HOW DID AN AUSTRALIAN SOLDIER & FORMER POW OF JAPAN TOM DAVISON OF 2/4th MGB have his name inscribed on WW2 Memorial, BUDE, CORNWALL?
BUDE, CORNWALL WW2 MEMORIAL – WX7804 DAVISON, THOMAS MEDLAND (TOM)
2/4TH MACHINE GUN BATTALION, 8TH DIVISION AIF
Below: Bude located on the north west coast of Cornwall.
Tom Davison was born London 1908 to parents Augustus Harry Davidson and Bessie Mabel Medland who married 1907 in Cornwall. Bessie Mabel Medland was born in Cornwall 1880. She died at Stratton, Cornwall in 1969 aged 89 years. In 1911 Census the family were residing Wandsworth London where Tom’s father was a jeweller/dealer – there were then two young sons – Thomas (3) and Ken (12 months). Sister Kathleen was born 1912.
Bessie Davison returned to Cornwall with her three children. We can find no further information about Tom’s father.
Tom Davison spent his formative years residing at Bude.
He arrived in Fremantle, Western Australia from London on ‘Orama’ 6 April 1926 as a 17 year old and without his family. His London address was c/- Mrs Simmonds, 32 Becmead Avenue, Smeaton S.W. 16 with his occupation recorded as warehouseman. Had Tom had returned to London to work, or was he was staying in London whilst waiting to sail to Australia? We do not know.
When Tom enlisted with AIF 10 August 1940 he had been working at Comet Gold Mine, Marble Bar – one of the hottest (and remote) places in Western Australia. He later joined 2/4th MGB’s HQ Company, No. 3 Battalion 8th Division, AIF becoming a driver.
The 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion was raised in Western Australia initially to fight in the middle-east. However following the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbour and invasion of Malaya in 1941, the 2/4th was sent to Singapore as reinforcements for the ill-fated Australia’s 8th Division.
He fought with Commonwealth Troops he fought to save Singapore from the Japanese and was taken POW and was incarcerated at Selarang Barracks, Changi.
He left with the first Australian work force to leave Singapore. 3,000 Australian POWs with ‘A’ Force Burma, Green Force No. 3 Battalion sailed in 3 junk ships from Singapore to south west coast of Burma to firstly repair and extend 3 airfields before arriving at the Burma end of the Burma-Thai Railway to start work on 1st October 1942.
Tom was evacuated ill from the railway to Khonkan Hospital Camp 55 km with hundreds of sick POWs.
He underwent three amputations under Dr. Albert Coates in the most crude of jungle camp conditions. Weak from malnutrition and diarrhoea he was unable to recover and died on 25 October 1943 aged 34 years.