
These men had not survived 3 1/2 years together incarcerated as POW’s working as slave labourers, working in appalling and dangerous locations, starved, beaten, humiliated, living each day facing illness and injuries with no medication, watching their mates dying like flies to tolerate such appalling bigotry. They each knew the value of life and knew it was precious!
How often had they been there for each other during sickness and times of utter hopelessness?
The majority of former POWs remained a tight-knit group attending services and having a drink after.  Of course they each wanted to get on and live their lives, but for many that was a dream only.




WX8756 John HILL

The only indigenous soldier who did not return was Lance Corporal John Hill of ‘B’ Coy who died 11th March 1943. 
On 14th February 1942 John HIll was wounded in action at Pasir Panjang.  With gunshot wounds to his left arm and head John Hill managed to drive his Bren gun carrier with his wounded and dead crew members to an aid post.  On 16th February Lance Corporal Hill was admitted to 2/13th Australian General Hospital.
Hill was soon moved to Selarang Barracks where he faced a slow recovery.  Hospitals to deal with the large numbers of battle casualties had been set up here.
He was later sent to Adam Park where he was sent out on work parties.
In late February 1943, John Hill was admitted to hospital with dysentery. On 11th March 1943 John Hill died at the Australian General Hospital at Roberts Barracks, Changi, from mycotoxicosis, diphtheria and acute but resolving bacillary dysentery. On Japanese orders his body was cremated and buried on 11 March.
The funeral service for Lance Corporal John Hill, aged 31 years was conducted by Chaplain G. Polain of 2/26th Battalion.
A member of the Wardandi Nation, John Hill was born in Fremantle, 1 January 1912, to Arthur and Margaret Hill.  John was the eldest of nine children. The Hill family lived in a weatherboard cottage called “Snake Gully” in Busselton. John and his 3 brothers  during free family time would go fishing with their father.
As young men, John and Roy saved to purchase a Chevrolet truck which they successfully sought contracting work and wheat carting in the wheat-belt area.
When war broke out John and two of his brothers enlisted.  John on  23rd October 1940 into the Second Australian Imperial Force, Roy enlisted with Royal Australian Air Force and Harold with the Royal Australian Navy where he joined the crew of HMAS Perth.
When HMAS Perth sunk Harold too became a POW of the Japanese.  In October 1942 Harold passed through Singapore on his journey to Burma-Thai Railway.  Sadly the two brothers did not meet.
Harold and Roy survived the war to return home.
Roy Hill became a pilot and officer in Bomber Command.  He served in Britain with the RAF flying Lancasters.
Changi Changi
Changi Cemetery where John Hill was originally buried.
The original cross was collected and taken back to Western Australia by John Hill’s mates.    It was later donated to AWM, Canberra.
The Last Post Ceremony is presented in the Commemorative area of the Australian War Memorial each day. The ceremony commemorates more than 102,000 Australians who have given their lives in war and other operations and whose names are recorded on the Roll of Honour. At each ceremony the story behind one of the names on the Roll of Honour is told. Hosted by Richard Cruise, the story for 22 September 2016 was (WX8756) Lance Corporal John Hill, 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion, 2nd AIF, Second World War.  John Hill’s photograph was displayed beside the Pool of Reflection. Watch a recording of the ceremony courtesy of the Australian War Memorial.

Below: is the wooden cross made for John Hill and brought back to Australia by his 2/4th mates.





WX15746 Arthur Morrison

Arthur’s nickname was ‘Snow White’ – nothing to do with his skin colour – please read further.





WX17374  Neave FLARTY

Sadly very little is known of Neave.  HE died in Queensland in 30 January 1980.  He was 57years old and buried Collinsville Cemetery, Collinsville, Whitsunday Region, Queensland, Australia.   You can read further information about Neave. 
Should any family and/or persons with knowledge are able to provide information can you please contact us Email:



Rear L-R T.Allen & H.Wilkes
Front L-R M.Wilkins, T.Gough & N.Flarty



WX20107 Arthur RALPH remained at Singapore throughout the war,  He dislocated ligaments in right knee on 12/2/1942 and evacuated to Alexandra Hospital until end of hostilities. Discharged to unit on 22/2/1942.

12 Aug 42 AGH beri beri.

14 Mar 1943 admitted AGH encephalitis  discharged 20 Mar 1943, admitted with dysentery 25 Mar 1943 discharged 31 Mar 1943.  Arthur missed working parties to the Railway Line due to illness.  He was sent with a  work party sent to Blakang Mati Island 5 Nov 43, where living conditions were reasonable however Japanese brutality and punishments were frequent and work conditions tough.  Please read further about Arthur Ralph



Ted Ronan and his mate Edgar Pell



Right:  Ted Ronan.  He  died April 1991 Busselton aged 73 years where he resided with his wife Phyllis.  You can read further about Ted and his family