A Total of 146 Reinforcements were entrained from Northam to Fremantle to board ‘Aquitania’ anchored at Gage Roads, Fremantle on 15th January 1942 to join 2/4th MGB which had sailed from Darwin and boarded Aquitania at Sydney.
Aquitania sailed for Singapore the next day on 16th January 1942 – left behind were 90 well trained machine gunners who had jumped ship against orders. Most of these men had been ‘locked up’ by MP at Fremantle.  
Included were six Officers –  only one, Mentiplay for E Coy,
1 Sergeant and 11 Corporals – 8 Corporals to ‘E’ Coy
50 Privates to reinforce other Companies
66 Privates for E Coy SRB

Total 75 Reinforcements SRB

Total 71 Reinforcements to other 2/4th Platoons

Please read their story.

Other inclusions for SRB were transferred from other Platoons

Please read Major Saggers report on the Japanese Ambush at SW Bukit Timah
And the search to recover the bodies of ‘E’ Coy’s dead



32 Soldiers from 2/4th SRB were KIA, executed or DOW South West Bukit Timah, around 11 Feb 1942

The men of Special Reserve Battalion (SRBn)


Total two deaths SW Bukit Timah 11 Feb 1942





Commanding Officer:  WX3454 Major A.E. SAGGERS (Survived to RTA)
Originally Commanding Officer ‘A’ Company HQ – replaced by WX3424 Capt A.W. Thomas, formerly 2 I/C
Saggers was informed early evening 6 Feb 1942 by Lt.-Col Anketell he was to command a composite Battalion from Australian Army Service Corps (AASC), Ordnance Units and 2/4th E Coy Reinforcements.
The AASC (responsible for the transport and provision of supplies and rations other than machinery or ammunition) 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, 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.”
Please read the story of S.W. Buit Timah Ambush by Major Saggers

9th February 1942 ……… at 0300 hours SRB was put on standby, preparing equipment, etc. ready to move.

