CRIPPS David Charles WX15783 was born December 1921 Geraldton. He enlisted 13 August 1941 and joined ‘A’ Company HQ. Following the fight for Singapore and Allied Capitulation he was taken POW of Japan. He was interned at Selarang Camp, Singapore however joined work parties around the island before being selected to work on the Burma end of Thai-Burma Railway with ‘A’ Force Burma, Green Force No. 3 Battalion. He survived working on the railway and was fortunate not to fall seriously ill. When the railway was completed, all the POWs working in Burma were sent south to Thailand to one of several large camps. Cripps was selected fit from Tamarkan Camp, Thailand to sail to Japan to work.
He lost his life aged 22 years when the ship ‘Rakuyo’ Maru on which he was a POW was hit by torpedoes from an American Submarine ‘wolf pack’ in the South China Sea September 1944. His mate from Northampton, Jimmy Randall also lost his life at the same time. Their Japanese guards left the men to fend for themselves.
OSBORNE, Eric Francis WX16279 was born 31 August 1922 Perth, Western Australia to Henry Joseph Osborne and Edith Beatrice Ash of Isseka. Osborne had spent most of his young life in an Clontarf Orphanage, Geraldton as his mother died in 1929. He enlisted 1 September 1941 and joined ‘A’ Company HQ with Cripps.
Eric Osborne & Davey Cripps have a family connection. Davey’s young mother Mary Grace Ridley was widowed with young Davey. Widowed Mary remarried about 1927 into another Northampton family – Bertie Ash – an older brother of Edith Beatrice Osborne (nee Ash) – Eric’s mother. Bertie Ash’s young wife died a year or so earlier, leaving him with four young children. Sadly the marriage ended in divorce in 1948.
Tragically Osborne was killed in action 15 February 1942, he was very young, only 19 years of age having enlisted the day he turned 19 as so many keen young men did. Please read further.
RANDELL Ernest Edward WX16356 (Jimmy) was born 1908 at Northampton to Edward Harrison and Martha Randall. He was married to Jessie Oxenham about 1940. Jimmy enlisted 3 Sept 1941 and joined 2/4th MG Battalion’s ‘A’ Company HQ as did Cripps, Sutherland and Osborne.
Jimmy Randall was 36 years old when he perished in the South China Sea following the sinking of ‘Rakuyo’ Maru.
SUTHERLAND, Donald Elias WX15967 was born 28 March 1921 Fremantle to William James Alexander and Amelia Georgina Victoria Sutherland. Don enlisted 22 August 1941. He joined 2/4th MG Battalion’s ‘A’ Company HQ with Cripps, Osborne and Randall as reinforcements.
During the battle for Singapore, Don was Killed in Action at Tanglin Halt, Buona Vista, Singapore on 15th February 1942 as was Eric Osborne. He was just 20 years old.
Those who survived and returned to Australia included:
WX15785 CARLYON, William (Bill)
WX16260 CORNELL, Edward Ainsley (Ted)
WX20095 McEWEN, William Alexander (Bill)
WX8141 SIMKIN, Ronald Henry (Ron)
Below: Rail map. Showing route from Geraldton through Northampton to Ajana.
Below: Ridley and Cripps families.