The Men of ‘E’ Company Special Reserve Btn

The men of Special Reserve Battalion (SRBn)






Commanding Officer:  WX3454 Major A.E. Saggers (Survived to RTA)
Saggers was informed early evening 6 Feb 1942 by Lt.-Col Anketell he was selected to command a composite Battalion from Australian Army Servicer Corps (AASC), Ordnance Units and 2/4th E Coy Reinforcements.
The AASC had been organised into two Companies, A and B  each 184 men strong.  The 3rd Coy comprised 88 men from 2/4th MGB’s Reinforcements Coy (E Coy originally led by Lt. Harry de Moullin).  SRB was in possession of 11 sub-machine guns. A & B Coy’s had none and 30% of the men did not have bayonets.
Saggers said “SRB was in the main under-trained and under-equipped but it was not to be under-valued.”
On 9 Feb Saggers had difficulty getting A and B Coy’s on the move. He proceeded to E Coy “that smallest but splendid fighting company of whom I am tremendously proud. Harry de Moullin commander, Charlie Odgers was Coy 2 i/c while Harry Green, Jimmy Till and Harry Mazza were platoon commanders, Vic Mentiplay being supernumerary. All these splendid officers with the exception of Mentiplay but including Vic Warhurst were killed within seventy two hours.”


Adjutant: WX9406 Lt. C. Odgers (KIA 11 Feb 1942 SW Bukit Timah aged 22 years).  Odgers enlisted AIF 24 Nov 1940.  He was last seen with a Lewis gun across his shoulder.
Major Saggers said ” Adjutant Lt. Charley Odgers was alongside me as we approached the huts, yet like so many others his fate will always remain a mystery.”




Above:  Intelligence Officer: WX228 Lt. D.V. Mentiplay (WIA – survived)


WX8003 A.M. Hack (POW perished Sandakan 4 Feb 1945)

WX16323 R.G. Tooze (KIA 11 Feb 1942 SW Bukit Timah) Reg Tooze was a Fairbridge Farm School boy who arrived Fremantle May 1931 with F.N. Matthews.  Both boys were housed in ‘Nelson’ Cottage.

Below:  Hack & Tooze



WX9179 H. Wilkes (survived to return Australia. Original member No. 6 Platoon – sent to 110(P)MH from Northam with injured knee. Rejoined unit January 1942 as reinforcement.)




Commanding Officer: NX70433 Lt. V.I. Warhurst (DOW 11 Feb 1942 SW Bukit Timah, aged 24 years. Soldier was wounded in action by mortar fire. Officer’s thigh was shattered as a result of the blast. An eye witness stated that five Japanese soldiers appeared on the scene and ended this young man’s life with his own rifle and bayonet).
Lt. Warhurst of Lefevre Terrace, Adelaide graduated at Royal Military College, Duntroon in August 1940. In September he transferred to 2/4th MGB.  He is twin son of Mrs V.A. Warhurst of Wellingston Square, North Adelaide.    His brother Lt. R.W. Warhurst served with 6th Division, AIF in New Guinea.  Warhurst was married with a daughter whom he never saw).



Second in Command: WX8389 Lt. H. DeMoulin (KIA 11 Feb 1842 SW Bukit Timah)






Below:  McNeil and Keay



CSM: WX15720 Cpl. S.S. McNeil (KIA 11 Feb 1942 SW Bukit Timah)
R.Q.M.S.: WX8431 Cpl. V.A. Keay (POW Perished Sandakan 10 May 1945)
WX17915 T.W. Allen (POW ‘D’ Force Thailand, Burma-Thai Railway, V Battalion, recovered Ubon Camp, Thailand. RTA)
WX6258 J.H. Grace (KIA 11 Feb 1942 SW Bukit Timah)
 Orderly Room Clerk: WX6976 L/Cpl J.M. Clare (POW ‘D’
Force Thailand, V Btn.  d. 8 Aug 1943 Hindaine Camp, Thailand Chronic diarhorrea)

Below:  Grace and Clare

WX17915 T.D. Crane (POW John Dooley Party Thai-Burma Railway, ‘Both’ Party to Saigon, French Indo-China. RTA.)


WX7606 R.E. Godfrey – from ‘C’ Coy.   (KIA aged 22 years 11 Feb 1942 SW Bukit Timah)
Was killed by Japanese patrol whilst fetching water for Lt. V Warhurst who had been wounded SW Bukit Timah.  Enlisted 10 Aug 1940, joined No. 10 Platoon & transferred to ‘E’ Coy as Lt. Warhurst’s Batman.









Commanding Officer: WX10788 Lt H.F. Green (KIA 11 Feb 1942 SW Bukit Timah)
Enlisted 15 Jan 1941, trained Northam, Woodside SA and served Darwin.  Lt Green was killed at close range.  Lt. Till rushed to Green’s section and killed the Japanese gun crew with his Thompson machine Gun, during which Till was wounded in his shoulder.