From Ted Wallin 2/4th (from Ghosts in Khaki)
‘It was a bloody shambles in the dark, still trying to sort out our sections, section officers or NCOs covered in grease from unpacking and cleaning an allocation of bren guns which had just been issued, filling magazines, trying to scrounge a hot drink and wishing to Christ I had joined the Navy after all.  To think that only three weeks ago we had been going about our business at Northam Camp not greatly worried about the “You’ll be sorry” sign above the gate.  How wrong we were!’
Only hours away from confrontation with the enemy,  equipment shortages were still being addressed.  The Battalion was finally assembled at 06.15. Transport brought forward 150 bayonets which were hurriedly issued.  Shortly after 07.00 the unit moved up to the front to join 2/29th Bn already on its way.
On the afternoon of 9th February, the 6th/15th Indian Brigade under CO Colonel Coates was assigned to Kranji-Jurong area and placed under General Bennett’s command.  In the evening of the 9th, Bennett ordered 6/15th to take up a position in the line on the right of 44th Indian Brigade – near the Bulim line.
Two machine gun battalions (HQ and ‘A’ Coy) not yet committed were brought forward and took up positions at Bulim, the N-E corner of Tengah Airfield and the Lim Chu Kang Rd crossroads.
The 2/29th and SRB took position facing NW and covering the aerodrome and Lim Chu Kang Rd junction. ‘A’ Coy 2/19th in position on their right was later to join Major Merrett and remnants of 2/20th Btn.  There was no major action in the morning but small parties of Japanese who had worked their way around the flanks through the rubber plantation were engaged. A 2/18th carrier platoon opened fire at close range on a Japanese company in close formation, halting the flanking movement.
Fred Evans the carrier’s Commanding Officer, recalled:
Brigadier Taylor sent me forward to assist in the withdrawal of the 2/19th or 2/20th because they were still having to come through (the aerodrome area).   I went forward again into the tree line on the near side of Tengah aerodrome.  While I was there the Battalions came through and it wasn’t long before we saw the Japanese coming down a very steep hill…… I had three section sergeants.  We all estimated the distance and from memory it was a machine gunner’s dream, which is 1200 yards.  I had two sections put the guns on them and wait. As soon as I saw them (Japanese) get together and stop, they presented the perfect target and I ordered fire, and we knew the result because we could see it. One of our battalions was firing tracer bullets, which is one in five of tracer bullet…… and those tracer bullets were just going straight into the Japanese. We were very happy we cotonned onto the right range.  We could see about 6 soldiers got out.  I said  ‘Come on let’s get the hell out of here’  As a bit of a skylark or waving our flag, we drove towards the Japanese just short of their last mortar drop, then turned around and drove away.’  From James Burfitt’s  ‘Against All Odds’ Page 73.
The fighting around Tengah aerodrome was threatening the only line of communication with 44th Indian Brigade along Jurong Road.  The 44th was still holding its positions on the S-W coast and apart from some shelling in the forward areas which was disrupting communications, had not yet been in involved in the fighting.  In danger of being outflanked and cut off in the pocket formed by the Sungei Jurong and the coast, the Brigadier Taylor ordered the beach front positions be evacuated and the forward machine gun posts of ‘C’ Coy, 2/4th MGB be withdrawn.
‘C’ Coy HQ was established with Brigade HQ at the Wireless Station on Jurong Road.  At 2300 hours orders came through to stand by following Japanese landings on the NW coast.  At 8000 HQ received three direct hits resulting in several casualties. At 1620 Lt -Col Anketell arrived at Coy HQ  and Capt Cameron issued  evacuation orders to  the Platoons.
After receiving their orders Lts. ‘Blue’ Wilson (10 Platoon) and Kevin Boyle (11 Platoon) had little trouble in the initial withdrawal. 10 Platoon got their six guns out but with only one vehicle available, had to leave behind some ammunition.
The withdrawal was completed by early afternoon of 10th Feb leaving the northern portion of the Line between the headwaters of the Kranji and the Jurong was now abandoned.  The right flank of the forces in the southern portion of the Line – SRB, 6th/15th and 44th Indian Brigades was left in the air!
6/15th Brigade had the British Battalion north of the Jurong Line, the 3/16th Punjab echeloned back from its right flank, and the Jat Battalion in reserve. On the 44th Battalion front the 6/1st Punjab was on the Jurong Road, the 6th/14th Punjab was farther south in touch with 2nd Malay Battalion and 7/8th Punjab was in reserve to the rear of the 6/1st.
(Jat Regiment is an infantry regiment of the Indian Army, of which it is one of the longest-serving and most decorated regiments.)
General Percival‘s secret instruction indicating that a defensive line may be formed around Singapore had reached Brigadier Ballentine, 44th Indian Brigade about 10.30 am.  He notified Col. Coates (6th/15th) of its requirements and told his battalion commanders that in the event of a retirement they were to move along the tracks to Pasir Panjang village.
Both Brigades and Sagger’s SRB at West Bukit Timah were heavily bombed in the morning. Wild firing broke out in the 6/1st Punjab position about 1pm.  This was followed by a hasty withdrawal down Jurong Road by a number of vehicles, one of the Battalion’s companies and some men of the British Battalion.  The Punjabis reported – incorrectly –  that the British had withdrawn, and permission was given to readjust its line.  The rearward movement quickly got out of control and soon the whole Battalion was streaming towards the Village. It was halted and reformed by Brigadier Ballentine , who received orders to move it to the junction of Ulu Pandan and Reformatory Roads.
The entire 44th Indian Brigade had withdrawn from all battle positions .  They left the southern Jurong end and with the withdrawal of the 27th Brigade from the northern – Causeway Sector both anchor points of the so-called Kranji-Jurong Line had gone.
The only troops west of Bukit Timah were 2/29th Btn and 12th Indian Brigade covering the Choa CHU ROAD – and SRB and 6/15th Brigade at Jurong – and the battered 22nd Australian Brigade – Totalling approx. 1500 Australians and 2500 Indian troops were left facing the impossible task of holding the Line.
By late afternoon of 10 Feb the Japanese had concentrated three infantry Regiments of the 5th Div. (9,000 men) supported by tanks in the vicinity of Tengah Airfield and three Regiments, 18th Division (11,000 men) on Jurong Road.
On the night of 10 February, two divisions of the Imperial Japanese Army attacked Bukit Timah, capturing the area in the early hours of 11 February 42. Spearheading the 5th Division’s assault along Choa Chu Kang Road was a column of 50 Japanese tanks, which had been rafted across the Johore Straits. The Japanese tank column broke through the British and Australian defences, driving through Bukit Timah Village by midnight. The tanks then halted for the Japanese infantry to catch up.
Percival with General Wavell (who was visiting from the safety of Java) visited Bennett at  Western Area HQ.  Percival ordered Bennett to counter attack!
What with 1500 Australians and 2500 Indians – most of whom were reinforcements!  Bennett should have stood up to what would have been a slaughter.
As Wavell ‘the warrior’ left to fly back to Java his departing words were

“this battle must be fought to the bitter end and won at all costs…….Commanders and senior officers must die with their troops…..”






Adjutant: WX9406 Lt. Charles (Charlie) Percival ODGERS – KIA 11 Feb 1942 SW Bukit Timah aged 22 years.  Odgers enlisted AIF 24 Nov 1940. TOS Darwin.  Transf from HQ Coy to E Coy.  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.
Odgers’ batman (transf from 10 Platoon) also died.  Richard Godfrey WX7606 was killed by a Japanese patrol whilst fetching water for Lt. Odgers.  Godfrey was 22 years.

Above:  Intelligence Officer: WX228 Lt. David Victor  MENTIPLAY – WIA.  ‘H’ Force to Railway – survived.
Seeing a Jap bayoneting a wounded soldier, Mentiplay charged with his bayonet. The Jap on higher ground met the attack and his bayonet entered Vic’s neck who threw himself backwards off the bayonet and fell on his back.  Mentiplay pulled his revolver out and shot the Jap and emptied it into other Japs in the area.  He hurled his empty revolver at a Jap machine gun crew who believing it to be a grenade, all ran.  Mentiplay slid into a native duck pond, sheltered under an overhanging bush and feigned death.  He waited until the battle subsided and made his way back to the safety of allied lines, reaching there at nightfall.

Batmen (3)

WX8003 Alexander Meora  HACK – enlisted Oct 1940 joined ‘A’ Coy  Transferred to ‘E’ Coy from  4 Platoon.     Highly regarded by Major Saggers.   POW perished Sandakan 4 Feb 1945.


