Richard William Dowell
From Our Contribution
|Date of Birth||22 Nov 1920|
|Place of Birth||Subiaco, Western Australia|
|Death||16 Jan 2006, aged 85|
|Place of Death||Maddington, Western Australia|
|Age at Enlistment||20 years, 4 months|
|Description||5'10¾" (1.80m) tall ; ; sallow complexion ; brown eyes ; black hair|
|Address||Albany road, Bedfordale, Western Australia|
|Next of Kin||Wife , Mrs. Dorothy May Dowell|
|Date of Enlistment||6 Mar 1941|
|Unit/Formation||20th Australian Employment Company|
|Post War Details|
|Fate||Remained in Australia|
During 1943 Richard married Dorothy May Denton. Dorothy died in Gosnells on 19 Aug 2007, aged 81.
Richard's enlistment papers are marked "C.O. Non combatant only". As a result, on enlistment he was taken on full time and allocated to the Australian Army Medical Corp Training Depot. However, on 9 Nov 1942 Richard was sent to the 16th Australian Training Company ('B' Class) at Northam. On completion of his training he was sent to the 12th Australian Employment Company at Davilak (Cockburn) where he was taken on strength on 30 Dec 1942.
From 6 Jan to 1 Feb 1943 he was detached to District Supply Depot Northam's detachment at Spencer's Brook, before he was detached to Marrinup Prisoner of War Camp (Camp No 16) from 6 Jan to 1 Feb 1943 and again from 9 Feb to 30 Jun 1943. From 2 Jul to 8 Nov 1943 Richard was detached to the 8th Australian Supply Depot Company, and from 17 Nov 1943 until 23 Feb 1944 he was detached to a unit in Karrakatta. On 4 Mar 1944 Richard and his unit entrained in Fremantle for the Queensland Line of Communication Area. There he was detached several times between 18 Dec 1944 and 14 Sep 1945 to the 2nd Australian RSD.
On 24 Sep 1945 Richard was transferred to the 20th Australian Employment Company and on 25 Oct 1945 he headed home for an early discharge, the result of his special priority allotted by the Queensland Line of Communication Area. Richard was discharged on 12 Nov 1945.
Electoral Roll entries: 1949 - 1954 at Albany highway, Bedfordale, gardener and orchardist; 1977 at 35 Marian avenue, Armadale, labourer.
During the period 1939 - 1945 some unit names changed more than once. In the case of Australian Employment Companies they were also known as Works Companies, Labour Companies, Labour Units, Labour Corps. For sake of consistency I have adopted the term Employment Company. The role they played did not change with title. They were established to ensure that the Australian Defence Force had a large force of soldiers dedicated to essential labouring tasks, providing the physical labour needed to maintain the war effort and support the fighting forces.
Of the total of 39 Companies, 11 were part or fully manned by non British citizens known then as 'aliens'. These alien companies were not issued with arms. The 20th Company was not one of them.