2/4th MGB’s ‘B’ Company, 8 Platoon
20 of the 50 men would not return home to Australia

Many of these men were from Goldfields.

Commanding Officer: WX3707 Lt. G.C. MacKinnon

Platoon Sergeant: 2 I/C  WX8809 Sgt R H Sandilands  – KIA Mandai Road 11 Feb 1942 (below)

Tragically 2 I/C Sgt Richard (Dick) Sandiland’s death was one of several from Platoon 8 who on 11 Feb 1942 lost their lives while retreating from West Mandai Road.  Raymond Carruthers, Don Day and Ronald Smith also lost their lives.
Please go to story of ‘Jocka’ Skelton to read details of Platoon 8’s actions  during the battle for Singapore.



WX9336 Cpl J Gorringe

WX4991 L/Sgt E E Hambley

WX7777 Cpl A M Draper
WX10095 Cpl John Fredcerick Helsin – perished from ‘Rakuyo’ Maru 12 Sept 1944 South China Sea. John Helsin was an only son born to his father John Helsin (Snr) who died in WW1.
WX10802 Cpl Noel James Outrim – died illness 22 Nov 1944 Kinsaiyok Camp, Burma-Thai Railway, Thailand. Tragically Noel died at Kinsaiyok Camp exactly one month later on 22 October 1944.  Noel’s name is included on the Mundaring WWII Memorial, along with Arnold Vivian Cousins and Alex A.J. Colquhoun.  Please read further.

Below:  John Helsin and Noel Outtrim



WX7370 C W Armstrong

WX8279 R C Badock (Capt Harris Party)

WX8766 L/Cpl Harold Vernon Booth – died illness Sumatran Railway 15 Apr 1945Please read further about Sumatran Railway. Below:  Booth

WX7333 A J Burns

WX7316 C J Burns

WX15690 John Murray Carr – died illness 23 Jul 1943 Tarsau Hospital Camp, Burma-Thai Railway, Thailand,  Below:  John Carr

WX2325 Raymond Francis Carruthers – KIA near Mandai Road 11 Feb 1942 with Sandilands, Don Day and Rob Smith. Below:  Carruthers

WX8792 W T (Bill) Castles Cpl, Scout

WX16369 A J Cocking rescued from South China Seas following sinking of ‘Rakuyo’ Maru sinking Sept 1944.
WX7268 F V Crossrescued from South China Seas following sinking of transport ship ‘Rakuyo’ Maru Sept 1944.

WX8735 J G Curtin

WX8778 L J Daily

WX7240 Donald Alexander (known as Do-Dah) Day – KIA 11 Feb 1942 West Mandai Road with Sandilands, Carruthers and Rob Smith.

WX7236  Charles Henry Dunn – died Sandakan, Borneo 21 May 1945.
WX7266 George Henry Edwards – died Sandakan, Borneo  23 Mar 1945
Below:  Charlie Dunn and George Edwards

WX10803 Thomas Rantoul Fotheringham – died Sandakan-Ranau Track, Borneo 7 June 1945.  Below:  Tom Fotheringham was mate to Tommy Lewis and regular visitor to the Lewis family home.  Tom was also mate of Wheelock.  Tom Fotheringham came to WA as a two year old from England with his parents who first settled as Group Settlers in WA’s south west.

WX10378 C W (Bill) Gray

WX8739 T K Jenkins

WX9139 L F Hadden (Capt Harris Party)

WX10370 Douglas Charles John Hall – died illness 21 May 1944 Roberts Barracks Hospital, Singapore having returned with ‘H’ Force from Burma-Thai Railway.  (Photo below)
WX8747 William Harrison Hall  (known as Nobby) – died 17 Jul 1943 with ‘H’ Force at Kanu II – Malayan Hamlet, Thailand.  Nobby was 42 years old when he died of beri beri, cerebral malaria and cholera. His body was not cremated and after the war moved to rest at Kanchanaburi War Cemetery.  He is one of 91 men from the 2/4th.  Please read further.
Below:  Doug Hall and Welsh born Right William Harrison (Nobby) Hall


WX8756 L/Cpl J Hill – died illness 11 Mar 1943 Changi, Singapore.  Below:  John Hill.  His original headstone from Singapore was brought back to Australia by his mates and is now with AWM.

WX8813 L/Cpl T M Jackson

WX8370 T K Jenkins

WX7230 L H Lee

WX8689 L/Cpl H C S MacMaster – with ‘D’ Force Thailand S Battalion, died beri beri Tarsau Camp, Thailand.  Below:  Scots born Hector MacMaster from Kalgoorlie who delighted the boys playing his bagpipes.