WX16323 Reginald Gerald TOOZE –  Enl. 3 Sep 1941.
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. He was 21 years old
WX9179 Hugh WILKES – enl. Oct 1940.   Originally member No. 6 Platoon – sent to 110(P)MH from Northam with injured knee. Rejoined unit January 1942 as reinforcement.
Batman in ‘E’ Company Battalion Headquarters with Hack (d. Sandakan) and Reg Tooze (KIA SW Bukit Timah)    ‘D’ Force Thailand, ‘V’ Battalion to work on Railway.  Recovered from Japan.

In Addition

WX8867 Corp George William Taylor from ‘A’ Coy HQ  – Driver/mechanic and driver for Major Saggers – although not officially transferred to SRB – drove for Saggers up until the ambush.  After which he would have rejoined his unit.
Taylor lost his life at Sandakan  with ‘E’ Force where he died of Malaria on 2 March 1945, aged 43 years.






Total five deaths SW Bukit Timah 11 Feb 1942


Commanding Officer: NX70433 Lt. Victor Ingleby  WARHURST – Enl. Nov 1940.  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. Henry Francis ‘Harry’ DeMOULIN  – Kalgoorlie boy enl. Nov 1940.    KIA 11 Feb 1942 SW Bukit Timah aged 21 years.




CSM Battalion HQ:  WX15720 Warrant Officer Scott McNEIL – Enlisted 13 Aug 1941 departed Fremantle Aquitania as reinforcement.   KIA 11 Feb 1942 SW Bukit Timah Aged 42 years.
At the age of 16 years, Stan put his age up and enlisted in England in WWI. He was awarded Miltary Medal 4/11/1917 for ‘bravery in the field’.  For WW2, McNeil put his age down by three years.  He was father of three children from Miling.


R.Q.M.S. Battalion HQ.  Staff Sergeant WX8431 Cpl. Vivian Albert KEAY – Enl Oct 1940, transf to ‘E’ Coy.  As POW Perished Sandakan 10 May 1945 aged 39 Years.
Born in England, Keay with his family resided in Katanning where he spent his formative years.


WX17915 Thomas William ALLEN – Enl. 8 Dec 1941.  POW ‘D’ Force Thailand, Burma-Thai Railway, V Battalion, recovered Ubon Camp, Thailand. RTA


WX6258 James Henry GRACE – Kalgoorlie boy Jimmy Grace Enl. July 1940, originally Headquarters Coy, 3 Platoon he transf SRB. KIA 11 Feb 1942 SW Bukit Timah aged 24 years.  He was father to a young son ‘Jimmuy’.


Orderly Room Clerk: WX6976 Corp. John Mostyn CLARE – Enl. July 1940.  Transf SRB. POW ‘D’ Force Thailand, V Btn.  d. 8 Aug 1943 Hindaine Camp, Thailand Chronic diarhorrea.   Aged 36 years.

Batman/Runners (2)


WX17915 Thomas Daniel CRANE– Enl. Sep 1941 original reinforcement.  POW John Dooley Party Thai-Burma Railway, ‘Both’ Party to Saigon, French Indo-China. RTA.
Following ambush, Crane escaped with Holding to return to Singapore


Above:  WX7606 Richard Edward GODFREY – Enl. Aug 1940 Transf. from ‘C’ Coy.   KIA 11 Feb 1942 SW Bukit Timah aged 22 years.
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.






Total 11 Deaths SW Bukit Timah 11 Feb 1942

Additionally:  Pte Millhouse executed 19 Feb 1942

Commanding Officer: WX10788 Lt Henry ‘Harry’ Frederick GREEN – Enl. Jan 1941. KIA 11 Feb 1942 SW Bukit Timah – aged 22 years.
Enlisted 15 Jan 1941, trained Northam, Woodside SA and served Darwin. Previously with 11th Militia.  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 Arthur John Charles ROWLAND -enl. Oct 1941, He arrived as pone 146 Reinforcements on ‘Aquitania’ – 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.

Only 2/4th soldier to escape Singapore and successfully reached Australia.  Rowland later served with 2/3rd Machine Gun Battalion.

Is this the 2/4th Cpl who wrote to the family of WX13079 RONALD ‘RON’  EDWARD ELLIS of Wagin, one of 246 Reinforcements on ‘Aquitania’ who joined D Coy 16 Platoon, who died amputation following GSWs 10 Feb 1942 Singapore?

Please read story of the Bravery of another reinforcement
Ron Ellis
Corporals (4)


WX17251 Cpl Lloyd George  ASHBOLT – Enl 15 Oct 1941. Reinforcement.   POW ‘D’ Force Thailand S Btn Burma-Thai Railway, ‘Rashin’ Maru Party to Japan, Recovered Niihama, Japan. RTA.


WX14022 Cpl Ronald BURCHELL  – Enl. 11 Jun 1941. Reinforcement. 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. Laurence John  HARVEY – Enl. Jan 1941. Trasf from ‘C’ Coy to ‘E’ Coy.  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 Albert Brian Walter ANNETTS – Enl. 25 May 1941.  Reinforcement. Assigned to No. 1 Platoon under Commanding Officer Lt l Harry Green who was also KIA , but on 12 Feb.  Annetts was KIA 11 Feb 1942 SW Bukit Timah aged 23 years.    Annetts a farmer from Dalwalinu enlisted AIF 24 May 1941.
Privates (21)

Above:  WX17793 William Joseph ANDREWS – Enl. 26 Nov 1941. Reinforcement.   KIA 11 Feb 1942 SW Bukit Timah aged 24 years. Former Taxi driver.  Initially thought to be missing, then realised KIA.



