Starr,  Walter Edwin


NX32505    Private  

2/30th Australian Infantry Battalion


Military Record

Enlisted on 17.6.1940 in NSW and was posted to the 6th Australian Battalion at Marrickville Sydney. He was promoted to the rank of Acting Corporal on19.7.1940.

Starr was sent to Tamworth where he joined the 2nd Infantry Training Battalion on 13.9.1940 and reverted to the rank of Private. He was posted to the 2/30th Infantry Battalion on 12.11.1940 and the Battalion moved to Bathurst before embarking for Singapore on 29.7.1941.

The 2/30th Battalion on arrival in Singapore was initially at Birdwood Camp for five weeks then moved to Batu Pahat, 60 miles north. Battalion received orders to take up defensive positions on 27.11.1941. Japanese troops landed on 7.12.1941 and allied troops in Malaya were involved in a fighting retreat towards Singapore. The last troops arrived on Singapore Island on 30.1.1942 and defensive lines are established.

The Japanese landed on 8.2.1942 and following fierce fighting the allied troops capitulated on 15.2.1942. Australian POWs were placed in a section of the Selarang Barracks adjacent to Changi and the Japanese organised work parties, initially in Singapore but projects were established elsewhere and POWs were sent to these in work parties. One project was to construct the Burma-Thailand Railway.

Starr was part of F Force, which left Singapore for Bampong on 23.4.1943. On arrived at Bampong the POWs were required to march 300kms north to Shimo Sonkuria Camp on the Thailand border where the survivors commenced work on the railway.

POWs had to work in deplorable conditions, constant hunger, disease and lack of medical supplies all under a regime of brutal treatment by the Japanese.

Starr died near Thanbyuzamat on 4.11.1943.


Number - AIF   NX 32505

Rank -  Acting Corporal 19.7.1940, Private 29.10.1940

Enlist Date - 17.6.1940 

Place - Paddington, NSW

Other Details – On enlisting he was described as having eyes grey and hair brown. He stated his religion as C of E, occupation as labourer (Electric), he was single and gave his address as 23 Lyne Lane, Alexandria, NSW. He nominated his next of kin as his father Herbert Starr, Auckland, NZ.