WX6173 O Morris

WX7181 Charles  Mutton – left Singapore with ‘A’ Force Burma,  Green Force No. 3 Battalion to work at Burma end of Burma-Thai railway.  He survived and was selected fit  by Japanese to work in Japan. He perished when ‘Rakuyo’ Maru sank 12 Sep 1944 South China Sea.  Below:  Charles (Chas) Mutton

WX5220 H F Neilson

WX7331 C W Robertson

WX10164 Douglas Norman Russell  (known as Rusty) – left Singapore with ‘A’ Force Burma Green Force No. 3 Battalion to work on the Burma end of the Railway.  He died aged 28 years of cerebral malaria on 21 Jan 1944  Augganaung 105 Camp Hospital, Burma-Thai Railway, Burma. Russell was a former Scotch College Student.  He was working as a bank clerk when he enlisted.
Below:  Doug Russell

WX8734 C Ryan

WX6682 J B ‘Jocka’ Skelton went to Burma Thai Railway with ‘D’ Force S Battalion.
Below:  Tragically larrikin Jocka drowned in a boating accident off Rottnest in 1956 aged 40 years leaving his widowed wife to look after two young children.  He was a SP Bookmaker and was known for telling entertaining stories of his Fremantle days to POWs in Singapore and Burma-Thai Railway.  He also ran betting races for the POWs – flies or ants or anything to crawl!

WX8736 Sgt Robert Leighton Smith  (known as Bob/Blucher and Spud to his family). He enlisted from Grass Patch with his mate  Tom Starcevich who won a VC.    KIA Mandai Road Hill 11 Feb1942 with Sandilands, Carruthers and Don Day.   Brother to Tom Smith below.

Bob’s brother Tom, was also in 8th Platoon.  Younger brother Tom went with ‘E’ Force to Borneo, died of Pulmonary Tuberculosis and Beri-Beri December 1944 aged 32 years.
Parents Thomas William Smith born 1874 Victoria married 1904 Bendigo to Sarah Jane Leighton who was born 1885 Victorian goldfields.  Tom and Sarah moved to Norseman where their seven children were born, one daughter and six sons. Another three sons enlisted:
James Henry born 1914 WX13475 – also 2/28th survived the same crossing September 1943 at Busu River by being pulled across by a mate who was a stronger swimmer.  He RTA.
Leonard Richard born 1916  WX26648 – Enlisted Dandarragin, also with 2/28th survived the war and RTA.
Edward John (Ted) born 1918 – WX11520 2/28th Battalion, died 9 September 1943, Busu River, New Guinea. Ted was one of 13 soldiers ‘missing’ at the Busu River crossing. Being a Goldfield’s boy he was unable to swim and was swept away. His body was never found.
Bob’s father Thomas William died 20 March 1920 at Wooroloo aged 46 years.  There was a Sanatorium at Coolgardie for TB Patients however it closed about this time and patients with silicosis were relocated  to Wooroloo.   The Coolgardie Sanatorium had been the first in Western Australia to treat TB Patients.
WX8731 Thomas Ernest Smith – died illness 18 Dec 1944 Sandakan. Below: Thomas Ernest Smith known as Tom to his family and Jerry to the Battalion (i.e. Tom and Jerry)
Please read further story of the Smith family and Tom’s mother Sarah for a more detailed history of this family.









WX8776 L P Walsh

WX8753 J L Wheelock

Reinforcements: (Joined 2/4th on board ‘Aquitania’ Gage Roads, Fremantle, 15 February 1942)

WX14634 W G H Anderson

WX17997 H M Holland

WX17636 Harold William Holland – died 15 June 1945 SandakanRanau Track, Borneo. Below:  ‘Snowy” Holland from ‘E’ Force Borneo.


WX14197 R W Dick Ridgwell

WX16427 D C Robertson

WX17879 G J Wade

WX13161 L/Cpl H E Wright – died illness  5 Oct 1943 Kuii Camp Burma-Thai Railway, Thailand was with ‘D’ Force V Battalion.  Below:  Reinforcement Teddy Wright was originally from Dumbleyung.

Please see photo of 8 Platoon (tapping on the actual photo awill enlarge the picture)

Read further about Capt Harris Party


Above:  8 Platoon members From rear left R E Carruthers, D N Russell, G H Edwards, J A Taylor (A Coy HQ)  and L H Lee.


The following has been researched and written by Ron Pimm on behalf of Jocka Skelton family.  Pimm has used ‘Colour Patch’ by Murray Ewen for much of his reference.