WX16795 Frederick Charles CHAMBERS  – Missing believed KIA 11 Feb 1942.Reinforcement.   Former truck driver, born Menzies 1906 was 35 years old. Enl. 1 Oct 1941.


WX20026 William CAMERON – Scottish born Cameron Enl. 8 Sep 1941. Reinforcement.  KIA 11 Feb 1942 SW Bukit Timah, aged 33 years.


WX16306 Joseph COOK – Enl. 1 Sep 1941 was sent to Woodside SA to join 2/4th MGB. In Jan 1942 he transferred to ‘E’ Coy SRB, to No. 1 Platoon under Commanding Officer; Lt. Harry Green who was KIA 12 Feb 1942 at SW Bukit Timah.  Cook remained Singapore as POW. RTA.


WX20086 Gustave DAVIES  -Initially listed MIA – DOW 15 Feb 1942, aged 20 years.
 ‘Gus’  Davies was a Fairbridge
Farm Schoolboy.  He arrived Fremantle 1932 on the same ship as Ron Burchell and his brother.
WX17269 Kenneth Samuel EVANS– POW Green Force to Burma end of Railway.  Recovered Tamuang Camp, Thailand at end of war.


WX17974 Lionel Stephen GIBSON – KIA 11 Feb 1942 SW Bukit Timah, 19 years.  Enl. 10 Dec 1941.



WX16973 Arthur Mack HARGREAVES  KIA 11 Feb 1942 SW Bukit Timah, aged 27 years.


WX17582 George LAKE – Enl. 6 Nov 1941 from Collie.  POW perished Sandakan 8 Apr 1945 aged 23 years.

Collie boy George Lake died with ‘E’ Force Sandakan, Borneo 8 Apr 1945 aged 23 years and John Livingstone formerly with 10th Light Horse, died on Burma-Thai Railway aged 21 years.


WX17759 John Scott LIVINGSTONE – Enl. 24 Nov 1941 from Militia.  POW ‘D’ Force S Btn Burma-Thai Railway d. Tarsau Camp, Thailand 4 Sep 1943 Malaria & Tropical Ulcers aged 21.


WX17000 Frederick Noel MATTHEWS Known as ‘Cowboy’ Enl. 13 Oct 1941 underage. Reinforcement.   Scattered during Bukit Timah ambush and found ‘D’ Coy 13 Platoon – all experienced machine gunners.   Young ‘Cowboy’ remained with these men throughout the fighting until surrender.  POW to Burma-Thai Railway with ‘D’ Force S Btn, To Japan with ‘Rashin’ Maru. Recovered Niihama, Japan. RTA.


WX17837 Leslie William  McCANN Enl. 1 Dec 1941.   WIA SW Bukit Timah 11 Feb 1942 with mortar fragments to Rt Leg and later survived shooting by Japanese firing squad.  McCann and Millhouse had met up and moved together before being picked up by Japanese.  Please read further.  POW remained and recovered from Singapore.
The wounded Millhouse was killed.  R.S.M. Airey who survived the firing squad wrote of Pte. Millhouse that he thought him gallant to the last as he let his executioners know exactly what he thought of them with his last breath of life.
Millhouse, brave to the end was too young at 23 years of age, especially to die by firing squad.  Ockerby also died by Firing Squad.



WX16675 Rupert John  MILLHOUSE  Enl. 22 Sep 1941.  WIA SW Bukit Timah received four GSW to Rt leg . MIA from 11 Feb 1942. For no apparent reason, executed by Japanese Firing Squad 19 Feb 1942 aged 23 years. Following ambush Millhouse and McCann were behind Japanese lines for several days. McCann survived the execution squad, Millhouse’s injured leg hampered his walking.. Please read further


WX17737 Kenneth MOHER – 21 Nov 1941. POW Green Force to Burma worked Railway d. amoebic dysentery Khonkan Hospital Camp, Burma 24 Jul 1943 aged 28 years.



WX20107 Arthur RALPH – Enl. 8 Oct 1941.  Dislocated ligaments Rt knee 12 Feb 1942. Evacuated to Alexander Hospital. Discharged to unit 22 Feb 1942. Remained POW Singapore.


WX20068 Henry Waldock RALPH – Enl. 22 Sep 1941. KIA 11 Feb 1942 SW Bukit Timah aged 22 years.


WX10808 John ROCHESTER – Enl. 15 Jan 1941. 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 aged 36 years.


WX16885  Clifford Dudley SQUANCE – Enl. 6 Oct 1941. Escaped to Sumatra became POW. Recovered from Pakan Baroe Moearo Railway Sumatra.


WX17907 William Thomas SWANN – 7 Dec 1941.
Remained POW Singapore until end of war.


WX16956 Robert Sydneham WILLIAMS – Enl 8 Oct 1941.   Remained POW Singapore until end of war.



WX17973 John WILSON – Enl. 10 Dec 1941.  Wilson left Singapore to work Burma-Thai Railway with V Battalion.  Tragically John Wilson died of dysentery at Brankassi POW Camp, Thailand 25 Aug 1943 aged 36 years.









Total 15 deaths SW Bukit Timah 11 Feb 1942

Additionally Pte Robert Marsh, WIA stayed out, DOW Changi April 1942



Commanding Officer:  WX9382 Lt James (Jimmy) Till Enl Nov 1940.  DOW 13 Feb 1942 SW Bukit Timah aged 27 years. Till’s last known action was, although wounded to rush a Jap L.A. section and shoot its entire crew with his Bren gun.