Units Served

General Details from 17.6.1940 to 17.6.1940

6th Australian Battalion 17.6.1940 to 13.9.1940

2nd Australian Infantry Training Battalion 13.9.1940 to 12.11.1940

2/30th Australian Infantry Battalion 12.11.1940 to 4.11.1943

2/30th Battalion in 27th Australian Infantry Brigade, 8th Australian Division

Locations Served


Reported to Recruit Reception Depot, Marrickville, Sydney, NSW      17.6

Posted to 6th Battalion, Marrickville 17.6

Promoted Acting Corporal   19.7

Posted to 2nd Australian Infantry Training Battalion, Tamworth      13.9

Reverted to Private, Tamworth     29.10

Posted to 2/30th Australian Infantry Battalion, Tamworth     12.11


2/30 Battalion move from Tamworth to Bathurst

Final Leave of 7 days granted before embarkation July

Battalion embarked on train from Kelso near Bathurst for Sydney

Embarked at Sydney on "F F" (probably “Johan Van Olden-Barneveldt”)   29.7


Disembarked at Singapore    15.8

Battalion was to spend the next 5 weeks at Birdwood Camp, Singapore

Further 8th Division troops also arrived in Singapore   15.8

Units arrived in Singapore after 8 months training in Australia were:-

27th Brigade

2/15 Field Regiment

2/12 Field Engineers

2/6 Field Park

2/10 Field Ambulance

Admitted to No.2 British Convalescent Depot (Mumps)   18.8

Re-joined 2/30 Battalion from Convalescent Depot   03.9

Battalion moved from Singapore to Batu Pahat

Training at Bathurst was for desert and Battalion had to learn jungle warfare

Batu Pahat, 60 miles north of Singapore on west coast of Malaya

8th Division takeover defence of Malacca / Jahore Area from Indian troops   29.8

8th Division received first alarm and take up defensive positions   27.11

News received of Japanese in southern Thailand   01.12

Starr appointed Specialist Group II (Signaller) Batu Pahat, Malaya   02.12

12,000 Japanese in position off Malay Peninsular   07.12

Japanese land at Singora, Patani and Kota Bahru   10pm    07.12

Defence forces Malaya / Singapore comprised:-

    RAAF - 143 aircraft

    Navy - battleship, battle Cruiser, 3 small Cruisers, 7 destroyers etc

    Army –

        37 Infantry Battalion:

            6 Australian

            6 British

            Remainder Indian and Malayan

        7 Field Regiments Artillery -

        5 Regiments each of 24 guns (25 pounders)

        2 Regiments each of 16 guns (18 pounders)

Issued with reserve rations and 2 days hard rations held in trucks   08.12

Reserve rations per man comprised:-

        12oz Bully Beef

        12oz biscuits

        0.5oz tea

        2oz sugar

Two days hard rations per man held in truck being:-

        12oz tin meat

        16oz biscuits

        1.0oz tea

        4oz sugar

        4oz milk.


Starr’s appointment as Specialist Group II (Signals) confirmed   05.1

Starr admitted to No.4 Australian Casualty Clearing Station (cellulitis foot) 26.1

From Clearing Station to No.10 Australian General Hospital   27.1

Withdrawal of allied troops down Malayan peninsular continues

27th Brigade moved to Northern Sector of Singapore Island near causeway 30.1

27th Brigade supported by 2/10 Field Artillery Regiment

22nd Brigade and 2/15 Field Artillery Regiment sent to north-west sector.

22nd Brigade on left and abut 27th Brigade

Siege of Singapore commenced     31.1

At 10.30 pm Japanese land on Singapore Island   08.2

Japanese land in 22nd Brigade area

Japanese Guard Division land in 27th Brigade area    09.2

Sisters from 2/10 and 2/13 Australian General Hospital embarked    12.2

8th Division units all located in perimeter in Holland / Farrer Roads area    14.2

Fall of Singapore  15.2

Starr listed in Australia as Missing in Action     16.2

Japanese order all AIF units to hand in arms to site at Tanglin    16.2

Prisoners collected and moved to area at eastern end of Singapore Island

Area was in vicinity of Changi Prisoner but AIF not in Changi until later

AIF were allocated part of Selarang Barracks

Barracks were designed for 1,000 but required to house 15,000 POWs

AIF march from Tanglin to Barracks, south west corner Selarang Square

Starr re-joins 2/30th Battalion, presumably from hospital    17.2

Japanese issue order "no work, no food"

Japanese issue first rations    23.2

Japanese advised troops would receive only rice after the end of April

Any additional requirements were to be provided by prisoners

Up to 1,000 preparing 50 acres of ground for communal garden   05.3

First work parties organised from AIF prisoners sent in to Singapore   21.3

Work parties housed at Great World Entertainment Centre and River Valley Rd.

Work parties continued loading trains, ships and other similar works

Work parties totalling 2,009 men were sent into Singapore   26.3

Work parties totalling 2,800 men sent from Changi area into Singapore    04.4

Japanese were developing major projects in which POWs could be employed

Railway to be constructed 273 miles (437kms) from Bampong to Moulmein

Starr was admitted Australian General Hospital, Changi (NYD)    13.5

Starr from Australian to British General Hospital, Changi (Psychosis)     14.5

"A Force" of some 3,000 Australians move to wharf for embarkation    15.5

Construction commenced at Bampong and at other end at Thanbyuzayat

Work parties continued at Singapore

ìB Force" of 1496 Australians embark at Singapore for Borneo   08.7

H W H Menzies and E A Quintal were with "B Force"

Roll of prisoners in Pudu jail Kuala Lumpur smuggled to Changi OIC   31.7

Group in Kuala Lumpur under Captain Newton had all been reported missing

Changi area held 15,400 prisoners of which 1,900 were Australians    01.9

All prisoners in Changi ordered to sign that they would not attempt to escape

All prisoners refused

All prisoners in Changi area ordered to Selerang Barracks    01.9

Prisoners held in shocking conditions in Barracks until agreed to sign    05.9

Following signing prisoners returned to their previous areas

Newton and 179 others arrive at Changi from Kuala Lumpur    03.10

Starr rejoined unit from Hospital, Changi    24.11

"C Force" depart Singapore for Japan    28.11

N A H Buffett was in "C Force"


