The Soldier's Details

First Name:
Harold Bernard
Nick Name:
Tiny or Bernie
Regimental #:
‘A’ Company
Place of Birth:
Midland Junction, Western Australia
Father's Name:
Alfred Frederick Lear
Mothers's Name:
Maud Isabel Lear
None Stated
Pre-war Occupation:
Epitaph, Labuan Memorial, Panel 18, Age 25.
Selarang Camp Changi, A.G.H. Roberts Barracks Changi, Selarang Barracks Changi
‘E’ Force Borneo
3/8493 & 1785
Cause of Death:
Place of Death:
Sandakan No1 Camp
Date of Death:

General Description

Soldier wounded in action at Buona Vista on 15.2.1942. Admitted to 2/13th Australian General Hospital with a shrapnel wound to his right leg. Discharged to unit 25.3.1942.

WA. Paybook photograph, taken on enlistment, of WX7043 Private Harold Bernard Lear, 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion, Australian Infantry. He was one of over 2000 Allied prisoners of war (POW) held in the Sandakan POW camp in north Borneo, having been transferred there from Singapore as a part of E Force. The 500 Australian and 500 British POW’s who made up E Force, left Changi on 28 March 1943, on board the S.S. DeKlerk arriving at Berhala Island (adjacent to Sandakan Harbour) on 15 April 1943. The POW’s were held there until 5 June, when they were taken by barge to Sandakan. The next day they were transferred to the 8 Mile Camp, which was about half a mile from the B Force compound. Private Lear, aged 25, died as a prisoner of the Japanese on 17 March 1945. He was the son of Alfred Frederick and Maud Isabel Lear, and the husband of Veronica Mae Lear, of Bassendean, WA. He is commemorated on the Labuan Memorial Panel 18. (Photograph copied from AWM232, items 4 and 5. Personal information from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Database.)


LEAR, Private, HAROLD BERNARD, WX7043, A.I.F. 2/4 M.G. Bn., Australian Infantry. 17 March 1945. Age 25. Son of Alfred Frederick and Maud Isabel Lear; husband of Veronica Mae Lear, of Bassendean, Western Australia. Panel 18.

Labuan Memorial, Malaysia

Lear & Tilling

Version 2




Bernie’s father enlisted with 16th Battalion WW1 in September 1914 at Helena Valley. Albert was born about 1893 at Warrnambool, Victoria.  It is not known when he came to WA.

The 16th suffered heavy loss of life injuries at the ‘Bloody Angle’ at Gallipoli in May.   Alfred Lear suffered a GSW to his left foot, was returned to Australia  and discharged in August 1916.  He was awarded a fortnightly pension and 13 June 1917.

Bernie was one of two sons born to Alfred Frederick Lear and Maud Isabel Appleyard.  Bernie’s older brother Albert Thomas Lear also enlisted during WW2.

Bernie married Veronica Mae Roberts about 1941. She moved to the USA after 1947, married and remained living there.



Please read further about ‘E’ Force and Sandakan




Camp Locations:

  • Roberts Barracks Changi - Singapore
  • Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
  • Sandakan - Borneo ***
  • Lintang Officers Camp, Kuching - Sarawak