Platts tried to pull the wounded Jimmy Till back, was KIA
Please read the story of Jimmy Till on Singapore  Historic War Stories
Platoon Sergeant:  WX16883 L/Cpl Norman Willis PLATTS  Enl. 6 Oct 1941.  Reinforcement. KIA 11 Feb 1942 SW Bukit Timah aged 31 years.   Platts pulled Lt Till back after he was wounded.

Please read further about Norm Platts

WX14172 Cpl Francis ‘Frank’ Clyde Evans – 11 June 1941. Escaped fighting with Wally Holding and Danny Crane walked back to Singapore. 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 Donald James GARDNER– Enl. 14 Jul 1941.  KIA 11 Feb 1942 SW Bukit Timah aged 22 years.


WX16886 Cpl Arthur Melville MAGILL – Enl. 6 Oct 1941.  Escaped to Sumatra. Recovered Pakan Baroe-Moearo Railway, Sumatra. RTA.
Magill was awarded the Military Medal for leadership during the various stages fought by SRB.
‘At BULLIM VILLAGE  on 9 Feb 1942 Magill was leading his section on a patrol when he encountered an enemy patrol with a machine gun.  He immediately engaged the enemy and killed five of them ……..  he was wounded in the neck and under the armpit.  Three of his section were killed **but he successfully withdrew the remainder to safety.  Although wounded Magill remained on with his section…….. On 10th Feb 1942 the Battalion was in a position on the JURONG ROAD and surrounded.  The Japanese attacked strongly at 0600 hours and in this action Private Magill again exhibited outstanding powers of leadership.  During the subsequent withdrawal the Battalion was ambushed and had to fight its way out. He again led his section with vigour and dash …… wounded in the hand and with his rifle smashed, he continued to fight on, assisting with a bren gun.  Six of his his section were KIA and he was wounded three times.  His section spoke very highly of his leadership, his behaviour throughout the action, despite his wounds, was an outstanding example of courage and devotion to duty. ‘ 

**Three killed were Darby, Munday and Thomsett.

WX17545 John Robertson BUCHAN – Enl. 4 Nov 1941. POW Green Force Burma worked Burma-thai Railway with Williams No. 1 Mobile Force. Recovered Thailand, last Camp Lopburi. RTA.

WX14068 Gordon Alexander  DALRYMPLE – enl. 11 June 1941.  KIA 11 Feb 1942 SW Bukit Timah aged 20 years.


WX15873 Sydney James  DARBY – enl Aug 1941. KIA 10 Feb 1942 Sungei Kranji-Sungei Jurong Defence Line, aged 19 years.   (Came to Australia as a young boy from England with his family).
Syd Darby known as ‘the Kid’  was first to lose his life on a patrol with Ern Thomsett and Ern Munday  led by  Cpl Magill.   The three young men were killed 10 Feb 1942.
WX17391 Martin William DAY  – From Jarrahdale.  Enl. 27 Oct 1941. KIA 11 Feb 1942 SW Bukit Timah aged 21 years.



WX20164 Augustus Evelyn ERSKINE  – Enl. 12 Nov 1941.  POW worked Burma end of Railway with Green Force. Working Bangkok go-downs at end of war. RTA.
Gus Erskine


WX18022 Frederick Joseph HEINZ-SMITH – Enl. 11 Dec 1941.POW ‘F’ Force Burma-Thai Railway d. 23 Oct 1943 Kami Sonkurai Camp tropical illnesses and ulcers aged 40 years.


WX17634 Walter (Wally) HOLDING – Enl. 12 Nov 1941.  Escaped fighting to reach Singapore.   POW with ‘F’ Force worked Burma-Thai Railway. Returned Singapore. Recovered Changi. RTA

Holding wrote a detailed description of his time as a POW.
He managed to escape the ambush scene, initially keeping hidden in the low scrub with several others including Evans and Crane walking by night and hiding during day and reached Singapore safely.

WX17351 Patrick George HURST – Enl. 22 Oct 1941.  KIA 11 Feb 1942 SW Bukit Timah aged 20 years.   Pat Hurst was another Fairbridge Farm School boy.   He arrived from England to Fremantle Christmas Day 1934.
WX17452 Laurence Daniel KEARNEY – Enl. 27 Oct 1942  – Stayed out with Robert Marsh who was seriously wounded.  They were captured by Japanese 7 March.  Seriously ill Marsh DOW 5 April 1942 18 years.  
As POW Kearneyworked 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.  Laurence Harvey perished.


WX16355 George Richard LEIPOLD enl. day after 19th birthday, 3 Sep 1941.   KIA 11 Feb 1942 SW Bukit Timah aged 19 years.


WX17778 Frederick John LUDGE Enl 26 Nov 1941.  KIA 11 Feb 1942 SW Bukit Timah aged 35 years.



WX17515 Ronald Rueben LYMN – Enl. 31 Oct 1941. POW with ‘J’ Force to Japan ‘Wales’ Maru worked Kobe. Recovered Toyama. RTA.


WX17639 Robert Walter MARSH –  Enl. 12 Nov 1941. WIA 11 Feb 1942 SW Bukit Timah –  Stayed out with Laurence Kearney until captured by Japanese 7 March 1942.  Admitted to AGM delirious, with wounds to hip and stomach. DOW 5 Apr 1942 at Changi. Aged 18 years.