1,000 Australians arrive in Changi from Java   10.1

"D Force" of 2,220 men commence to depart Changi   15.3

H H Quintal in ìD Forceî U Battalion commanded by Captain Newton

H W Gazzard also probably with "D Force"

"E Force" of 1,000 men (500 Australians) depart Singapore for Japan 28.3

Japanese announce party of 7,000 would leave within one week     08.4

27th Brigade (2/26, 2/29 and 2/30 Battalions) the only large force available 08.4

"F Force" of 7,000 commence to depart (600 daily) for ìup countryî 17.4

"F Force" comprised 7,000 men - 3,425 were Australians mainly 27th Brigade

Starr entrained at Changi with “F Force”   22.4

L P Quintal was also with “F Force” entrained on 23.4

“F Force” detrained at Bampong

Force commenced march (some 300km) on rough tracks to camps to north 25.4

POWs march at night rest for 10 minutes on hour and try to sleep during day

March took between 15 and 18 nights.

First section was 50 miles from Bampong to Kanchanaburi

At Kwai Noi the POWs first sighted hundreds of graves of those who had died

POWs commence to arrive at Lower Neika    25.4

POWs were in poor shape due to “malaria, dysentry and general bad health”

Camps to north of Neike at time were:-

    Lower Sonkurai an Australian camp

    Sonkurai a British Camp where bridge was to be built over River Kwai

    Upper Songkurai an Australian camp

    Chungaraya a British camp south of three Pagoda Pass

    Force was spread over five camps from Takanun (227k) to Chungaraya (345k)

    Camp at Neike (302k) was not complete and outbreak of cholera occurred

June and July saw POWs working on roads including corduroying lower areas

Twenty two deaths had occurred by 28.5

Australian Army Records stated Starr was Prisoner of War   09.7

By end of July half of Neike camp unfit for work

Conditions in other camps were no better

L P Quintal died due to illness 16.10

Starr died as P O W   04.11


    1939/45 Star

    Pacific Star

    British War Medal

    Australia Service Medal

Involvement with other Islanders

Served in 2nd Australian Infantry Battalion from 13.9.40 to 12.11.40 with:-

L P Quintal and J R Quintal

Served 2/30th Australian Infantry Battalion from 22.11.40 to 15.2.42 with:-

L P Quintal. Both became POWs

Taken POW with:-

J H Buffett, N A H Buffett, H W H Menzies, E A Quintal, G L Quintal, H H Quintal and L P Quintal

Discharge Details

Died of Illness as POW in Siam on 4 November 1943

Buried Thanbyuzayat War Cemetry, Burma

Grave reference:- Plot A14, Row A, Grave No 15

The village of Thanbyuzayat is 65kms by road from Moulmein. The war cemetery lies at the foot of the hills which separate the Union of Myanmar from Thailand. The cemetery is one of three in which are buried men who were prisoners under the Japanese working on the railway. 

Personal Details

Birth Date - 23 August 1914

Location - Norfolk Island

Parentage -  Herbert Gerrard Starr and Alice Prudence (nee Quintal) were married at Norfolk Island on 8 December 1910

Marital Status - never married

Partner -  n/a

Children -  n/a

Life Post Discharge - n/a

Death Date - 4 November 1943 as POW, Siam


His father H G Starr was born at Cooktown Qld and it is also recorded he married Iris Martha Nobbs on 12 March 1928 at Norfolk Island

W E Starr's grandmother Mrs Lucy Starr was living at 23 Lynne St, Alexandria in 1948

In a letter dated 1.9.1985 a Mrs Gladys M V Glasgow of 141 Pittwater Rd, Boronia Park, NSW claimed her maiden name was Gladys May Venacourt Tierney and she was engaged to W E Starr before the war. She claimed he left with her his personal possessions including his violin and deeds to property on Norfolk Island. She also claimed he stated she would be his beneficiary should he not survive. Address on letter was 46 Ingleston St, Wynnum, Queensland, 4178.

Records show his will was held by the Army but after the war it was sent to Regional Finance Office, Defence, Sydney.

It appears his will has never been located