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 • Taukkyan War Cemetery
 • Htauk Kyant
 • Yangon
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Pvt William Forbes Schuberth
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Birth: Sep. 9, 1906
Sunderland
Tyne and Wear, England
Death: Jul. 30, 1942, Myanmar (Burma)



Prior to enlisting in the Australian Imperial Forces, William Schuberth had already served four years as a Trooper in the 15 Light Horse Unit, Australian Military Forces.

Parents: Thomas and Emily Schuberth
Wife : Mary Madeline Schuberth
Family : 3 children

Date of Enlistment : 23 April 1841
Place of Enlistment : Paddington, Sydney, New South Wales
Regiment/Battalion : 2/30 Battalion
Service Number : NX2567
Rank : Private

Marched in at Bathurst, New South Wales, for further training.

29 July 1941 : embarked Sydney
15 August 1941 : disembark at Singapore

After a period of peace and calm in which he underwent jungle training in both Singapore and Malaya, he saw action when Japan declared war on 8th December 1941, until the British Forces were forced to capitulate on 15th February 1942.

NX2567 Pte William Forbes Schuberth, Transport Platoon, Head Quarter Company, was taken Prisoner of War at the 15 February 1942 Fall of Singapore.

Mid April 1942 3,000 Australian Prisoners of War volunteered to be sent overseas to an unknown destination with the promise of more food and better conditions

Originally all the POW were to be sent to Victoria Point in Burma, but as with so much of the Japanese information given to the Prisoners, this was soon changed.

The men were crowded onto a former sheep ship, which still had the pens intact. Additional decks had been constructed with the result that any many over 5 foot 7 inches could not stand upright. Water was strictly rationed, with none available for washing, though the Japanese soon overcame this problem with the use of a hose and sea water, with which the men were sprayed each day.

Sanitary provision was a couple of boxes hung over the side of the ship which was flushed once per day, and as many of the men suffered with dysentery this soon spread through out the ship.

On 24th May 1942, the A.I.F. detatchment was joined by 500 mixed services British Troop under the command of Lt. Col Coates, and later by 350 Japanese troop at Medan, Sumatra.

Despite assurances given by the Japanese the diposition of all troops in Burma was :-
Victoria Point, under the command of Major Green (Green Forcep
Mergui, under the command of Lt Col Ramsey (Ramsey Force)
Tayoy,under the command of Major Kerr(Lt Col Anderson assumed command of this force at Tavoy (Anderson Force)

On the afternoon of the 24 May 1942, Col. Ramsay was ordered to prepare his troops to disembark immediately.

All the P.O.W. were worked harshly, accommodation was cramped, food very scare. The ones to suffer mostly from the lack of food were the sick, for as they could not work, they could not be expected to receive even portion of the scant rations the men were provided.

One fateful night, Bill Schuberth, decided to 'go under the fence", slither into the jungle and try to make his way to the nearby village, and try to get not only a little food for himself, but more importantly to bring back food for those in hospital and too ill to go out to work.

Unfortunately, Bill, a large man whose one distinctive feature was a very hairy chest, was caught by the Burmes Police, beaten and kicked before being thrown into a bamboo jail. He was able to kick his way out of the flimsy jail, and made his way back to camp, where his friends cleaned the blood from his face and tended as best they could his bruised body, and advised his to return to his bunk and pretend to be asleep. Returning to their ruined jail the Burmese Police lost no time in travelling to the Camp and not only informing the Japanese Commander that one of their Prisoners had escaped, but were able to provide the information that the man had a very hairy chest.

Only Bill and one other man in camp matched the description, and the Guards descended on one of the huts and started yellings and bashing one of the occupants. On learning what was happening in one of the other huts, Bill immediately entered the other hut and gave himself up to the guards. Another good beating followed for Bill before he was taken before the Camp Commander who called several of the Australian Officers before him and wanted to know why one of their men had tried to escape. Knowing the penalty for trying to escape, the Officers insisted Bill had not tried to escape. It was only the desperate hunger that drove Bill to try to find some extra food for himself and others. The Commander was not totally convinced, but agreed to contact his Commanding Officer with the problem. Some days later the reply came back "Execute Immediately."

The first indication Australian Officers had that the reply had been received was when Bill was thrown into a truck, heavily bound and under heavy guard driven to an undisclosed area.

As they passed a group of Australians working around the Camp grounds, Bill yelled out his final words, "Tell the Colonel they are going to execute me. God Bless You."


Footnote:
On 7th March 2012, Bill Schuberth together with 19 other World War II Australian Prisoners of War who had been executed by the Japanese for trying to escape were posthumously awarded Commendations for Gallantry by the Australian Government. These awards and medals were presented to which ever recipients family member had possession of their War Medals.



This Memorial has been posted on behalf of Jenny Gordan in memory of her Grand-father.





 
 
Burial:
Taukkyan War Cemetery
Htauk Kyant
Yangon, Myanmar (Burma)
Plot: Joint grave 7A. E. 20-21.
 
Maintained by: Muriel Butler
Originally Created by: CWGC/ABMC
Record added: Aug 07, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 56613351
Pvt William Forbes Schuberth
Added by: Tx☆Oma
 
Pvt William Forbes Schuberth
Added by: Muriel Butler
 
 
Photos may be scaled.
Click on image for full size.

Still no bio yet Bill, but everything in good time. I know that in a bio one can only write about what happened to you, we cannot know of the pain,suffering and humiliation you were subjected to before you were finally execuated. You were a brave man Bil...(Read more)
- Muriel Butler
 Added: Dec. 2, 2012
In loving memory of my grand-father, one of life's real heroes.
- Jenny Gordon
 Added: Nov. 11, 2012

- Muriel Butler
 Added: Nov. 11, 2012
 
 
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