 Platoon Sergeant: WX17293 Cpl A.J.C. Rowland (GSW Rt thigh 11 Feb 1942, listed MIA. Escaped Sumatra. Ship to Colombo, Ceylon. Returned Melbourne 6 Apr 1942. TOS Northam with 2/3rd MGB & joined 1st Australian Machine Gun Training Coy 6 Aug 1944)

WX17251 Cpl L.G. Ashbolt (POW ‘D’ Force Thailand S Btn Burma-Thai Railway, ‘Rashin’ Maru Party to Japan, Recovered Niihama, Japan. RTA)




WX14022 Cpl R. Burchell (KIA 11 Feb 1942 SW Bukit Timah aged 21).
Burchell was a Fairbridge Farm Schoolboy having arrived Fremantle 1932 aged 10 years with his older brother and Gus Davies (below) who died the same day.  Ron Burchell was one of 21 Fairbridge boys to enlist with 2/4th.
WX10822 Cpl. L.J. Harvey (POW Green Force Burma – Worked Railway, selected to work Japan, Perished 12 Sept 1944 when ‘Rakuyo’ Maru was  torpedoed South China Sea.  He was 24 years of age)





WX13515 L/Cpl A.B.W. Annetts (KIA 11 Feb 1942 SW Bukit Timah aged 23 years).  Annetts a farmer from Dalwalinu enlisted AIF 24 May 1941.

Above:  WX17793 W.J. Andrews (KIA 11 Feb 1942 SW Bukit Timah aged 24 years). Former Taxi driver, Andrews enlisted 26 Nov 1941.


Above:  Left to Right Scottish born William Cameron and Goldfields boy Freddie Cameron.
WX16795 F.C. Chambers  (Missing believed KIA 11 Feb 1942). Former truck driver, born Menzies 1906 was 35 years old.
WX20026 W. Cameron  (KIA 11 FEB 19842 SW Bukit Timah, aged 33 years)
WX16306 J. Cook  (remained Singapore as POW. RTA)
WX20086 G. Davies   (Initially listed MIA – DOW 15 Feb 1942, aged 20 years)

Above:  ‘Gus’  Davies was a Fairbridge
Farm Schoolboy.  He arrived Fremantle 1932 on the same ship as Ron Burchell and his brother.
WX17269 K.S. Evans (POW Green Force to Burma, worked Railway, recovered Tamuang Camp, Thailand at end of war).
WX17974 L.S. Gibson (KIA 11Feb 1942 SW Bukit Timah)
WX16973 A.M. Hargreaves (KIA 11 Feb 1942 SW Bukit Timah)

Below: L-R Hargreaves and Gibson

Above L-R Collie boy George Lake died with ‘E’ Force Sandakan, Borneo 8 Apr 1945 aged 23 years and John Livingstone formerly with 10th Light Horse, who died on Burma-Thai Railway aged 21 years.
WX17582 G. Lake (POW perished Sandakan 8 Apr 1945)
WX17759 J.S. Livingstone (POW ‘D’ Force S Btn Burma-Thai Railway d. Tarsau Camp, Thailand 4 Sep 1943 Malaria & Tropical Ulcers aged 21)
WX17000 F.N. Matthews (POW to Burma-Thai Railway with ‘D’ Force S Btn, To Japan with ‘Rashin’ Maru. Recovered Niihama, Japan. RTA) – know ‘Cowboy’ Matthews like all those caught in the Japanese Ambush scattered for cover.  With good luck, he eventually ran into 2/4th’s D Coy’s 13 Platoon –  all experienced machine gunners.  Young ‘Cowboy’ remained with these men throughout the fighting until surrender.
WX17837 L.W. McCann (WIA SW Bukit Timah 11 Feb 1942 with mortar fragments to Rt Leg and later survived shooting by Japanese firing squad. POW remained and recovered from Singapore)
WX16675 R.J. Millhouse (WIA SW Bukit Timah received four GSW to Rt leg . MIA from 11 Feb 1942. Executed by Japanese Firing Squad 19 Feb 1942)
WX17737 K. Moher (POW Green Force to Burma worked Railway d. amoebic dysentery Khonkan Hospital Camp, Burma 24 Jul 1943)



Above:  Left Millhouse 19 years old was executed by Japanese Firing Squad  and on right is Ken Moher.

WX20107 A. Ralph (Dislocated ligaments Rt knee 12 Feb 1942. Evacuated Alexander Hospital. Discharged to unit 22 Feb 1942. Remained POW Singapore).
WX20068 H.W. Ralph   (KIA 11 Feb 1942 SW Bukit Timah aged 22 years)
WX10808 J. Rochester (Originally member of ‘A’ Coy No. 6 Platoon. Contracted meningitis whilst at Woodside Camp & returned to WA. Departed Fremantle with reinforcements ‘E’ Coy. KIA 11 Feb 1942 SW Bukit Timah)

Below: Rochester and Ralph

WX16885 C.D. Squance (escaped Sumatra became POW. Recovered from Pakan Baroe Moearo Raileay Sumatra)
WX17907 W.T. Swann (remained POW Singapore)
WX16956 R.S. Williams (remained POW Singapore)
WX17973 J. Wilson (MIA from 9 Feb 1942. Rejoined Unit on 15 Feb 1942. POW with ‘F’ Force Burma-Thai Railway. Recovered Singapore).










