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 SRB 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:

General Description

Laurence and Enid Harvey


Harvey enlisted AIF 1 Jan 1941 later joined 2/4th ‘C’ Coy.
He was appointed Corporal and moved to ‘E’ Company Special Reserve Battalion No. 1 Platoon in Singaore. Please read further about this  Battalion.
Please read about the men of 12 Platoon.
Jack left Singapore with A Force to Burma.  Please read about A Force Burma, Green Force No.3 Battalion.
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.
Notice of their son Michael, 1941


Harvey Laurance John
Harvey Laurance John
Below: Notice from Enid Harvey, widow of Jack Harvey recognising the friendship between Harvey and Hughes – both men lost their lives Sept 1944 South China Sea.
Please read about Hughes.
Hughes and Harvey enlisted at same time, however were in different Companies.  Hughes had attended primary school 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.
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.
Please read further about ‘A’ Force Burma Green Force No. 3 Battalion
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.
Please read about ‘Rakuyo’ Maru.
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.
Please read further

In 1906 William Harvey enrolled in British Army, Essex Volunteer Force and was sent to Afghanistan to the Kyber Pass.  Harvey deserted a few years later and sailed to Australia.

In 1914 William Harvey joins Australian Imperial Force 16th Battalion. Army number 376.  He gave false date of birth 21/12/1888 due to age restriction, and possible problem with deserting the British Army.

He trained as a signaller and was first sent with 16th Battalion to Gallipoli, to Popes Hill for an almighty battle with the Turks. Following the evacuation, Harvey was sent to France.
He was awarded a MC 3rd Jun 1919.
He married widow Margaret Emma Hartnett 10 May 1919 in England.
Margaret accompanied by 2 year old Laurance ‘John’ and sister Ursula from London 1922 on board ‘Sophisoles’ to Albany – we assume William Harvey had sailed sometime earlier to WA.
William joins the WA Police Force and  the family is sent to the goldmining town of Youanni in the mid 1920’s.
The family travelled by train and finally by camel (not horse)  and cart!
In the summer of 1925 two young Harvey children, believed to be John and his sister, were found to be missing from home and the Youanni settlement.  William Harvey organised a search to no avail.   Harvey then surrounded the townsite with local men and had them light fires.  It worked, the children were found to be standing near a fireside in the early hours.
They spent several years in this outback town before being transferred to Manjimup.
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 the scene of the accident, however Madeline’s death had been 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.



John’s mother Margaret died May 1964 in South Perth and his father William Harvey died Sept 1964.


Camp Locations:

  • 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