The Soldier's Details

Surname:
Kearney
First Name:
Laurence Daniel
Nick Name:
Laurie
Rank:
Private
Regimental #:
WX17452
Company:
'E' Company, Special Reserve Battalion
Enlisted:
27.10.1941
Discharged:
2.05.1945
DOB:
15.06.1914
Place of Birth:
Mintaro, South Australia
Father's Name:
Daniel David Kearney
Mothers's Name:
Anna Louise Kearney (nee Jungfer)
Religion:
Roman Catholic
Pre-war Occupation:
Dairyhand
Singapore:
Selarang Camp Changi, River Valley Road Transit Camp
Force:
'A' Force Burma, Green Force, No. 3 Battalion
Camps Thailand:
Tamarkan
Camps Burma:
Victoria Point, Kendau 4.8km, Thetkaw, Meiloe, Augganaung
POW#:
3085
Japan:
Rakuyo Maru Party, Kumi No. 37 (rescued by USS Sealion II)
Return Details 1945:
Saipan‐Guadalcanal-Brisbane-Perth

General Description

Please read Kearney’s account of his late capture with Robert Marsh.

Read the story Members of 2/4th nominated for Medal but not awarded.

 

Laurie was selected as POW in  Singapore with the first work party to leave Singapore – ‘A’ Force Burma, Green Force No. 3 Battalion.

3,000 POWs sailed from Singapore to the south west coast of Burma – Green Force remained at Victoria Point where they worked for several months repairing and enlarging the existing airport.  By 1 October 1942 Green Force which included a large number of men from 2/4th arrived at northern most point of  Burma-Thai Railway and started work at Thetkaw 4.8km Camp.  ‘A’ Force would remain working on the Burma end of the rail until the end of 1943, when the Japanese began to move all the POWs south to Thailand.  Laurie was sent to Tamarkan.

Read further about ‘A’ Force Burma, Green Force  No. 3 

And the story Surviving the Sinking of the Rakuyo Maru written by Roy Cornford NX44955 of the 2/19th Battalion, courtesy of Peter Winstanley.

Read Laurie’s description of departing Thailand for French-Indo-China from where the POWs were to be shipped from to Japan.  After a few months they were returned to Singapore via Bangkok to wait for their ship ‘Rakuyo’ Maru which finally departed Singapore Harbour 4 Sept 1944.

Laurie was certainly was one of the LUCKY POWs to be rescued by the American submarines four days after their ship sank in South China Sea.

Read story of ‘Rakuyo’ Maru

38 men from 2/4th perished.

Also read about American Submarines

 

This year September 2019 is 75th Anniversary of the sinking of ‘Rakuyo’ Maru.

 

Please read the news of Laurie’s friend McEwen’s wedding 1946.

 

Below:  Spelt Carney – we believe the name should be Kearney – however it may have been a deliberate misspelling as the war was not over.   The AIF had instructed those who returned from ‘Rakuyo’ Maru not to speak of their experiences – in particular with other families who may be seek information about their sons had they known Laurie was safely home in WA.

 

 

Laurie’s father Daniel David Kearney died Clare, South Australia in 1943.  His mother Anna Louise (nee Jungfer) died Glenelg in 1967.

Laurie had moved to south west WA before the war and was recorded living/working Trenton before he enlisted.

After returning from the war and his incredible rescue from South China Sea in 1944, Laurie returned to South West and married February 1945.

Below:  Laurie returned to enjoy playing cricket.

 

 

 

 

Electoral Rolls have Laurie and Margaret living/farming at Cowaramup from at least 1949 through to 1963.  By 1972 they are living in Busselton and Laurie appears to be retired.

Laurie passed away aged 87, April 21 2001, at Busselton, WA.

Camp Locations:

  • River Valley Road Camp - Singapore
  • Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
  • Tamarkan, Tha Makham 56k - Thailand
  • Aungganaung,105Kilo - Burma
  • Kendau, Kandaw, 4 Kilo - Burma
  • Meilo, 75 Kilo, 340k - Burma
  • Saigon - French Indo China
  • Victoria Point, Kawthoung - Burma. \'A\' Force, Green Force No. 3 Btn
  • Thetkaw 14 Kilo - Burma
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