Katanning WW2 Memorial

& 2/4th Boys with Katanning and Regions connections









2/4th Machine Gun Battalion, 8th Division, AIF

WX16274 WHITAKER, Fred b. South Yorkshire, England enlisted AIF 29 Aug 1940 and later joined 2/4 MGB’s Company HQ.  He was captured Singapore and became POW 15th August 1942.
Fred was selected to work on Burma-Thai Railway with ‘D’ Force Thailand V Battalion.  He died of dysentery at Hindaine Camp on 6 Aug 1943 aged 36 years.  V Battalion suffered too many deaths from illness in appalling living and working conditions,  Please read further about V Battalion.


He arrived in Fremantle from London on ‘Armadale’ on 11 Dec 1913 with his mother, brother James and sister Mary.  Once settled in WA, a further two children were added to the Whitaker family, John in 1920 and Pearl in 1924.
In 1934 Fred married Annie Elizabeth Dunne at Katanning.
In the same year his father James Whitaker died.
Fred was father to several children.





Others with a connection to Katanning:

WX93442 Atkinson, Herbert  born Whitby, Yorkshire, England came to Nyabing as a small child with his parents in 1923. He attended school at Nyabing. He enlisted Oct 1940 and joined ‘B’ Coy7 Platoon as a driver. Same Platoon as Arthur White.

Atkinson worked on the Burma-Thai Railway with D’ Force S Battalion.  He was then transported to to work in Japan on the ‘Rashin’ Maru and worked at the Yamane and Nihama mines in Japan from where he was returned to Australia at the end of the war.



WX15690 John (JACK) Murray CARR was born Katanning 1915 to John Augustine and Evelyn Mary CARR.  Jack was one of seven children and spent his earlier years at Katanning where his father John Augustine Carr represented Scott & Son, suppliers of agricultural equipment.

The Carr family moved to Perth sometime in the mid 1920s.
Jack left Singapore by train 1943 with ‘D’ Force Thailand S Battalion for Burma-Thailand Railway.
Jack Carr died of cerebral malaria and beri beri 23 July 1943 at Tarsau Hospital Camp, Thailand aged 28 years.  He had been evacuated sick from  Hellfire Pass Cutting.





WX26347 MATSON, Wilford Neville b Midland Junction 1924. Enlisted 3 Sep 1941 was a reinforcement for 2/4th joining Battalion HQ as batman/Runner.

Worked on Burma-Thai Railway with ‘D’ Force V Battalion and was one of the survivors who was recovered from V Battalion in Thailand at the end of the war.
Matson was living and working in Katanning at the Postal Deparment when he enlisted.  After the war Matson again returned to work for the Postal Department moving all over the state with his wife and family.
Neville’s mother Gladys Beryl Matson married George Rodwell Perth 1941.  She died at Katanning 1966.





WX9233 MORGAN, Alfred ‘John’ born Katanning 1919 to James Alfred and Mary Ann Edith Morgan.  Enlisted 30 Oct 1940 joined 2/4th’s ‘D’ Company 13 Platoon and trained as a Rangetaker.
Worked on Burma-Thai Railway with ‘D’ Force Thailand S Battalion.  Recovered from Thailand at end of war.  Please read ‘D’ Company 13 Platoon



WX9563 RANDALL, John b. South Africa 1905 came to Australia with parents. He enlisted Dec 1940, trained with 88th Light Aid Detachment attached to 2/4th as a butcher with the rank of Corporal.  Randall was unable to reboard ‘Aquitania’ at Fremantle on its way to Singapore 16 Jan 942. He was one of about 90 2/4th men left behind who sailed a few weeks later, but had to be offloaded at Java as Singapore was about to fall.  He was captured and spent time in Java as a POW before being transferred to work on the Burma-Thai Railway with Williams Force.  Randall was then selected to work in Japan.  From Singapore he eventually sailed on ‘Both’ and got as far as Saigon where they were offloaded land remained due to American submarines.  Randall was recovered from Saigon at the end of the war.


Pre war John Randall worked as a blacksmith and mechanic.  Below John and his brother.


Their father worked was a  blacksmith and coach builder. They moved to WA between 1927-1931 where they settled at  Nyabing, farming.
John married about 1925 to Elsie Allison in Victoria.  Their children were born in Victoria prior to moving to WA. During the war Elsie was residing in Wickepin.
Jack’s mother Florence Maria Randell was 64 years old when she died in Katanning in 1947.
Returning from war John Randall, now known as ‘Axehandle’ established business manufacturing axe handles in Katanning, Wagin and other towns often with one or more of his brothers.




WX9333 WHITE, Arthur Thomas born Brookton to parents Jeremiah White was born England and married 1914 Beverley to Amy Alice Louisa Price born SA.  Arthur was the eldest of 6 children, 4 boys and 2 girls.

Jeremiah White died 1981 Bassendean and Amy died 1971 at Busselton.
Up until the time he enlisted Arthur appeared to be working and living in Katanning with his parents.  His father was Police Sgt. White was in same Platoon as Atkinson.
He worked on the Burma end of the Burma-Thai Railway and was recovered at the end of the war from Thailand.
Returning from war Arthur went back to Katanning.  In 1948 he married Doreen Maude Holly.  They remained living in Katanning for several years.  Arthur was employed as a bus driver.  In the 1970s they moved to Busselton.
It is not known if they had a family.  Doreen died in Busselton in 2014.
Arthur passed away aged 86yrs of age, June 28 2002, at Busselton, WA.