Subiaco WW2 Memorial



WX17793 ANDREWS, William Joseph born 1917 Mosman Park to Frederick and Rosa Andrews.  He enlisted 26 November 1941.  He joined 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion as reinforcement 16 January 1942.  He had barely one month’s training!  He joined ‘E’ Company, Special Reserve Battalion (made up of reinforcements!)  This Company was decimated when it ran into a Japanese ambush at South West Bukit Timah.  Andrews was 24 years old when he died 11 February 1942.

Read further about ‘E’ Company



WX7646 HUTCHISON, Robert Bamford born Subiaco April 1912 to Thomas and Violet Hutchison.  He enlisted AIF August 1940, later joined 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion’s ‘D’ Company as a cook.  During short battle to save Singapore, Hutchinson was wounded in action 12 February 1942 receiving shrapnel wounds to his back.

As a POW in Singapore, he was sent to northern most point of Burma-Thai Railway to work with ‘A’ Force Burma, Green Force No. 3 Battalion.  This Force of 3,000 POWs was first to leave Singapore by 3 ships to south west Burma May 1942.  Initially ‘A’ Force worked on three air fields damaged by the departing British Forces before making their way to Burma rail link where they began working 1 October 1942.  They were the first Australians to work on the rail link and would also work the longest time, until end of 1943.  Having survived Burma-Thai Railway, Hutchinson was then selected ‘fit’ to work in Japan.

This work Force would become known as ‘Rakuyo Maru’ Party  They were firstly sent to Saigon,French Indo-China where Japanese intended to send POWs by sea to Moji.    After several months during which time POWs worked around the docks and Saigon, the Japanese finally conceded they would have to send the POW shipment to leave from Singapore.  The American submarines had successfully blockaded the coast around Saigon.

Too many Japanese ships lay in waters around Saigon.

The ‘Rakuyo Maru’ work Party finally departed Singapore September 1944.  On 12 September ‘Rakuyo Maru’ was torpedoed by American submarine wolf pack.    It took 12 hours to sink.  Most POWs initially managed to access floating debris, lifeboats , etc.  But there was no rescue and Japanese shipping left them to fend for themselves in  South China Sea without food and water.  Most perished.  Some were lucky, they were recovered by the same submarines which attacked their convoy.   Robert Hutchison was 32 years old when he perished.

You can read further about ‘Rakuyo Maru’


WX17363 NASH, Claude Ocea born Subiaco May 1919.  He was son of Richard Harry (Dick) Nash MP and Ruby Piper.  Claude enlisted 22 October 1941 and became a reinforcement to 2/4th, boarding ‘Aquitania’ Fremantle 15 January 1942.  He had just two months AIF training at Northam Camp.  He joined ‘D’ Company, was wounded in action 9 February 1942, admitted to 2/13th Australian Hospital with small fragments of shrapnel in his arm.  Discharged to unit  16 February 1942.  Nash was selected at Singapore to sail to Borneo with ‘E’ Force (along with George Taylor below).  Claude Nash left Sandakan with one of the first marches and reached Ranau.   He died Ranau 23 March 1943.  He Japanese records show he died of ‘acute entestinalitis’.  Claude was 26 years old.

Claude’s brother Arthur Frederick Richard Nash died 1942 in Belgium.

Please read further about ‘E’ Force Borneo



WX7416 PREEDY, Eric  Lincoln born Subiaco 1913.  He enlisted with AIF August 1940, later joining 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion’s HQ Company as a carpenter.  He married 1936 to Mavis Muriel Dodd.  They had three sons.

He died of acute enteritis at Brankassi Camp, Thailand aged 30 years.  He was sent to work on Burma Thai Railway with ‘D’ Force Thailand, V Battalion which endured a horrific loss of life. They departed by train from Singapore 17 March 1943.  Crowded into small rail trucks for 4-5 days – freezing old at night, stinking hot during the day.  Any POWs suffering dysentery were held by mates as he leaned his body out the open rail door – always hoping to give men in the following truck sufficient time to pull their legs inside!  

Please read further.


