Hale School – 2/4th MGB enlistments WW2


Wembley Downs, Western Australia
There were six former students who joined 2/4th MGB and died between Feb 1942 to 1945
These are their stories:


WX7640 LEE-STEERE Forrest, Driver b. 1907 Bridgetown to Wilfred Lee Steere and Laura Francis Forrest who married 1902 Bridgetown.


He enlisted AIF August 1940.
Lee-Steere departed Singapore rail station with ‘D’ Force V Battalion to work on the Burma-Thai Railway in April 1943.  He died aged 36 years of Cholera at Kuii POW Camp, Thailand on 3 October 1943.
Please read about ‘D’ Force Thailand V Battalion



WX8484 MANNING, Herbert John (Jack) Lt.  b. 1914 to Hector Melville Manning and Jane Amelia Wildon.

Manning enlisted AIF October 1940.  He died of wounds received at Hill 200, Ulu Pandan aged 28 years.    You can read further about this bitter fighting.
Please go to Hill 200
Wounded in action at Hill 200, Ulu Pandan. Lt Manning was hit in the neck by a fragment of shrapnel that exited through his chest. The time was 2100 hours on 12.2.1942 at map reference 764127. He was put onto a truck and driven 300 yards to the rear and placed on a bench in a (village) kampong. He was later moved by truck to the corner of Holland and Fairer Roads and attended to by a Medical Officer. He lived for approximately one and a half hours after receiving his wound. Lt. Manning was buried on 13.2.1942


WX9413 NOBLE Frank Richard Private b. 1920 Perth to Richard William and Katherine May Noble.


Frank enlisted November 1940.  He trained as a rangetaker and joined ‘B’  Coy 7 Platoon under CO Lt Penrod Dean.
As a POW in Singapore Frank sailed with ‘B’ Force Burma to Sandakan in July 1942 where on 25 May 1945 he died of malaria aged 25 years. Please read further about Sandakan where all lives of POWs were lost except for 6 escapees who miraculously survived.
Ron Wilson was with ‘B’ Force to Sandakan.
There were 71 men from 2/4th who died.
Please read the tragic story of Sandakan.




WX3447 RAPHAEL Geoffrey Allan Lt.  b. 1916 West Perth to Alfred and Maria Raphael.   Immediately following the surrender in Singapore, 15 February 1942
Lt. Raphael was taken away with several men from 2/4th by Japanese soldiers.  They were executed 9 February 1942.  Lt Raphael was 25 years old.
There were 7 members of the 2/4th who were taken by the Japanese Imperial Army for execution. In all cases there does not seem to be any apparent motive except the fact that they were machine gunners. Considering the punishment dealt out by the 2/4th during the Battle of Singapore this was probably reason enough for the Japanese to take vendettas out on the men.
The following is from the diary of Captain Avon Smith-Ryan’s diary for 15 February 1942
‘We were ordered to join the rest of the battalion at the Chinese Cemetery off Holland Road at 1800 hours. I found the rest of ‘B’ Company there as well as Major Green, Anderson, Thomas, Raphael, Thompson and later Tom Bunning. About midday on the 16th we fell in and walked to the Raffles College padang remaining there for 2 days. Thompson, Raphael and one other were whisked away on a truck and haven’t been seen since. RSM Airey was also taken.
Major Green’s report states
‘Captain Thompson, Lieutenant Raphael and Private Brown were with the unit at Buona Vista on 15th February 1942, the date of the capitulation of Singapore. On the 16th a portion of the unit was moved to Holland Village and thence to Raffles College Square. During the afternoon of the 16th whilst we were concentrated at Raffles Square a Japanese soldier entered the square and ordered Captain Thompson, Lieutenant Raphael and WX17754 Private James Brown (who were standing at the end of a column) to accompany him. They were marched to the roadside where they were placed on a truck’.
It is believed that these men were questioned on the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday and on Thursday 19th February, at 1715 hours were executed with their hands tied behind their backs.
*Capt. Avon Smith-Ryan Diary, AWM Canberra.
*Report by Major Charles Green on the disappearance of Capt. Thompson, Lieut Raphael & Pte. Brown. Original copy loaned by Major Green’s daughter, Mrs Barbara Brand.



WX10164 RUSSELL Douglas Norman Private b. 1915 to Norman Charles Russell and Gladys Hamilton Foote who married Subiaco 1914.  Russell enlisted Dec 1940 when he was working at Mt. Magnet Commonwealth Bank.
Russell departed Singapore with the first work party formed.  He sailed to Burma with ‘A’ Force Bumra, Green Force No. 3 Battalion. 
 He died of cerebral malaria at Aungganaung Camp, Burma aged 28 years on 21 Jan 1944.






WX8438 WILSON Ronald Matthew Staff Sergeant born 1910 Melbourne, Victoria to Matthew Wilson and Marian Brooks who married 1902 Victoria.


Ron was the son of former  Hale School Headmaster Matthew Wilson.   Ron  attended school from 1917 to 1926.

He enlisted AIF October 1940.

As POW in Singapore, Wilson sailed with ‘B’ Force to  Borneo July 1942.  He died at Sandakan of meningitis and malaria aged 35  years on 24 December 1944.
Hale boy Frank Noble was also included in ‘B’ Force to Sandakan.  There were 71 men from 2/4th who lost their lives.


Please read about Sandakan


Below:  Ron’s father and former Hale School Headmaster has a School House named after him, recognising Matthew Wilson’s contribution from 1915 to 1928.