Collie & Worsley & COLLIE WW2 MEMORIAL – Timber & Mining Country

2/4th men from Collie, Worsley region who did not return to their families and their homes.




2/4th men included on the above Collie War Memorial include three men who died at Sandakan.


Above:  From an 1903 Government Mining Report.


WX7905 Annesley Frederick John – Acting Corporal (promoted 14 Feb 1942) b. Collie 1916.  He enlisted 13 Aug 1940 and later joined Headquarters Company No. 2 Platoon Anti Aircraft.  He missed boarded ‘Aquitania’ when she sailed on 16 January 1942 and consequently was landed in Java where he was taken POW about 8 March 1942.
Fred perished in South China Sea, 12 September 1944 following sinking of ‘Rakuyo Maru’ whilst sailing from Singapore to Japan, aged 28 years.

He was selected to work on Burma end of railway with ‘A’ Force Burma, Java Party No. 4 Black Force from Java (he did not sail to Singapore) where he had been captured by the Japanese.     They continued working on the rail until end of 1943 after which all POWs working in Burma were brought south to Thailand.   Several months later Fred was considered fit by the Japanese and selected to work in Japan with what would become ‘Rakuyo’ Maru Party.
Read further Rakuyo Maru
WX7883 Beard, William Herbert ‘Bill’ was b. Subiaco 1911.  He left Singapore with ‘B’ Force Borneo.  Beard died malaria 10 July 1945 aged 34 years  Sandakan No. 1 Camp.

His body was recovered from Sandakan No. 3  Cemetery – slit trenches in No. 2 Compound – the burial site of all those who died after 29 May 1944 and simply too ill and  unable to   ‘march’.  

Read further about









WX7909 Davidson Tom  – Tom died of illness Thailand at Kuii Camp, Burma -Thai Railway September 1943, aged 33 years.    Tom was selected to work on railway with D’ Force V Battalion  which departed Singapore Railway Station March 1943.          
Others in this work Force included Kevin Moir, Bill Philp and Jack Wilson.

Read about Kuii Camp








RAF Fuhrmann, Herbert Leonard ‘Bert’ Pilot/Officer DFM  (brother of 2/4th’s Harry Fuhrmann WX7852) killed over Germany 29 July 1943


WX16416 Holme Charles  b. Harvey 1922 Known as ‘Bubbles’ died Sandakan-Ranau track Second March 7 June 1945 aged 22 years.
Holme enlisted 10 Sep 1941, became reinforcement for 2/4th.  He left Singapore with ‘E’ Force Borneo.
He was one of four 2/4th        men who were part of a group of about 35 Australian POWs who together were tortured and massacred on the Sandakan to Ranau Track on the Second March.






WX17582 Lake George b.  Collie 1921, enlisted 6 Nov 1941 and became reinforcement joined 2/4th’s  ‘E’ Company left Singapore with ‘E’ Force Borneo George perished at Sandakan 8 April 1945, aged 23 years No. 1 Camp.  His body was recovered after the war at No. 2 Camp.

Please Read further 



WX8012 Moir Kevin George  b. Donnybrook 1911.  Died of cholera Thailand at Hintok River Camp, Burma-Thai Railway,  August 1943 aged 24 years.  He was selected in Singapore to work on the railway with ‘D’ Force Thailand V Battalion – with Jack Wilson, Tom Davidson and Doug Tanner.  He was father to three children.


WX8137 Needham John William Hayes  b. Broome 1913.  He left Singapore with ‘A’ Force Burma Green Force No. 3 Battalion to work on the Burma end of the Railway.  John died pneumonia December 1943 Burma at Khonkan Camp, Burma-Thai Railway aged 30 years. Read further about Khonkan Hospital Camp
He was possibly evacuated sick from Aungganaung Camp to Khonkan Hospital Camp, Burma.
‘A’ Force Burma, Green Force No. 3 Battalion.  This Force departed by ship from Singapore to sail to south-west Burma coast to Victoria Point for several months before journeying to northern end of rail in Burma.  They commenced work on the railway  1 October 1942 and continued until end of 1943.



