The following men from the Gosnells area served with 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion and lost their lives in WW2.
WX8712 BORROW, Joseph born 1915 Newcastle-upon-the-Tyne, England migrated to Wa with his family 1929. Joe enlisted 13 October 1940 and joined 2/4th MGB, and ‘A’ Company. Joe was wounded in action at Buna Vista on afternoon 15 February 1942 and admitted to 2/9th Field Ambulance with gunshot wound fracture to his lower right leg. Transferred to hospital, Joe died as a result of his wounds on 16 February, 1942. He was 25 years of age. A relative, Doreen Borrow wrote:
‘Joe Borrow shared the fate of so many of his generation. Born during a war, grew up in a depression and killed in another war.
He did not know what it was like to have a secure job, home and family of his own.
And like so many other victims of war his remains lie in a foreign land, far from his homeland.’
Sadly this can be said of too many men in the 2/4th and Australians who enlisted in WW2.
WX10388 MEADS, Kenneth Lawrance (Ken) was born 17 January 1905 at St Lennards on Sea, Hastings, England. He enlisted 18 December 1940. Corporal Meads joined Headquarters Company as a Cook. As a POW at Selarang, Singapore he was selected with ‘A’ Force Burma, Green Force No. 3 Battalion to work on the Burma end of the Burma-Thai Railway.
He died 14 September 1943 at Khonkan 55km Hospital Camp, Burma of toxaemia aged 38 years. Meads had been evacuated from Aungganaung 105km Camp about 10 September suffering with advanced tropical ulcers to his right foot.
His right led was amputated above the knee, tragically Ken Meads died post amputation as a result of toxaemia.
After the war his remains were relocated to Thanbyuzayat War Cemetery, Burma.
WX13429 POOLE, William Neil, (Bill) was born 1921 Carlisle. He enlisted 23 May 1941 the day he celebrated his 20th birthday. He was sent 5 October 1941 to Woodside, SA for training and then to Darwin. He joined ‘E’ Company, Special Reserve Battalion. Bill was killed in action at South-West Bukit Timah on 11 February, 1942 aged 20 years.
Known as ‘Bill’ or ‘Billy’
Poole was apprenticed to Winterbottom Motor Company Paint Shop. His family received official confirmation of his death in April 1946. Up until then, he was reported missing.
WX7474 RUBERY, Herbert Michael (Bert or Code) was born 7 March 1918 Gosnells, the son of Michael John and Esther Mary Rubery. Bert was one of 4 sons and 3 daughters.
Bert Rubery was residing at Byford when he enlisted. His name is also included on the Byford War Memorial.
He enlisted 6 August 1940 and joined ‘A’ Company. Rubery died at A.G.H. Roberts Barracks, Changi of illness (dysentery, pneumonia and toxaemia) on 22 February 1943 aged 24 years, he had been POW of Japan for 12 months. His remains are buried at Kranji War Cemetery, Singapore.
WX17594 STONE, George Clifford was born 18 March 1918 at Swanbourne, WA to George Bernard and Caroline Stone. He enlisted 10 November 1941 as a reinforcement and then joined ‘E’ Company, Special Reserve Battalion. George was one of the lucky ‘E’ Company to survive the Battle for Singapore, particularly as he had only been in the army three months.
George was selected with ‘A’ Force Burma Green Force No. 3 Battalion to work on the Burma end of the Burma-Thai Railway.
By December 1943 the railway was completed the Japanese moved the POWs out of Burma south to Thailand to one of 4 large camps. A large number of POWs required to be hospitalised, some were too ill to travel and remained behind in Burma to die, cared for by medical staff.
On 1 March 1944, aged 25 years George died of malaria and dysentery at Tamarkan Hospital, Camp, Thailand.
It is not known if he arrived from Burma in poor health or became ill in Thailand.
WX8491 TUFFIN, Reginald George was born 1911 Bath, England. Corporal Tuffin, with ‘A’ Company was Killed in Action having received a wound to his chest on 9 February 1942 at Tengah, whilst defending the airfield. He was 31 years of age. He had enlisted 18 October 1941 and was a reinforcement.
Reg arrived from Liverpool in 1912 as a small child on ‘Belgic’ with his sister Roma and parents. George and Edith later had another son William born in Western Australia.
By the early 1930’s the Tuffin family were residing in the Maddington area. Prior to enlisting Reg was a nurseryman as was his mate Joe Borrow. Tuffin requested he join ‘A’ Coy with Joe.
Reg was married with two young children, Lorraine and Reggie.
WX8460 THORPE, James (Jim) was born November 1916 Shotley Bridge, Durham, England. He enlisted 18 October 1940 and joined ‘D’ Company.
James Thorpe aged 12 years sailed from London on ‘Borda’, he was accompanied by Mr Patrick McAneny, shoemaker and Mrs Kate McAneny of 15 Elm Park Terrace, Shotley Bridge.
It is thought James’ mother Margaret had died in England, and Jim came to Australia to be with siblings. He was one of a large family. Jim’s brother Andrew Thorpe died with the RAF over Germany in 1944 and he had another two brothers fighting with the British Forces.
Jim also had two sisters June and Ellen living in WA.
Jim Thorpe was Killed in Action at Buona Vista on 15 February 1942 – the last day of fighting. He was sheltering behind a house which took a direct hit. Jim was 25 years old.