The Soldier's Details
- First Name:
- Regimental #:
- ‘E’ Company, Special Reserve Battalion, No. 1 Platoon
- Place of Birth:
- Collie, Western Australia
- Father's Name:
- George Lake
- Mothers's Name:
- Annie Lake (nee Anderson)
- Pre-war Occupation:
- Epitaph, Labuan Memorial, Panel 18, Age 23.
- Selarang Camp and Barracks Changi
- ‘E’ Force Borneo
- Cause of Death:
- Not Stated
- Place of Death:
- Sandakan, No. 1 Camp
- Date of Death:
Wounded in action Bukit Timah. Admitted to Field Ambulance on 11.2.1942 with a shrapnel wound to his right thigh. Transferred to 2/10th Australian General Hospital on 6.3.1942.
19 years old George enlisted with AIF 6 November 1941. He had between 6 and 7 weeks training at Northam before being drafted as reinforcement for 2/4th, boarding ‘Aquitania’ anchored off Gage Roads, Fremantle on 15 January 1942.
George was one of the few lucky men to survive the Japanese ambush at Bukit Timah of ‘E’ Company. Only about 88 of 200 men survived.
Sadly, George’s good fortune ran out when he was selected as a POW in Singapore with ‘E’ Force Borneo. He died at Sandakan 8 April 1945 at the young age of 23 years. He died of malaria (according to Japanese records) and was buried Sandakan No. 2.
George’s mother Annie Anderson was first married to John William Annandale who was born Scotland, who enlisted 1916 with 16th Btn, later 48th Battalion KIA Villers, Bretonneux, France 29 June 1918 aged 36 years. John and Annie had four children – William, John, Margaret and David.
Annie Annandal remarried 1927 to George Lake, also a WW1 veteran and they had three children – George, James and Frank.
Annie must have dreaded George enlisting WW2. Especially as her first husband was KIA. Worse still she and the family never learnt any details about Sandakan, the loss of lives nor what happened to George. Annie would have gone to her grave in 1974 still not knowing much about Sandakan and Borneo. It was a terrible decision the Australian Government made to not allow any details be made public until late 1980s.
George never left Sandakan to march (one can hardly call their journey a march) to Ranau. He died at Sandakan No 1 Camp 8 April 1945 aged 23 years because he was never fit or well enough to leaves on parties. He died before end of May 45 when the Japanese forced all the POWs out of their Camps and ‘homes’ for the past 2 or more years before setting fire to them. Those POWs too weak to leave on 2nd March, were left to lay in on the ground without shelter, water and food and often without ground sheets. It was barbaric.
George (Jnr) worked as wheeler.
George Lake (Snr) died in 1957.
Annie Lake died 16 January 1974 aged 87 years. Three of her seven children predeceased her. She was buried at Collie.
- Selarang Barracks Changi - Singapore
- Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
- Sandakan - Borneo ***
- Lintang Officers Camp, Kuching - Sarawak