Herbert Michael (Bert) Rubery

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Herbert Michael (Bert) Rubery
Rubery Herbert Michael.jpg
Rubery Bert headstone.jpg
Bert's headstone in Keanji War Cemetery
Personal Information
Date of Birth 7 Mar 1918
Place of Birth Gosnells, Western Australia
Death 23 Feb 1943
Place of Death Australian General Hospital Roberts Barracks, Singapore.
Age at Enlistment 22 years, 3 months
Description ; green, hazel eyes ; brown hair
Occupation Labourer
Religion Roman Catholic
Address Byford, Western Australia
Next of Kin Father , Mr Michael Rubery
Military Information
Reg Number WX7474
Date of Enlistment 8 Aug 1940
Rank Private
Unit/Formation 4 Platoon, A Company, 2/4th Australian Machine Gun Battalion
Military Movement
1st Departure from Australia
Journey Dates 30 Dec 1941 ‒ 24 Jan 1941
Transport Details HMT Aquitania Darwin to Singapore via Sydney & Fremantle
Post War Details
Fate POW Singapore 1942
Died from illness 1943
Monument(s) Armadale War Memorial
ANZAC Memorial Park (Byford)
Byford WW2 Honour Roll
WA State War Memorial
External Monument(s) The Australian Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial Ballarat, Victoria
Australian War Memorial Australian War Memorial
Medals 1939-45 Star
Pacific Star
War Medal 1939-45
Australian Service Medal 1939-45

Pre War

War Service

Enlisted at the Claremont Recruit Reception Depot and ten days later on 16 Aug 1940 he transferred to the Melville Training Depot No 1. On 2 Sep 1940 he was moved to the No 3 Depot Battalion at Northam camp, where on 28 Nov 1940 he was taken on the strength of the 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion and allocated to 'A' Company.

On 25 Apr 1941 Bert was charged with having been AWOL from midnight 11 May until midnight 29 May 1941. As well as forfeiting the 8 day's pay, he was fined £2, total loss of pay being £4 ($8). AWOL again from 10:15pm on 20 Jun until 7:15am on 22 Jun 1941 he was awarded 6 days Confined to Barracks and forfeited 2 days pay. He was with all other members of the unit granted leave from 1 - 8 Jul 1941 before the unit relocated to Adelaide aboard HMT Duntroon, arriving in Adelaide on 25 Jul 1941.

In Adelaide Bert's tussle with authority continued, being AWOL from 8:30am on 2 Sep until 8:00pm the same day. Awarded 4 days Confined to Barracks (CB) and forfeited the days pay. Also charged the same day with failing to appear at a place of parade, for which an additional 3 days CB was awarded. Bert was AWOL again from midnight 9 Oct 1941 until 10:00pm on 10 Oct 1941, for which he was punished with 7 days Confined to Barracks. On 11 Oct 1941 he entrained in Adelaide for Darwin, arriving there on 20 Oct 1941.

Bert Rubery's Platoon in Australia

The 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion boarded HMT Aquitania on 30 Dec 1941 for Port Moresby (actual destination was Singapore). Due to Japanese activity north of Papua, it was decided to send the convoy carrying the 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion via Sydney and Fremantle. In Fremantle Bert was again AWOL, one of many who refused to accept that after six months absence they could not see their families before sailing to the war. On board ship on 18 Jan 1942 he was charged with the AWOL offence (2:00pm on 15 Jan until mid day the next day) and was fined £2. The battalion disembarked in Singapore on 24 Jan 1942.

Bert was declared Missing in Action on 16 Feb 1942, the day after Singapore fell to the Japanese. Bert had been admitted to the 2/13th Australian General Hospital in Changi on 19 Oct 1942, before being returned to his unit on 27 Oct 1942. He was again admitted to the hospital on 13 Feb 1943, with dysentery, and that he died on 23 Feb 1943 with his death caused by Dysentery, Pneumonia, and Toxemia. During April 1945 news reached Australia that he had died while in captivity.

In captivity Bert's POW Number was 1/12199, and he spent time at Seralang Camp and in the Changi Barracks. Buried on 23 Feb 1942 in Changi AIF Cemetery Grave No. 79, he was reburied on 22 Apr 1946 in Kranji War Cemetery Plot 2, Row C, Grave No 6.

  • Entrance to the Kranj Cemetery, Singapore
  • Herb's gravesite


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