The Soldier's Details
- First Name:
- Laurence John
- Nick Name:
- Corporal (Promoted on 7.2.1942)
- Regimental #:
- 'C' Company, No 12 Platoon. (transferred 'E' Company SRBN Section Commander No. 1 Platoon)
- Place of Birth:
- Kent, England
- Father's Name:
- William Harvey
- Mothers's Name:
- Margaret Emma Harvey (nee McCalenan)
- Roman Catholic
- Pre-war Occupation:
- Epitaph, Labuan Memorial, Panel 18, Age 24.
- Selarang Camp Changi, River Valley Road Transit Camp
- ‘A’ Force Burma Green Force, No. 3 Battalion
- Camps Thailand:
- Camps Burma:
- Khonkan 55km Camp (medical orderly), Victoria Point, Kendau 4.8km, Thetkaw 14km, Meiloe 75km, Aungganaung 105km.
- Rakuyo Maru Party, Kumi No. 37
- Cause of Death:
- Lost at Sea
- Place of Death:
- South China Sea
- Date of Death:
Laurence left Singapore with A Force to Burma.
He was at Meiloe 75K Camp 16.4.1943.
Anakanan 105K 29.6.1943 (lacerations to eye and knee, and chronic diarrohea)
Khonkan 55K 5.7.1943 He was Medical Orderly at this Hospital Camp. Read about Khonkan 55 km Camp.
Selected for Japan 27.3.1944 and tragically did not survive the sinking of ‘Rakuyo ‘Maru after being torpedoed by American submarines on 12 Sep 1944.
Below: Notice from Enid Harvey, widow of Jack Harvey recognising the friendship between Harvey and Hughes.
Hughes and Harvey enlisted at same time, however were in different Companies. Hughes had attended primary schookl in Como and was more than likely still living in area. Hughes was AWOL (one of more than 90 2/4th men) when ‘Aquitania’ sailed from Fremantle for Singapore on 16 Feb 1942.
Hughes several weeks later sailed from Fremantle with plans for the group to rejoin their Battalion at Singapore. However when it became evident Singapore was about to fall, the men were taken to Java where they joined the Allied Forces to fight the Japanese.
Within a few months Java fell to Japan and Hughes was incarcerated in Java. He later was sent to Burma end of Railway with Java Party No. 4, Williams Force and it more than likely the men’s paths crossed. Hughes was also selected with ‘Rakuyo’ Maru party and perished on 12 Sept 1944 aged 24 years.
John or ‘Jack’ as he was known enlisted 15 Jan 1941 joined 2/4th ‘C’ Company No. 12 Platoon. He was transferred to ‘E’ Company SRBN Section Commander No. 1 Platoon after the reinforcements were picked up by ‘Aquitania’ 16 January 1942. He was promoted to Corporal 7 Feb 1942 just before Japanese invaded Singapore.
Harvey was fortunate to survive the Japanese Ambush at Bukit Timah which ‘E’ Company ran into on 11 February resulting in a huge loss of life. You can read further about ‘E’ Company.
As a POW Singapore Jack was selected to work on Burma end of Railway and sailed with 3,000 men of ‘A’ Force Burma Green Force No. 3 Battalion to SW Burma where Green Force would work on repairing and enlarging the airfield at Victoria Point before moving to begin work on the railway at Kendu 4.8km Camp 1 Oct 1942. Green Force would remain working in Burma until end Dec 1943 when the railway was completed.
The Japanese began moving all POWs in the Burma area of the railway south to Thailand to one of several large Camps. Jack was probably sent to Tamarkan.
With all the POWs now in Thailand the Japanese began their selection of the fittest men to work in Japan. In April 1944 Jack was selected with what was to be known as ‘Rakuyo’ Maru Party,
They were first sent by rail to Saigon, French Indo-China which was up until then an important shipping port used by Japan for conveyancing supplies to their forces fighting in north west India and for movement of raw goods to Japan.
By this time the American Submarines had successfully blockaded Saigon. The Japanese were forced to sent ‘Rakuyo Maru Party from there by rail to Singapore via Bangkok.
The men were accommodated at River Valley Road Transit Camp and sent to work mostly around the docks while waiting for a ship.
In early Sept the men boarded and crammed into the hull of the ‘Rakuyo’ Maru. With far too many POWs onboard, the Japanese finally relented and allowed a small number to remain on the decks.
The ‘Rakuyo’ Maru sailing with a large convoy was hit by two torpedoes fired by USS ‘Sea Lion’ in the early hours of 12 Sep 1944.
Miraculously about 90 POWS (British and Australian) survived 3 and 4 days in the seas to be picked up by same submarines which attacked their convoy, and some men were picked up by a Japanese vessel and continued their journey to Japan.
His mother Margaret accompanied by 2 year old John and sister Ursula from London 1922 on board ‘Sophisoles’ to Albany – we assume William Harvey had sailed sometime earlier to WA.
The Harvey family was recorded living Manjimup where William was Police Officer. Further children were born to Margaret and William.
In November 1930 tragedy struck the Harvey family. Younger sister to John, Madeline almost 4 years old was killed whilst playing or crossing the railway at Manjimup. 10 year old Ursula was with her and William as local Police officer was called to scene of the accident, however Madeline’s death was instant.
The Coroner’s verdict was accidental death.
In 1935 the Harvey family move to South Perth,
We track John living in South Perth 1938.
John Harvey married Enid Hastie. The Hastie family had resided in Bunbury.
The news of the birth of their son Michael William in 1941.
- River Valley Road Camp - Singapore
- Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
- Tamarkan, Tha Makham 56k - Thailand
- Aungganaung,105Kilo - Burma
- Kendau, Kandaw, 4 Kilo - Burma
- Khonkan, 55Kilo Hospital 360k - Burma
- Meilo, 75 Kilo, 340k - Burma
- Saigon - French Indo China
- Saganoseki, Fukuoka #13-D - Japan
- Bangkok - Thailand
- Victoria Point, Kawthoung - Burma. \'A\' Force, Green Force No. 3 Btn
- Thetkaw 14 Kilo - Burma