WX7902 Philp, William Hawksley –    b. Mt Barker 1907. Bill died Thailand of illness at Kuii Camp, Burma-Thai Railway aged 35 years.
He was selected in Singapore to work on rail link with ‘D’ Force Thailand V Battalion which left Singapore Railway Station mid March 1943.  Others in V Battalion included Tom Davidson, Jack Wilson and Kevin Moir.
Sadlly Philp is one of only two men from 2/4th without a photo.
WX7904 Smith Raymond Matthew ‘Blue’ b. Perth 1906.  Blue died  of illness at Changi 19 April 1942, a little more than a month following surrender aged 26 years.



WX17973 Wilson John ‘Jack’
died Thailand of illness at Brankassi Camp, Burma-Thai Railway August 1943 aged 36 years.  He was selected to work on Burma-Thai Railway with ‘D’ Force Thailand, V Battalion.
John (Jack) Wilson – Photo taken UK.







Collie was large catchment area for enlistment; mining, agriculture and timber.   The area included Worsley and several of above worked in the timber industry including Holme and Beard. Worsley did not become a bauxite mining town until the 1960s and the mill was about 9 miles from Collie.
As a timber town Worsley Mill had been in existence since the very early 1900s.  Worsley peaked in 1902 with a population of 1600 people.  It was one of many mills in the area.  Life was challenging for families with poor and sub-standard housing.  The men worked for low wages and limited safety checks in place.   Men suffered terrible injuries, loss of limbs and deaths.  There were numerous strikes and confrontations. There were moments during the years when the workers had no income due to closure of mills for varying reasons.
Lyalls Mill was also in the Collie region and supported a small population until the mid 1950s.


Below:  A card in 1943 from Jack Issac of Collie, mentions Harry Fuhrmann and Jim Quinn


Below:  Collie POWs return home and mentions Squance who was very ill being airlifted from Sumatra via Singapore

Amongst those who joined the 2/4th from Collie and returned home were:


WX7852 Harry Fuhrmann, Sergeant (Promoted 11 Feb 1942) – .b. Bunbury 1909.
Enlisted 13 Aug 1940 and joined ‘C’ Coy No. 10 Platoon.  Left Singapore with ‘A’ Force Burma, Green Force No. 3 Battalion.  Was recovered from Thailand at the end of the war.  (retired and later moved to Perth)
Awarded Distinguished Conduct Medal for outstanding leadership during battle of Singapore.  
WX7831 James Patrick ‘Jim’ Quinn – b. Dalry, Scotland 1907.  Enlisted 13 Aug 1940. Joined Headquarters Company No. 3 Platoon.  Left Singapore with ‘A’ Force Burma, Green Force No. 3 Battalion.  Was recovered from Thailand at the end of the war.
Married 1946 returned to Ewington near Collie where he originally lived with his mother and siblings after sailing from Scotland to Fremantle  in 1914 when he was  6 years old.

He married in 1946 to Collie girl Elizabeth ‘Bessy’ Johnstone Dodd.
They had two sons.
Jimmy also returned to work as a miner and resided at Ewington.   He died 5 Oct 1973 aged 66 years at Ewington).
WX15952 Roy Albert ‘Toona’ Simmonds b. Collie 1919. Enlisted 8 Oct 1941 was fortunate to join ‘B’ Company 7 Platoon rather than ‘E’ Company made up of reinforcements which ran into Japanese ambush at Bukit Timah during fighting and lost half Battalion.
He left Singapore to work on Thailand end of Burma-Thai railway with ‘D’ Force S Battalion.  He was recovered from Thailand at the end of the war.  (former prominent Mines-Rovers footballer) and later was Colliery Deputy for some years before retirement.


Roy Simmonds and Clifford Squance


WX16885 Clifford Dudley ‘Cliff’ Squance b. Round Hill, Moora 1920. Enlisted 6 Oct 1941.Was reinforcement with ‘E’ Company which ran into Japanese ambush at Bukit Timah and managed to escape to Sumatra.  Squance was rescued from Sumatra to Singapore then flown to Perth.   He had worked and starved in appalling conditions on the rail link in Sumatra.
WX16324 George Douglas ‘Doug’ Tanner b. London, England 1922.  Former Fairbridge Farm School  Boy – one of 21 who enlisted 2/4th.

