The Soldier's Details

First Name:
John Verdun
Nick Name:
Regimental #:
‘D’ Company, No. 24 Platoon, later No. 16 Platoon.
Place of Birth:
Richmond, Victoria
Father's Name:
Spiro Colevas
Mothers's Name:
Faye Colevas (nee Esther Kostopulas)
Greek Orthodox
Pre-war Occupation:
Shop Assistant
Selarang Camp Changi, Johore Bahru, Adam Park, Selarang Barracks Changi
‘D’ Force Thailand, S Battalion
Camps Thailand:
Tarsau, KanuI I ,KanuI River Camp, Chungkai, Tamuang
Camps Japan:
Yamane, Niihama
Rashin Maru Party
Return Details 1945:
Wakayama‐Okinawa, USS Sanctuary, Okinawa‐Manila, USS Bingham, Manila-Sydney, HMS Speaker, Sydney-Melbourne-Perth by troop train.

General Description

Wounded in action at Sungei Berih at 1000 hours.  Admitted to Casualty Clearing Station then to Field Ambulance with gun shot wound to left side of chest wall.  Transferred to 2/13th AGH on 15/2/42.  Discharged to Unit 22/2/1942.
Changi – Selarang  15/2/42 – 3/4/42
Adam Park  4/4/42 – 27/12/42
Changi  27/12/42 – 13/3/43
Don Force ‘S’ Btn 14/3/1943
Tarsao  23/8/43 – 17/1/44
Chungkai  17/1/43 – May 44
Tamjang  May 44 0 June 44
‘Byoki Maru’  June 44 – 9/9/44 Newton Force
Yamanii, Japan  9/9/44 – 18/5/45
Niihama, Japan  18/5/45 – 13/9/45
Recovered Niihama USA Army, train to Wakayama.
Hospital Ship  USS ‘Sanctuary’ to Okinowa.
Liberty Ship USS ‘Bingham’ to Manila.
HMS ‘Speaker’ Manila to Sydney.
Returned to Perth by train.
The above was taken from news of Dutch hospital ship Oranje arriving in Darwin Sep 1945 with 800 POWs.


Sergeant John ‘Des” Verdun Colevas spent 12 months after the war as guard sergeant at Marrinup Prisoner of War Camp before embarking for Japan with BCOF with 66th Australian Infantry Battalion.  He transferred to  Korea as  Warrant Officer Class 2 and C.S.M. ‘D’ Coy 3rd Battalion RAR from 1951-1953.  He left 3 RAR to return to Australia and became a national Service instructor  Regt. No. 5/250.


Hulland Turrell Colevas Holding Dunnell Worth
Hulland, Turrell, Colevas, Holding, Dunnell & Worth
Fairbridge 2004 No 2
Trevor James, Jim Burns, Alf Worth, John Lane, Des Colevas, Bob Whitield, Joe Pearce (rear), Tom Pilmoor (front), Owen Morris, Jim Elliott, Ron Badock, Gordon Lynam
Fairbridge 2001
Fairbridge 2001
Back Row L-R: Jim Burns, John Lane, Jim Elliott, Cowboy Matthews, Frank Evans, Alf Worth, Trevor James, Wally Lynn, Les Cody, Owen Morris
Front Row L-R: Greg Burdon, Ron Badock, Des Coleves, Jim Gilmour, Joe Pearce.Back Row L-R: Jim Burns, John Lane, Jim Elliott, Cowboy Matthews, Frank Evans, Alf Worth, Trevor James, Wally Lynn, Les Cody, Owen Morris
Des passed away aged 92yrs, May 13 2008, at Wembley, WA.
Go to Stories for further reading D Company
Read Des Colevas’ Affidavit

Please read ‘Trader’ Horn

1951 – Korea.  2nd from left:  Des Colevas

Korea – Des Colevas. Back Row 2nd from Right.

Camp Locations:

  • Johore Bahru, - Malaysia
  • Selarang Barracks Changi - Singapore
  • Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
  • Chungkai, 60k - Thailand
  • Kanu 1 151.00k - Thailand
  • Kanu II, 152.30k - Thailand
  • Tamuang, Tha Muang 39k - Thailand
  • Nihama, Hiroshima #2-B- Japan
  • Yamane, Hiroshima #3-D - Japan