WX17390 Ernest  ‘Ernie’ Montague MUNDAY –  Enl 27 Oct 1941.  KIA 10 Feb 1942 Sungei Kranji-Sungei Jurong Defence Line with Darby and Thomsett  on patrol with Cpl Magill.  Aged 25 years.
WX16674 James Joseph MURPHY – enl. 22 Sep 1941.  KIA 11 Feb 1942 SW Bukit Timah.  25 years of Age.


WX16293 Harris Herbert Thomas NORTON – Enl. 31 Sep 1941.  KIA 11 Feb 1942 Bald Hill, Bukit Timah aged 17 years.


WX16931 Henry Christopher OSWALD – Also known as Hugh Christopher Oswald.  Was found as stowaway on  ‘Aquitania’ – was formerly reinforcement to 2/16th.  Enl. 27 Jul 1941. 
Oswald  shell shocked was admitted 2/9th Field Ambulance 15 Feb 1942 and AGH on 16 Feb.  Discharged to unit on 21 Feb 1942.
POW ‘D’ Force V Btn Burma-Thai Railway died dysentery Kanchanaburi Hospital, Thailand 7 Nov 1943 aged 21 years.

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 Leonard PURCHON – Enl. Oct 1940.  KIA 11 Feb 1942 SW Bukit Timah aged 38 years.


WX16269 Edward John RONAN – Enl. 27 Aug 1941.  POW worked Burma-Thai Railway ‘D’ Force V Btn. Recovered from Ubon, Thailand. RTA


WX17899 Stanley George SCOTT – Enl. 3 Dec 1941 from Westonia.   KIA 11 Feb 1942 SW Bukit Timah aged 21.


WX17448 Harold Mervyn SMITH – Enl. 27 Oct 1941.
 **Older brother WX6841 John ‘Stewie’ 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.
Smith was listed as missing following the ambush at South-West Bukit Timah.
He escaped to Sumatra where he was imprisoned  at Padang, Gloe Gloer Camp. He was moved to Singapore with the Hirukiku Maru Party – it was sunk by British submarines. All but 169 POWs survived in the water about 4 hours before a Japanese tanker came by and picked them up.  They were taken to Singapore to River Valley Transport Camp for about a month before the POWs were sailed back to Sumatra. Harold was another POW to remain behind in Singapore – he suffered burst appendix.
(Three) 2/4th remained in Singapore, all suffering illness and didn’t continue their journey back to Sumatra. Harold Smith, Semple and Burgess.
This left four 2/4th men to return to work in Sumatra on the Railway:  Quinn, Annear, Squance and Magill who were joined by (Three) Java POWs from 2/4th – McAskil, Booth and Banks. (Total 7 men worked on the Railway – 5 survived)
 **Older brother WX6841 John ‘Stewie’ 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 Ernest James THOMSETT – Enl. 11 Nov 1941.  KIA 10 Feb 1942 Sungei Krangi-Sungei Jurong Defence Line aged 19 years. Was on patrol with mates Ern Munday and Syd Darby – they were all KIA.




Total six deaths SW Bukit Timah 11 Feb 1942

Commanding Officer:  WX726 Lt. A.E. (Harry) MAZZA 

Enl. 1 Aug 1940, Gwalia born Mazza was KIA 11 Feb 1942 S.W. Bukit Timah aged 22 years.


Platoon Sgt: WX15951 Cpl K.S. LANCE
Enl 21 Aug 1941 Reinforcment. Promoted 11 Feb 42
Survived Ambush.  Worked Burma-Thai Railway with Green Force No. 3 Battalion.  Recovered Nacompaton Camp, Thailand


WX16260 L/CPL E.A. CORNELL Reinforcement b. Northampton. Survived Ambush.  Worked Burma-Thai Railway with Green Force.  Recovered Thailand.


WX157000 Cpl. JOHN KINGDON – Reinforcement, survived ambush.  Worked Burma-Thai Railway with ‘D’ Force Thailand V Battalion.  Died Illness Kanchanaburi 13 October 1943 aged 27 years.


WX15684 Cpl John Ernest MULDOON – enl. 11 Aug 1941. KIA 11 Feb 1942 Bald Hill, Bukit Timah aged 19 years.


Privates X 20

WX16405 E.J. BURGESS – enlisted 10 Sept 1941.  A former miner who was born Boulder 1906, survived the ambush.  He worked on the Burma end of Railway with Green Force No. 3 Battalion.  Burgess was recovered from Thailand at the end of war.


WX17755 Manson William  Frank BUTCHER was a trainee teacher when he enlisted 24 Nov 1941.  This reinforcement was originally found to be missing before being announced KIA at Bukit Timah ambush 11 Feb 1942 aged just 19 years.

WX16425 Cyril Nichols CHAMBERLAIN – survived the Bukit Timah ambush and working on Burma Railway with V Btn.  This English born reinforcement was recovered from Thailand at the end of the war.


WX17591 Claude J. DOW – enl. 10 Nov 1941.  Claude survived the ambush – however found himself lost and behind Japanese lines.  He remained free for almost four months, stole a boat travelled to another small island, became ill with tropical illnesses and was reported by locals for a reward.  Claude’s escape is amazing.
Claude worked on Burma-Thai Railway with ‘D’ Force S Battalion and then selected by Japanese as being fit to work in Japan with ‘Rashin’ Maru Party.  He was recovered at end of war from Copper mines Yamane and Niihama.


