Fred Whitaker

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Fred Whitaker
Whitaker Fred 1.jpg
Photo used in "Colour Patch - 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion 1940-45
Whitaker Fred.jpg
Unlikely photo from a Family Tree on Ancestry - appears to be different from the one above
Personal Information
Date of Birth 28 Feb 1907
Place of Birth Sheffield, Yorkshire, England
Death 6 Aug 1943
Place of Death Hindain, Thailand
Age at Enlistment 34 years, 1 month
Occupation Truck driver
Religion Church of England
Address Langley street, Katanning
Next of Kin Wife , Mrs. Annie Elizabeth Whitaker
Military Information
Reg Number WX16274
Date of Enlistment 29 Aug 1941
Rank Private
Unit/Formation 2/4th Australian Machine Gun Battalion
Military Movement
1st Departure from Australia
Journey Dates 30 Dec 1941 ‒ 24 Jan 1942
Transport Details HMAT Aquitania Darwin to Singapore via Sydney & Fremantle
Post War Details
Fate POW Singapore
Died of Illness while a POW
Monument(s) Roleystone Roll of Honour
Katanning War Memorial
Ballarat POW Memorial
WA State War Memorial
Australian War Memorial Australian War Memorial
Medals 1939-45 Star
Pacific Star
War Medal 1939-45
Australian Service Medal 1939-45

Pre War

War Service

Fred enlisted at the Western Command General Details Camp in Claremont on 29 Aug 1941, and on 2 Sep 1941 he was allocated for training to the 3rd Training Battalion at Northam. There on 10 Sep 1941 he was admitted to the Camp Hospital with influenza, rejoining his training unit on 18 Sep 1941. From 27 Sep 1941 until 4 Oct 1941 Fred was granted Pre-embarkation Leave. On his return he entrained on 4 Oct 1941 for the 4th Military District in South Australia arriving there on 8 October, before departing Adelaide on 14 Oct 1941 for Darwin. He had been transferred from the General Reinforcement Pool to the 2/4th Australian Machine Gun Battalion on 5 Oct 1941 posted to the unit's Headquarters Company.

Along with his unit, Fred arrived in Darwin om 25 Oct 1941 as part of a build up in its defence, however by late December 1941 events elsewhere in the Pacific meant that the 2/4th Australian Machine Gun Battalion was needed in Singapore to support the Australian 8th Infantry Division. On 30 Dec 1941 they boarded HMAT Aquitania, but rather than sail directly to Singapore they travelled via Port Moresby, Sydney and Fremantle and they didn't disembark in Singapore until 24 Jan 1942. (In Fremantle Fred had been AWOL from 2:00pm on 15 January until 9:00am on 16 January, one of approx 1,300 troops from the ship who had escaped ashore despite no leave being granted and shore patrols positioned to stop them. Fred was fined 40/- (£2 or $4).

The next entry in Fred's records states simply they he was a 'Prisoner of War in Changi on 15 Feb 1942. On 26 Aug 1942 as POW No 1/9704 he was admitted to 2/13th Australian General Hospital at Changi with Beri Beri. It was not until 4 Nov 1942 that he rejoined his unit. During his time in Singapore he was at various imes at Selarang Camp in Changi, Johore Baru and Adam Park before being sent back to Selarang Barracks after the surrender.

On 17 Mar 1943 as part of V Battalion, D Force with a new POW No. of 2298, Fred entrained in Singapore for Thailand to work on the infamous Burma Railway. Fred was allocated to Group 6 and was located at Hindaine where he died from Dysentry on 6 Aug 1943 aged 36.
‘This camp is just hell, the whole area a sea of black stinking mud, very little food; and men dying every day. For the last three weeks we have eaten nothing but rice and dried fish; for three weeks prior to that we had rice and dried cabbage at the rate of one cupful of rice plus a dessert spoon of fish or cabbage. The men cannot last much longer unless we get some decent food and medical supplies. I am tired of reading burial services and watching my men die without being able to lift a hand to help them; they are full of courage and keep their chins up until the last moment.’......28 men died at this camp including several 2/4th machine gunners

Initially buried at the Linson Camp Cemetery, Grave No. 15, on 8 Feb 1946 his body was exhumed, and he was reburied in the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery Plot 1, Row G, Grave No. 76

  • Kanchanaburi War Cemetery
  • Fred's grave location


Fred's records do not show a link to the Armadale district, but he is the only F. Whitaker who enlisted in WA and his name is on the Roleystone Roll of Honour.

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