Those men whose names are inscribed on the Busselton WW2 Memorial from 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion include:
WX7714 CLARK, Francis Denis John (also known as Francis Denis John Stevens) ‘Frank’ Born Worsley, enlisted 8 Aug 1940, joined 2/4th ‘D’ Company as Driver/mechanic. Frank was selected in Singapore to work Thai-Burma Railway with ‘D’ force Thailand, V Battalion. He died Kuii Camp, Thailand of malaria & cardiac beri beri aged 30 years. Frank was one of 21 men from 2/4th to die at this appalling work Camp.
WX8011 DELAPORTE, Harry Thomas born 1914 Capel enlisted AIF 10 August 1940, joined 2/4th MGB ‘A’ Company.
Delaporte selected with 3,000 POWs in Singapore to sail to south west coast of Burma with ‘A’ Force Burma, Green Force No, 3 Battalion. They would work to repair and enlarge Victoria Point Airfield, then travel to northern end of Burma-Thai Railway to commence work at Kendau 4.8 km Camp. They would remain working on rail until end of 1943. During 1944 Harry Delaporte would travel to Saigon, French Indo-China and back to Singapore before departing on ‘Rakuyo’ Maru for Japan. The ‘Rakuyo’ Maru was torpedoed by American submarines and sunk on 12 September 1944 in South China Sea. A small number of POWs survived long enough to be miraculously picked up by same American submarines and would later enjoy freedom. Others were picked up by Japanese ships and taken to Japan. Most POWs lost their lives including Harry. He was 30 years old.
Please read about ‘Rakuyo’ Maru.
WX7620 EDWARDS Thomas Henry born 1900 Shropshire, England enlisted AIF 10 August 1940. He joined 2/4th MGB’s ‘D’ Company. Edwards was KIA Hill 200, Ulu Pandan 12 Feb 1942 aged 42 years.
Below is recognition of Thomas’ WWI service:
No. 52912 Pte. T.H. Edwards, The Lancashire Fusiliers – received recognition
‘For conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty during the British offensive in the FORET DE MORMON on November 4th 1919. In spite of very heavy shell and machine gun fire & numerous casualties this man carried out his duties of runner and guide with great courage for four hours continuously.
By his action he maintained communication and was of the greatest assistance in assuring the success of the attach in his Sector.’
Thomas aged 23 years with his wife Sarah aged 20 years sailed to WA on board ‘Ballarat” departing London 14 December 1922.
In 1931 Electoral Rolls indicate Thomas and Sarah had taken up land through Group Settlement at No. 48 Busselton.
When Thomas Henry Edwards died he was a father and grandfather.
Below: Left a young Tom Edwards WW1, Tom as Private Thomas Henry Edwards, AIF.
WX7627 GOLDIE, James McLaughlan born 1918 Clydesbank, Scotland. Was selected with ‘B’ Force Borneo to sail from Singapore to Sandakan 8 July 1942. There were no survivors from Sandakan – 6 POWs escaped and miraculously survived with the help of local population.
Jim Goldie died 4 June 1945 acute enteritis aged 26 years on Sandkan-Ranau Track during 2nd Sandakan March.
Jim Goldie was one of three sons and two daughters born to Thomas and Sarah Goldie.
The Goldie family emigrated from Scotland and settled in the Busselton area. Jim attended school at Karnup. He enjoyed playing soccer. After finishing school he worked as a farm hand in the district.
WX16618 ROBERTS, Ronald Weston known as ‘Ron’ or ‘Digger’ born 1921 Wonnerup, enlisted 22 Sept 1941. Ron Roberts was one of six children born to parents Edmund (Barney) Roberts born in SA and Alice Ivy Catchpole who married 1919 in Perth. Ron was the eldest of four boys and two girls. The family eventually settled in Nannup.
As a reinforcement for 2/4th Machine gun Battalion, Ron who had three months training at Northam Army Camp, departed WA on 15 January 1941 for Singapore. He joined ‘E’ Company which was made up all reinforcements with trained officers who mostly transferred from other 2/4th Companies. Tragically ‘E’ Company ran into a Japanese ambush resulting in a very high death loss. Ron Roberts was KIA South-West Bukit Timah 11 February 1942 aged just 20 years.
Sadly, Ron’s father Barney Roberts died 12 August 1942 at Nannup aged 50 years.
WX7623 SHELTON, George Tom ‘Tom’ or ‘Tommy’ born 1918 England enlisted AIF 10 August 1940, and later joined 2/4th MGB, ‘D’ Company. Tom was wounded in action on 15 February 1942 suffering a shrapnel wound to his left temple. He was discharged to his unit 23 February 1942.
Whilst a POW in Singapore, Shelton was selected to work on Burma-Thai Railway with ‘H’ Force Thailand Group No. 3 departing by train 8 May 1943. He died 7 September 1943 of post pneumonia and beri beri at Kanyu II Malayan Hamlet aged 24 years.