Following the capitulation of Singapore those men of the 8th Division that were able to walk, were marched the 17 miles to Selarang Barracks Changi. This Barracks was situated on the north-eastern tip of Singapore on the Changi Peninsula.
At first the Japanese were reasonably lax with their treatment of their new wards and preferred, in the AIF’s case, for the Austalian’s to be autonomous and operate under their own administration. It wasn’t until August that the Japanese began to organize Changi as a POW Camp proper.
The 2/4th Machine Gun battalion arrived at Roberts Artillery Barracks at 0300 hours on the 18th February 1942. Later that day they were billeted out in three bungalows attached to Selarang. There were approximately 192 men from HQ’s Coy 2/4th in house No.38 under command of Capt. “Bob” Phelps, 255 men from ‘A’ and ‘B’ Coy’s in house No.35 under Capt. Tom Bunning and 235 men from ‘C’ and ‘D’ Companies in house No. 34 under the command of the newly appointed Major Colin Cameron.
There doesn’t appear to have been too many complaints at this stage of captivity and as the working parties, the likes of Adam Park group moved out, more space became available. By the time ‘A’ Force moved out all remaining 2/4th had been concentrated in house No. 35.
Singapore Camp Locations
On 4th April 1942 2800 men of the AIF moved out of Selarang Barracks Changi to Bukit Timah area a vicinity of the MacRitchie Reservoir. The 2/4th had been ordered to supply 300 men for the occasion, under the command of Major Alf Cough. There were five sub-camps in this area being Adam Park, Sime Road, Thompson Road (Caldecot Hill Estate, Mount Pleasant Estate and Lornie Road. Three of the camps were former housing estates and the other two were atap style native hutted camps.
Corporal Stan Currie led a party of twenty-seven men from the 2/4th to River Valley Road Camp on 30th October 1942. River Valley Road would later become one of several transit camps where men who had returned to Singapore would mark time whilst they waited for available shipping before being forwarded to Japan and Saigon. Havelock Road Camp was another camp close by separated from River Valley Camp by a footbridge. There were fifty-nine members from the 2/4th at Havelock Road who would, like the rest of the work parties around Singapore , return to Selarang Barracks in December 1942.
Major Bert Saggers took a party of 278 AIF to Serangoon Road Camp on 25th May 1942. This camp had been an internment camp for the Chinese and consisted of atap huts even less palatial than the Sime Road Camp. This group shared their accommodation with a number of British Prisoners of War employed at the Ford Motor Works.