WX16947 Roy Elliott ECCLESTONE – enl. 8 Oct 1941. Roy survived the ambush.  He left Singapore to work on Burma end of Railway with Green Force No. 3 Btn.  He was recovered from Thailand at the end of the war.


WX17374 NEAVE FLARTY – enl. 22 Oct 1941.  Flarty was wounded at Bald Hill, Bukit Timah and carried by mates to safety.  He was admitted to Alexander Hospital with a shrapnel wound to his right knee.  Flarty was discharged to his unit 23 Feb 1942.    He worked on Burma-Thai Railway with ‘D’ Force Thailand, T Battalion.  He was recovered from Thailand at the end of war.


WX17310 Norman Frederick Thomas  GOUGH – also survived Bukit Timah ambush and working on railway with ‘D’ Force Thailand V Battalion and sailed to Japan with ‘Aramis’ Party.  He worked at one of the toughest POW camps and mines – No. 17 Omuta from where he was recovered as did Jeffery (below).


WX17576 William Laurence JEFFERY – enl. 10 Aug 1941.  Jeffery survived the ambush and working on Burma-Thai Rail with V Battalion.  Sent with ‘Aramis’ Party to work in Japan.  He was recovered from Omuta Camp – a notorious Japanese POW Camp and mine as did Gough (above).


WX15640 Henry Joseph JOHNSON b. Adelaide 1920 Enl. 6 Aug 1941. Survived Bukit Timah ambush.  Worked on Burma-Thai Railway with ‘D’ Force Thailand S Battalion with Cowboy Matthews and others.  Was recovered from Kachu Mountain Camp, Thailand at the end of the war.


WX20095 William (Bill) Alexander McEWEN enl. 1 Oct 1941.  This reinforcement survived the ambush and went on to work on Railway with Green Force No. 3 Btn in Burma.  He was recovered from Thailand at end of war.


WX17302 William MacLEOD – Scottish born MacLeod enlisted 17 Oct 1941.  He survived the ambush and remained in Singapore throughout the war probably because he was previously a  powerhouse assistant and his skills would have proved valuable at Changi.


WX17414 John Stanley PETERS – 20 year old reinforcement John Peters was KIA at SW Bukit Timah on 11 Feb 1942.


WX13429 W.N. POOLE – enl. 23 May 1941.  20 year old reinforcement Poole was KIA 11 Feb 1942 at SW Bukit Timah.


WX20074 John (Jack) Thomas RIDLEY – Reinforcement and English born Ridley survived Bukit Timah ambush in 1942 at Singapore.  Tragically Jack Ridley lost his life working on Burma-Thai Railway with V Battalion.  He died 8 Nov 1943 at Tamarkan Base Hospital No. 3 of tropical ulcers and malaria aged 40 years.


WX16518 Ronald William ROBERTS enlisted 22 Sept 1941 died in the Bukit Timah Ambush on 11 Feb 1942 aged 20 years.


WX17344 Albert (Bert) SLATER enl. 22 Oct 1941 he survived the Bukit Timah ambush, however tragically died of beri beri 26 Sept 1943 aged 22 years at Kuii POW camp on Burma-Thai Railway with ‘D’ Force V Battalion.


WX17594 George Clifford STONE – reinforcement George survived the Bukit Timah ambush.  He also left Singapore to work on Burma end of the Railway.  Stone died 1 March 1944 at Tamarkan Hospital Camp, Thailand of malaria and dysentery aged 25 years.


WX17593 Harold Raymond TURNER –  died
Sandakan North Borneo of malaria 8 May 1945 aged 25 years.


WX17962 Edward William (Ted) WALLIN – Fremantle born Ted Wallin enlisted 10 Dec 1941.  As a reinforcement he became soldier of ‘E’ Coy No. 3 Platoon under C.O. Lt Harry Mazza who was KIA at Bukit Timah.  Ted survived the Japanese ambush.  He worked on Burma-Thai
Railway with ‘F’ Force – another lucky escape.  So many men died of illness with ‘F’ Force.  He was recovered from Singapore having returned at end of 1943.
During his latter years, Ted devoted much of his time to the 2/4th MGB ex-Members Assoc.


WX17604 Michael Henry WILKINS (also known as Percival Henry Wilkins) enl.10 Nov 1941.  This reinforcement also survived also survived the Bukit Timah ambush.  Wilkins worked on Burma-Thai Railway with ‘D’ Force Thailand V Battalion which suffered a very high rate of illness and deaths.  He was sent to work in Japan with ‘Aramis’ Party.  He was recovered from Fukuoka sub-Camp No. 12 Miyata.




During the following years of captivity a further (14) men from ‘E’ Coy lost their lives.