Enlisted 3 Sep 1941 joined Headquarters Company No. 3 Platoon.  Left Singapore with  ‘D’ Force Thailand V Battalionhe survived to be selected fit to work in Japan.  Sailed with ‘Aramis’ Party and had the misfortune to work in the notorious Omuta Camp and mine.   Tanner was recovered from Japan, and was found to be suffering severe health problems was flown to Darwin to be hospitalised.   Formerly employed as a miner in Collie, he chose not to return to mining  – working in Japan’s terrible mines and conditions would have ended any ambitions (Doug worked for Shire Council and retired Collie)


WX7864 FLANAGAN, James Joseph ‘Jim’  b. Collie 1915 enlisted 39 Aug 1940, joined ‘B’ Company.  Jim worked on Burma-Thai Railway with D’ Force Thailand Captain Fred Harris 

Flanagan survived the Railway to be selected as fit by the Japanese to work in Japan. He sailed with Aramis’ Party and worked at Omuta Camp  (with  Tanner, one of Japan’s most notorious  camps.
He was recovered from here at the end of the war.





WX7869 GREEN, Thomas Henry ‘Tom’ Corp enlisted 13 Aug 1940 and later joined ‘B’ Company 7 Platoon, Worked on BurmaThai Railway with ‘D’ Force Thailand S Battalion.  He was recovered from Thailand at the end of the war.

In 1952 Tom Green died in a work accident at the Centaur Mine, Muja.  His young wife was left widowed with a young son.


WX7885 Albert ‘Alby Miller  b. Collie 1913.   He worked on Burma-Thai Railway with ‘H’ Force Thailand  Group No.3.  He was recovered from Singapore at the end of war.  Alby died Collie 10 Jan 1985.


WX16886 Corporal Arthur Melville Magill – b. Collie 1919.


Enlisted 6 Oct 1941was reinforcement and joined ‘E’ Company. 
Was wounded twice, the last time at Bukit Timah Japanese ambush.  Managed to escape whilst wounded,to Sumatra.  He was recovered from Sumatra at the end of the war.
Awarded Military Medal for Gallant Conduct during Singapore Battle



WX7889 John ‘Jack’  Isaac – b. Wales 1908. Enlisted 13 Aug 1940 joined Headquarters Company No. 2 Platoon.  Left Singapore with ‘A’ Force Burma, Green Force No. 3 Battalion.  Recovered from Thailand at the end of war.    Returned to Collie and mining.  John Isaac passed away at Collie on 14th February 1975 aged 66 years.


WX7886 Thomas (Tom) Finlay – Collie born Tom left Singapore with ‘D’ Force S Battalion to work on Burma-Thai Railway.  He survived and was selected by Japanese as being fit to work in Japan. He sailed on ‘Rashin’ Maru on a long 70 day journey from Singapore to Moji Japan.  He was recovered from Niihama where he had been working in a copper mine.



WX9101 Jack Ewen retired Darkan farmer retired to Collie.  Jack Clifford EWEN, ‘A’ COY Promoted Corporal 11 Feb 1942. Worked Burma-Thai Railway with ‘F’ Force, Survived to return Singapore, Worked X8 Party.
WX9101 ‘Black Jack;



WX7835 ROSEL, William Lowes ‘Bill’  enlisted 13 Aug 1940. Joined ‘C’ Company 11 Platoon as a driver.  Worked on Burma-Thai Railway with ‘H’ Force Thailand, Group 3.  Recovered from Singapore.  Bill returned to Collie and mining.  His older brother John ‘Jack’ Rosel died in an accident at Proprietary Mines, Collie in 1949.  Bill and another brother Henry were also working at same mine.


Roy Simmonds  (known as ‘Toona’) and Clifford Squance

Emaciated Cliff Squance WX16855 arrives Guildford Airport 1945, with Noel Banks and Richard Annear having been rescued from Sumatra. These 3 men from 2/4th were flown on Duke of Gloucester Plane and shows Governor Sir James Mitchell greeting Squance.


Collie boys – Tom Green, James Flanagan & Tom Finlay


Below:  The name Annesley is mentioned – probably related to Annesley above.  Also Jim Scott of Donnybrook.







Large numbers of enlistments from Collie worked in the mines and they returned to do so after the war.


Opposite the Miners Institute is Pioneer Park, where the names of all miners who died working in the mines have their names recorded.



Below: He survived being POW of Japan for nearly 4 years – 33 year old Tom Green was tragically killed in an accident at Centaur Mine in 1953.  He was the father of one young son, Trevor.