Harry Richard (Digger) WILKES

WILKES, Harry Richard

Service Number: NX15756
Enlisted: 20 May 1940
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 2nd/10th Infantry Battalion
Born: Lakemba, New South Wales, Australia, 20 January 1918
Home Town: Lakemba, Canterbury, New South Wales
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Farm Labourer and Truck Driver
Died: Illness whilst a Prisoner of the Japanese , Borneo, 4 June 1945, aged 27 years
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
Panel 27 Labuan Memorial Malayasia
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Ballarat Australian Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial
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World War 2 Service

3 Sep 1939: Involvement Private, NX15756
20 May 1940: Enlisted Australian Military Forces (Army WW2), Private, NX15756, 2nd/10th Infantry Battalion

Harry "Digger" Wilkes

When HENRY RICHARD ("HARRY")("DIG") WILKES was born on 20 January 1918 in Lakemba, New South Wales, his father, THOMAS, was 31 and his mother, ANNIE, was 30. He had two brothers and three sisters. Henry Richard Wilkes, [known affectionately as"HARRY" or "DIG"] the second son of Thomas and Annie Wilkes, was born at 76 Ferguson Avenue, Lakemba on 20th January, 1918.
As a child he suffered with asthma, to enable him to overcome this condition his parents sent him to the Jerry Family at Rocky Glen, Coonabarabran where he commenced work as a farm labourer when only 12 years of age. His health improved immediately apparently from the drier Western Districts atmosphere.
On 20th May,1940 he enlisted in the AIF [2/5 Field Artillery] His trade given as Truck Driver he had Brown Hair and Grey Eyes. 10th August,1940 Harry transferred to the 2/10 Field Ambulance. At Freemantle on the 10th August,1941 he boarded His Majesty's Troopship "DD", dis- embarking at Singapore 16thAugust,1941. 20th September,1941 it is recorded he was taken to Hospital with Mumps. The Japanese invaded Malaya in December,1941 evidently he had seen his share of Action as he was reported Wounded in Action on two occasions 14th February and 25th February,1942 however it is unclear whether in fact he was injured only once. Also in January, 1942 he suffered a Malaria attack and Dengue Fever.

Reported Missing 21st April, 1942.
Prisoner of War Borneo 9th April, 1942.
Died on the "INFAMOUS SANDAKAN HORROR MARCH" when 2000 Prisoners perished during a forced march across a jungle clad tropical island despite the former Australian Troops health being in a deplorable condition.

His date of Death given as 4th June, 1945.
There is no known grave. His Name appears on Panel 27 Labuan Memorial Malayasia, Private H. R. WILKES HARRY RICHARD A.I.F. 2/10 Fd. Amb. Australian Army Medical Corps NX15756 Age 27.

His name also appears on a Memorial in Burwood Park, Sydney.He died on 4 June 1945 in Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia, at the age of 27.

Service Australian Army
Service Number NX15756
Date of Birth 20 Jan 1918
Place of Birth LAKEMBA, NSW
Date of Enlistment 20 May 1940
Locality on Enlistment LAKEMBA, NSW
Place of Enlistment PADDINGTON, NSW
Date of Death 04 Jun 1945
Rank Private
Prisoner of War Yes
Roll of Honour Not Yet Known
Honours None for display

Private Harry Richard “Dig” Wilkes
BIRTH 20 Jan 1918
Lakemba, Canterbury-Bankstown Council, New South Wales, Australia
DEATH 4 Jun 1945 (aged 27)
Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia
Labuan Memorial
Labuan, Federal Territory of Labuan, Malaysia
PLOT Panel 27.
MEMORIAL ID 20347884

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