Edward Johnathon (Ted) Leadbitter

From Our Contribution

Edward Johnathon (Ted) Leadbitter
Leadbitter Edward Johnathon.jpg
Leadbitter Marriage.jpg
Personal Information
Date of Birth 5 December 1918
Place of Birth London, England
Death 10 October 1943
Place of Death Kuii, Thailand
Age at Enlistment 21 years, 11 months
Occupation Gardener
Religion Church of England
Address Armadale, Western Australia
Next of Kin Wife , Mrs. Winifred Leadbitter
Military Information
Reg Number WX8425
Date of Enlistment 18 October 1940
Rank Private
Unit/Formation 15 Platoon, D Company 2/4th Australian Machine Gun Battalion
Post War Details
Fate POW
Died from Cholera
Monument(s) Armadale War Memorial
ANZAC Memorial Park (Byford)
WA State War Memorial
External Monument(s) The Australian Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial Ballarat, Victoria
Australian War Memorial Australian War Memorial
Medals 1939-45 Star
Pacific Star
War Medal 1939-45
Australian Service Medal 1939-45

Pre War

Sent out to Australia as an orphan to the Kingsley Fairbridge Farm School near Pinjarra, as his father had died in the Battle of Jutland, and his mother when he was 11 years old. In 1935 and 1936 Ted Leadbitter was working at Yandal Station, Leonora. Ted is recorded in ‘Fairbridgian’ magazine as attending the Mandurah summer camp in 1936 and he also managed to spend Christmas Day at Fairbridge. On 15 Mar 1941 Ted Leadbitter married Winifred Maude Purcher in Perth.

War Service

Ted enlisted in the 2nd AIF at Claremont on 18 Oct 1940 and on the 22nd he was set to the Recruit Training Depot at Ascot. On 25 Nov 1940 he transferred to the No. 1 Depot Battalion at Northam. On 4 Sep 1940 Ted was transferred to the 2/4th Australian Machine Gun Battalion at Northam. From 6 until 20 Jan 1941 he attended a training course for Motor Transport Drivers at Claremont, qualifying as a Trade Group II Driver. He was then granted pre-concentration leave from 1 until 8 Jul 1941 and on 13 Jul 1941 entrained for Adelaide where he arrived on 16 July.

On 2 Sep 1941 he was charged with having been AWOL from midnight 1 Sep 1941 until 11:00am on 2 Sep 1941, forfeiting a days pay, and he was admonished. He was AWOL again from midnight 10 Oct 1941 until 11:00 on 11 Oct 1941, forfeiting another days pay and earning himself 14 days CB (Confined to Barracks). On 12 Oct 1941 the unit entrained for the Northern Territory, arriving there on 23 Oct 1941. Ted was admitted to the 119th Australian General Hospital on 29 Nov 1941 with Dengue Fever, returning to his unit on 6 Dec 1941. On 30 Dec 1941 he embarked on either SS Marella, or HMAS Westralia for Port Moresby where they transshipped to HMT Aquitania. The Aquitania then sailed via Sydney and Fremantle to Ratai Bay on Java where the troops were transshipped to two smaller Dutch ships for the final stage into Singapore, arriving there on 24 Jan 1942. While in Fremantle Ted was one of those that went AWOL, but was able to make it back to the ship before it sailed. He was charged with being AWOL from 2:00pm on 15 Jan 1942 until noon the next day, and was fined 40/- ($4).

A member of 2/4th Australian Machine Gun Battalion's 15 Platoon, D Company, Ted was listed as missing from 8 Feb 1942. He had been captured by the Japanese on the west coast of Singapore, but did escape and later rejoined his unit after the surrender. His Singapore POW Number was 3/8489, before becoming a member of 'D' Force's 'V' Battalion, sent to Thailand with POW No. 2266. While his cause of death is listed as Cholera, he had been delirious with Malaria, and as a result was kicked and beaten for 30 minutes by a Japanese Engineer Corporal known as 'Black Cat'. Ted died 14 days later on 10 Oct 1943 at Kuii, Thailand, aged 24.

Ted's Platoon, with Ted in the back row, 3rd from left

Grave No. 196 Later at Knchanaburi War Cemetery Collective Grave Plot 3; Row G; Grave 35-39.

Newspaper reports "Missing" - West Aust 23 Jul 1942; "POW" - West Australian 30 Sep 1943; "Previously POW, now Died of illness while POW" - West Australian 2 Oct 1945.

  • Kanchanaburi War Cemetery
  • Edward Leadbitter's grave location
  • Leadbitter_grave_marker.jpg


External Links