Battalion 2/2nd Pioneer Battalion
Place of Birth Kilkeel Ireland 1 May 1918
Next of Kin Arthur Payne, his father. His mother was Christina Payne.
Date and place of enlistment 8 May 1941 at Royal Park
Location on enlistment Leongatha
Date and place of death 4 March 1942, aged 23, in Java, Indonesia
Location of grave or memorial He is buried in the Jakarta War Cemetery Indonesia. His name is on the memorial in Leongatha and at Leongatha Secondary College (formerly Leongatha High).
Relationship to Woorayl Shire
The family arrived in Leongatha from Ireland in 1925 and Tom attended Leongatha State School and Leongatha High School.
When he enlisted on 8 April 1941, he was a butcher working for Wightmans and had three brothers in the services. His father was a tailor and the family lived in McCartin St Leongatha.
Tom trained at Puckapunyal and other places in Australia before he embarked on the S S Orcades bound for Singapore. The British forces in Singapore surrendered on 15 February 1942 and the Orcades turned to Indonesia and finally landed at Batavia (Jakarta) later in February. The troops on the Orcades combined with Dutch forces and some other allies to defend Java against the Japanese. The Japanese landed on 28 February and by 8 March the Dutch surrendered. Tom was killed four days before the Dutch surrender. The Australians were reluctantly ordered to lay down their arms. The men in his battalion went on to become prisoners of war in Java, Changi, and the Burma Railway.