The Soldier's Details

First Name:
Harold Mervyn
Regimental #:
‘E’ Company, Special Reserve Battalion
Place of Birth:
Bunbury, Western Australia
Father's Name:
Alexander Smith
Mothers's Name:
Christina Robertson Smith
Church of England
Pre-war Occupation:
Changi Gaol Camp (21.7.1944)
Return Details 1945:
Singapore-Darwin‐Sydney, HMT Arawa, Sydney‐Melbourne by troop train, Melbourne-Fremantle, HMT Strathmore.

General Description


















Harold Smith is younger brother to John  Stewart (Stewie) Smith WX6841 of ‘C’ Coy 12 Platoon who enlisted July 1940 – seen below:


Below:  Harold’s father Alec Smith, a reinforcement,  journeyed to Fremantle to say goodbye to his son  who was due to sail from Fremantle on ‘Aquitania’ 16 Jan 1942.  Whether Alec saw his son Stewie, we do not know. Stewie was with 2/4th Battalion on board – they were ordered not to leave the ship – but 100s did, and about 100 well-trained machine gunners were left behind.

Below:  Alec Smith’s wife, mother to Harold and Stewart died much the same time. By Aug 1942 both sons had been reported missing Singapore.

Above:  brother to Harold and Stewart Smith.

Harold Smith enlisted AIF 27 Oct 1941 and was sent with reinforcements for 2/4th MGB, entrained from  Northam to Fremantle boarding troop carrier ‘Aquitania’ at Gage Roads, Fremantle where he joined  ‘E’ Company, Special Reserve Battalion.   He was at south west Bukit Timah during the ambush when so many from this Battalion lost their lives.
Smith was listed as missing following the ambush at South-West Bukit Timah.
He escaped to Sumatra where he was imprisoned  at Padang, Gloe Gloer Camp. He was moved to Singapore with the Hirukiku Maru Party – it was sunk by British submarines. All but 169 POWs survived in the water about 4 hours before a Japanese tanker came by and picked them up.  They were taken to Singapore to River Valley Transport Camp for about a month before the POWs were sailed back to Sumatra.
Except for Harold who suffered a burst appendix and probably the reason he was evacuated to Changi and  did not return to Sumatra with the other 2/4th men.  He remained Singapore and was recovered from Changi Gaol at the end of the war. The building of the railway in Sumatra took a terrible toll on the lives of POWs – Harold was a very lucky man not to return to Sumatra.
Read about the sinking of Harukiki Maru



Harold’s parents Alexander Smith and Christina Robertson Miller married 1909 Perthshire, Scotland.  They had several children before moving to WA where Harold and several siblings were born in the Bunbury region.
Grandparents also came to WA.   His grandfather Thomas Smith died on 5 August 1948 Bunbury, WA aged 84 years.  Harold’s grandmother was Jane Gibson Palmer b. 22 Sep 1861 Glasgow, Lanarkshire and she married Thomas Smith 28 May 1886 Methven, Perthshire. They had 11 children.  She died  30 November 1940  Nedlands aged 79 years.


It believed Alexander and Christina farmed at Waroona whilst his Uncle Andrew Smith farmed at Brunswick Junction.
The year after Harold’s birth, his uncle died in an accident.
Harold’s sister’s wedding in 1937
Harold’s grandmother Jane Smith died in 1940.
In 1958 Harold married May Copley.
In 1958 he was recorded residing North Perth and working as a Painter.  In the 1972 Electoral Rolls Harold was residing Wilson and continued working as a painter.
Harold Smith passed away 18 July 1993.

Camp Locations:

  • Changi Gaol Camp - Singapore
  • River Valley Road Camp - Singapore
  • Gloe Gloer Camp - Sumatra
  • Padang - Sumatra **