Commanding Officer:  WX9382 Lt J. Till (DOW 13 Feb 1942 SW Bukit Timah)

Please read the story of Jimmy Till on Singapore  Historic War Stories


Platoon Sergeant:  WX16883 L/Cpl N.W.Platts (KIA 11 Feb 1942 SW Bukit Timah aged 31 years). Platts pulled Lt Till back after he was wounded.
Below:  L-R. ‘Bluey’ Evans and Gardner.
WX14172 Cpl F.C. Evans (WIA admitted AFM GSW to L leg. Discharged to unit 22 Feb 1942. POW to Burma-Thai Railway with ‘D’ Force V Btn. Recovered Thailand. RTA)
WX15401 Cpl D. J. Gardner (KIA 11 Feb 1942 SW Bukit Timah)
WX16886 Cpl A.M. Magill (escaped to Sumatra. Recovered Pakan Baroe-Moearo Railway, Sumatra. RTA)
WX17545 J.R. Buchan (POW Green Force Burma worked Burma-thai Railway with Williams No. 1 Mobile Force. Recovered Thailand, last Camp Lopburi. RTA)
WX14068 G.A. Dalrymple (KIA 11 Feb 1942 SW Bukit Timah)

Below:  Scottish born Dalrymple and popular Syd Darby died aged 19 years, was known as ‘The Kid’

WX15873 S.J. Darby (KIA 10 Feb 1942 Sungei Kranji-Sungei Jurong Defence Line)
WX17391 M.W. Day (KIA 11 Feb 1942 SW Bukit Timah)
WX20164 A.E. Erskine (POW worked Burma end of Railway with Green Force. Working Bangkok go-downs at end of war. RTA)
WX18022 F.J. Heinz-Smith (POW ‘F’ Force Burma-Thai Railway d. 23 Oct 1943 Kami Sonkurai Camp tropical illnesses and ulcers)
WX17634 W. Holding (POW with ‘F’ Force worked Burma-Thai Railway. Returned Singapore. Recovered Changi. RTA)

Above:  WX17351 P.G. Hurst (KIA 11 Feb 1942 SW Bukit Timah aged 20 years) Pat Hurst was another Fairbridge Farm School boy.   He arrived Fremantle Christmas Day 1934.
WX17452 L.D. Kearney – originally No. 13 Pln (POW worked Burma end of Railway with Green Force. Selected fit to work Japan. Survived sinking of ‘Rakuyo’ Maru –miraculously saved 3 days later by USS Sealion. RTA late 1944)
WX16355 G.R. Leipold (KIA 11 Feb 1942 SW Bukit Timah)
WX17778 F.J. Ludge (KIA 11 Feb 1942 SW Bukit Timah)


Above:  L-R Ludge and George Leipold aged 19 years.
WX17515R.R. Lymn (POW with ‘J’ Force to Japan ‘Wales’ Maru worked Kobe. Recovered Toyama. RTA)
WX17639 R.W. Marsh (WIA 11 Feb 1942 SW Bukit Timah – DOW 12 Feb 1942)
WX17390 E.M. Munday (KIA 10 Feb 1942 Sungei Kranji-Sungei Jurong Defence Line)


Above:  L-R Ernie Munday and Murphy.
WX16674 J.J. Murphy (KIA 11 Feb 1942 SW Bukit Timah)
WX16293 H.H.T. Norton (11 Feb 1942 Bald Hill, Bukit Timah)
WX16931 H.C. Oswald (POW ‘D’ Force V Btn Burma-Thai Railway died dysentery Kanchanaburi Hospital, Thailand 7 Nov 1943 aged 21 years)

Above: Henry Christopher Oswald (aka Hugh Christopher Oswald). He was evacuated sick from Burma-Thai Railway to Kanchanaburi Hospital where he died 7 Nov 1943 aged 21 years.  Oswald was a stowaway on ‘Aquitania’ at Fremantle.  He was transferred to 2/4th from 2/16th reinforcements.
WX8826 L. Purchon (KIA 11 Feb 1942 SW Bukit Timah)
WX16269 E.J. Ronan (POW worked Brma-Thai Railway ‘D’ Force V Btn. Recovered from Ubon, Thailand. RTA)
WX17899 S.G. Scott (KIA 11 Feb 1942 SW Bukit Timah)
WX17448 H.M. Smith (Escaped to Sumatra taken POW. Was on ‘Hirukku’ Maru to Sumatran rail to work when ship sank by British torpedo. Taken to Singapore. Believed to suffered burst appendix and evacuated to Hospital Changi and avoided returning to Sumatra. RTA from Changi.) **Older brother John S Smith enlisted 2/4th 20 Jul 1940 with ‘C’ Coy. Worked Burma-Thai Railway with S Btn ‘D’ Force, sailed ‘Rashin’ Maru to Japan. Recovered from Niihama. RTA.
Above:  WX17615 E.J. Thomsett (KIA 10 Feb 1942 Sungei Krangi-Sungei Jurong Defence Line aged 19 years). Ernie enlisted AIF 11 Nov 1941.