Abergavenney & District War Memorial, Wales

WX8798 BIGGS,Guy Percival  born 17 August 1905 Monmouth, Wales and sailed to Western Australia in 1924 aged 19 years.  He enlisted 23 October 1940 and joined 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion ‘B’ Company as a Driver.  He died of illness Burma August 1943.

Following the Fall of Singapore on 15 February 1942  Guy became POW of Japan at Selarang, Singapore.  He was selected to work on Thai-Burma railway with ‘A’ Force Burma Green Force No. 3 Battalion on the Burma end of the railway.

Please read further about Guy Biggs.

Guy died of cardiac beri beri, dysentery and tropical ulcers at Khonkan Camp Hospital, 55km in Burma 21 August 1943 aged 39 years.  Khonkan Camp had been especially designated by the Japanese as a so-called hospital camp, however there were no medical facilities nor medicines to be found.  The Japanese appointed ‘Bertie’ Coates as head of this ‘hospital’.  Lt-Col Albert Coates A.A.M.C. was so ill when he arrived, to visit patients he had to be carried around on ‘Burmese style stretcher-bed’ made by POWS.

Guy Biggs had worked as a miner at remote Wiluna since at least 1936 (Electoral Roll) until he enlisted 23 October 1940. Although remote, Wiluna in 1930’s was a bustling mining town with a population of 9,000 people.  It had a hospital, 4 or 5 doctors and 4 to 5 hotels with a regular train service to Perth.   (WX17737 Kenneth Moher was also from Wiluna.  He was a Baker with his brother Gilbert James Moher.  Moher went to Burma with Green Force No. 3 Battalion, departing Singapore 14 May 1942 to work on the railway.   He too died at Khonkan 55km Camp of amoebic dysentery on 24 July 1943 aged 28 years.  Although Moher enlisted November 1941 and joined ‘E’ Company, there is no doubt the men would have known each other if not prior to war but certainly from the time they became POWs.)

Moher was buried Grave No. 27 Khonkan when he died 24 July 1943, and Biggs died 21 August 1943 and buried Grave No. 61 Khonkan.

Biggs joined 2/4th  and was a Driver with ‘B’ Company with Headquarters initially training at Northam Army Camp.  He later went to South Australia and Northern Territory for further training, before sailing to Singapore in January 1942.  The 2/4th Battalion were only weeks in Singapore before the Japanese invasion.  They lost many lives before being taken POWs of Japan.

It is indicative of the sense of a close-knit community recognising the Welsh born Guy Biggs on their war memorial.  His farming family would have been there for generations, and probably his father and brothers living when he died.  His mother died in 1933.



*** See below, Jones A.W.

Read further about the misery of Khonkan 55km Camp.


WX7234 Jones, Ivor William enlisted 1 August 1940, joined ‘D’ Company was born 28 September 1900 Abergavenney, Monmouthshire, Wales.
His parents were also farmers – 1911 Census his widowed mother Ada Jones with her 3 sons, including 10 year old Ivor, farmed at Crom Farm, Walterstone, Near Abergavenney, Hereford, England – near to border of Wales.
Ivor Jones 25 years and younger brother Artis William Jones 21 years arrived Fremantle on ‘Orama’ 26 August 1926.  When he enlisted, Ivor was a fireman at Laverton and Artis was living at Meckering.  Ivor Jones died November 1943 with ‘F’ Force at Kami Sonkurai.  Artis died as a POW in Germany in 1945 having joined 2/11th AIF.

Please read further about Ivor Jones

***Included on the above WW2 Memorial is Ivor’s younger brother:
  • Jones, Artis Walter, Private WX331. Died 04/04/1945 aged 39. Australian Infantry, 2/11th Btn. Mentioned in Despatches. Buried Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Son of William and Ada Jones of Abergavenny.