Thomas Francis JESPERSON


JESPERSON, Thomas Francis

Service Number: NX24827
Enlisted: 28 May 1941
Last Rank: Sapper
Last Unit: 2nd/12th Field Company
Born: North Sydney, NSW, Australia, September 1916
Home Town: Auburn, Auburn, New South Wales
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Not yet discovered
Died: Illness arising from mistreatment as a Prisoner of Japan, Sandarkan, Borneo, 1 March 1945
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
Commemorated on the Labuan Memorial
Memorials: Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour, Labuan Memorial, Labuan Federal Territory, Malaysia
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World War 2 Service

28 May 1941: Enlisted 2nd AIF WW 2, Sapper, SN NX24827, 2nd/12th Field Company
7 Dec 1941: Involvement 2nd AIF WW 2, Sapper, SN NX24827, 2nd/12th Field Company, Malaya/Singapore
15 Feb 1942: Involvement 2nd AIF WW 2, Sapper, SN NX24827, 2nd/12th Field Company, Prisoners of War
28 Mar 1943: Imprisoned Malaya/Singapore, 'E' Force Borneo
1 Mar 1945: Involvement 2nd AIF WW 2, Sapper, SN NX24827, 2nd/12th Field Company, Prisoners of War

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Biography contributed by Steve Larkins

Born on 22 Sep 1916 at North Sydney, NSW,  he was the son of Edward Walter and Mary Agnes Jesperson, of Auburn, NSW.

He enlisted on 29 May 1941 and after Basic Training was allocated to the 2nd/12th Field Company Royal Australian Engineers.  This unit became part of the 8th Division and was assigned to the defence of Malaya / Singapore.   

After the Japanese landings at Kota Bar on the NE coast of Malaya on 7 Dec 941 (the same day as Pearl Harbour) the Allied forces in the Malay Peninsula were pushed back into the island of Singapore and surrendered where they eventually on 15th February 1942.  Most PoW were initially housed in the former Changi Gaol. 

He was latter assigned to 'E' Force - drafts of prisoners assigned to work gangs in various locations including Japan.  E Force was transported from Changi POW Camp to Sandakan Borneo 

The 500 Australian and 500 British POW's who made up E Force, left Changi on 28 March 1943, on board the S.S. DeKlerk arriving at Berhala Island (adjacent to Sandakan Harbour) on 15 April 1943. The POW's were held there until 5 June, when they were taken by barge to Sandakan. The next day they were transferred to the 8 Mile Camp, which was about half a mile from the B Force compound.

Sapper Jesperson, aged 28, died as a prisoner of the Japanese on 1 March 1945. 

Of the POW held in these camps , only six survived, with many dying on the infamous 'Sandakan Death March'. 

He is commemorated on the Labuan Memorial Panel 6 and on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorail.


(Photograph copied from AWM232, items 4 and 5. Personal information from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Database.)