WX8067 TAYLOR, George William born Derbyshire, England arrived Fremantle from London 1928 ‘Berrima’ aged 26 years. Initially worked as farm labourer Wubin.  He married Lucy May Digwood from Collie in l932.  They had a son Laurence born 1935.  The Taylor family resided Subiaco in 1937 through to 1943.  George enlisted AIF 23 October 1940, later joining 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion’s ‘A’ Company HQ as driver/mechanic.  He was promoted 24 January 1942 to Corporal.

As a POW of Japan in Singapore he was selected to work with ‘E’ Force Borneo, sailing from Singapore in March 1943.  George was one of about 2,000 POWs at Sandakan when in January 1945, the Japanese plan to move to other side of Borneo to evade the Allies.  The POWs were in very poor health.  They had been worked like slaves in Borneo for more than 18  months in an unforgiving climate, subjected to tropical illnesses, brutality by the guards and were existing on minimal rations.  Many were bedridden in a so called ‘hospital’ where there were no medical supplies and once sick, you were only entitled to half daily food quota.

The Japanese records show George Taylor died of malaria 2 March 1945 at Sandakan No. 1 Camp.  We can never know what George died from.  He was 43 years old and had a young wife and his son waiting for him at home.  George was one of 70 men from 2/4th who lost their lives at Sandakan.  (in all there were 6 survivors – they had escaped their captors, most who escaped were handed back to Japanese, tortured and killed).

There is a Sandakan Memorial at Boyup Brook with names of every West Australian (about 200) who died.  Please read further. about Sandakan Memorial Boyup Brook.


WX7166 WERRETT,  Herbert Stanley born 1899 Perth, Western Australia to parents Thomas and Madge Werrett.  He enlisted aged 17 years and fought WW1, serving in France with 28th Battalion Service No. 7386.  He was discharged 17 October 1919.

Werrett again enlisted AIF on  2 August 1940 and joined 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion, ‘C’ Company.

Werrett died of wounds at Alexandra Hospital, Singapore on 14th February 1942 aged 42 years.    He was listed as missing in action from 11th February 1942 probably from Ulu Pandan area.  Singapore fell to Japan on 15 February 1942.

Stan married Annie Singleton (1889-1966) in Subiaco on 24th Oct 1925. Annie was a widow, 11 years older, who had 2 children.  Stan and Annie went on to have 3 children (Shirley, Herbert Stanley (Stan) and Norman).

Shirley remembered as a child playing around the commemorative clock tower at Subiaco Gardens and knowing her father’s name was missing from it. The family story was that the Subiaco Council refused to put it (Stan”s name) on the clock tower War Memorial because my grandfather wasn’t a ratepayer. Annie, his wife, owned all the property that she had inherited from her parents. A good fight was put up and finally 50 years to the day (1992) of Stan’s death his name was inscribed on the clock, albeit out of alphabetical order.
This information provided by Stan’s granddaughter Jenny Clegg (2017).

How many Western Australian Councils had the same guidelines for their War Memorials??

Below:  A young Stan Werret seated left, front.
28th Australian Infantry Battalion, 5th Australian Training Battalion.  Photo taken Fovant, Wiltshire, England May 918.

After arriving in England they temporarily transferred to the 5th Training Battalion and, as they were measles contacts, were put into isolation before returning to their unit to serve in France. Left side of table, front to back: A Werrett (probably 7386 Private (Pte) Herbert Stanley Werrett); 7331 Pte Alfred Edward Morgan; 7259 Pte Clarence Richard Butterfield (Dick) Lamb; 7055 Pte George Edward Evans; 7307 Pte James Leslie Harold Hooper; 7337 Pte Owen Lancelot Oakey (obscured); and 7279 Pte Jim Corney. Right side of table, front to back: 7256 Pte David Harris Ball; 7264 Pte John Henry Allen; 7343 Pte Frederick Thomas Ridgwell; 7378 Pte Ernest Thompson; 7341 Pte Robert Pendlebury; 7366 Pte William Stanley Wacher; 7333 Pte William Robert Newman; and 7352 Pte Alfred Thomas Smith. Pte Ball, a teacher from Greenbushes, WA, prior to enlistment, was killed in action at Mont St Quentin, France, on 2 September 1918. He was aged 38. Pte Smith, a warehouse employee and assistant druggist from Subiaco, WA, prior to enlistment, was killed in action at Lagnicourt, France, on 15 September 1918. He was aged 19.