Five (5) men died at Sandakan, North Borneo:  Hack, Wilkes, Keay, George Lake and Harold Turner.
Platoon Sergeant  WX16883 L/Cpl Norman Willis PLATTS   KIA 11 Feb 1942 SW Bukit Timah aged 31 years.  Platts pulled Lt Till back after he was wounded.
Eight (8) men died illness on Burma-Thai Railway: John Clare, Livingstone, Moher, Heinz-Smith, Oswald, Ridley, Albert Slater, and George Stone.
One (1) man Cpl Laurence Harvey perished when ‘Rakuyo’ Maru was attacked by US Sub Marine Sept 1944 in South China Sea – Miraculously Kearney survived in water long enough to be recovered by USSS Sea Lion and quietly returned home to WA end of 1944 with other 2/4th survivors!
18 year old Robert Marsh with GSW to stomach and left hip stayed out with Kearney until captured by Japanese 7 March. Delirious Marsh was in a terrible way when he arrived AGH.  He died 5 April.
OSWALD was stowaway from Fremantle on ‘Aquitania’ . 
Total eight (8) men were from Pinjarra Fairbridge Farm – Four were KIATooze, Burchell, Davies and Hurst.  Only Matthews survived the war.  A further three men were inlucluded in Reinforcements – Harry Lucas, Tom Pilmoor and Reg Pascall.  They survived.
Cpl Magill was awarded a Military Medal.  WIA  at Bulim Vallage 9/2/1942.  He received gunshot wounds to his neck and armpit from a light automatic weapon. Magill was wounded again at South-West Bukit Timah on 11/2/1942 this time receiving a gunshot wound to his 3rd and 4th fingers on his right hand and a gunshot wound to his leg.
Following the ambush Magill ran.  He met up with Squance.  Magill who could not swim was saved from drowning during the escape from the  ambush by Squasher Squance, who pushed him up a bank.
The two of them then met Edward Hopson from 7 Platoon who had been missing from his Platoon since Pasir Panjang of evening of 15 Feb 1942.
The three POWs were later captured by Japanese on 17/3/1942 and imprisoned at Sumatra.  (Hopson died of illness).  Smith also made it to Sumatra and was imprisoned Gloe Gloer.
Les McCann was wounded in the right leg by mortar fire and took refuge in one of the native huts at the opposite side of the clearing. On the 13th February he was joined by Rupert Millhouse who had received 4 machine gun bullets to the right leg.
Millhouse was one of 5 men from 2/4th executed by Japanese.  Miraculously McCann was one of two 2/4th who woke to find themselves wounded and escaped.  The other was Airey Please read story
OSWALD stowaway from Fremantle on ‘Aquitania’ originally drafted to reinforcements 2/16th was transferred to 2/4th on 16 Feb 42.  Suffered shell shock admitted to AGH on 16 Feb and returned to Unit on 21 Feb 1942. He later worked with V Battalion on Burma-Thai Railway and was evacuated sick to Kanchanaburi POW Hospital.  He was 21 years old when he died of dysentery 7 Nov 1943.  He had falsified his enlistment stating he was 21 !


Please read about the attempts to recover the bodies of ‘E’ Coy

Late  Pte. RON ELLIS, No. 16 Platoon

Heroism at Singapore 

An interesting letter has been received by Mrs. G. Ellis, of Wagin containing news of her late son, Pte. Ron Ellis, who was recently reported as having died of wounds at Singapore.
The Letter comes from a very reliable source, and having seen the original for ourselves, we can vouch for its authenticity. However, as permission has not been given by the writer to publish her name, we will not disclose the source of the information. The letter is sufficient to show that Ronny Ellis, during his tragically short period of actual service, proved himself to be a real Australian soldier, with everything that it takes to be a hero!
Efforts are now being made by local Authorities to see that the action of the late Pte. Ellis, in rescuing an officer under heavy enemy fire is reported to and recognised by the Military Authorities.
The letter received by Mrs. Ellis reads as follows: –
‘Dear Mrs. Ellis,
You will no doubt be very surprised to receive this letter from a stranger, but as my brother fell in the same battle as your son Ronald, and I have been able to gain some details – particularly in relation to your boy – I am taking the liberty of writing this to you in the confidence that it will bring you pride and some consolation. I feel sure that you will want to know all that can be found out, as much as I have wished to learn about my brother’s death, but without success.
The news I have for you was given me by a Corporal of the 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion, who escaped from Singapore near the end of the battle, and has been back in Perth some three weeks. I, of course was anxious to learn if he knew anything of my brother, but, unfortunately, as they had been in different Companies, they were unknown to one another. However your son Ronald was known to the Corporal, and I am glad to be able to tell you that your son’s courage and devotion to duty were all that anyone could hope.
In the Cpl.’s own words, “Ronnie saved my life”.
As related to me, it appears that about a dozen men were endeavouring to carry out a retirement, when they found that they were caught on three sides by Japanese troops and were consequently forced to swim a river to escape. Discarding all equipment, they entered the water and endeavoured to reach the opposite bank. All succeeded in doing so except the Corporal, who is a bad swimmer and he got into great difficulties in midstream. Thereupon, your son returned to him and assisted him to the far bank, all the time under dangerous fire from the enemy. It was a great example of absolute unselfishness and fearlessness and, I am sure will be a source of great pride to you.
The above occurred on Monday, February 9th and the Corporal was with your son until Wednesday the 11th, when they lost touch with one another. I understand that it was on the next day that your son was reported to have died. Please accept my sincere sympathy in your sad loss, and I know that you will understand that I can enter fully into your feeling of sorrow and loss, as my brother fell on the next day and I did truly love my brother ________
Yours sincerely, _______________
The only 2/4th soldier to escape Singapore at that time  and return to Australia was Cpl Arthur Rowland. Rowland was not see again after 11 Feb 1942.   He managed to reach Sumatra and board a ship departing for Ceylon prior to the Japanese taking control of Sumatra.  Rowland returned from Ceylon to Australia. He then served with 2/3 MGB.