The Soldier's Details
- First Name:
- Nick Name:
- Lance Corporal
- Regimental #:
- 'D' Company Headquarters
- Place of Birth:
- Bridgetown, Western Australia
- Father's Name:
- Wilfred Lee-Steere
- Mothers's Name:
- Laura Francis Lee‐Steere
- Church of England
- Pre-war Occupation:
- Kanchanaburi War Cemetery, Collective Grave, Plot 10, Row D, Grave 1-3, Age 36.
- Selarang Camp and Barracks Changi
- 'D' Force Thailand, V Battalion
- 4/6324 & 2219
- Cause of Death:
- Place of Death:
- Date of Death:
- Grave No. 189, Kuii.
Forrest enlisted AIF 10 Aug 1940 later joining 2/4th MGB’s ‘D’ Company Headquarters under Commanding Officer Maj Cough for whom he was his personal driver.
At Singapore No. 16 Platoon was formed to created top activate a further machine gun platoon.
Hale School Memorial
Plaque No 99:
Driver Forrest Lee Steere
Entered Hale School 1924
2/4 Machine Gun Battalion
Forrest entered Hale School as a boarder from “Greenfield”, Boyup Brook in 1924. He returned to the farm and then joined the 2/4th Machine-Gunners on 10th August 1940. He travelled with his unit to Singapore and was with them at the surrender to the Japanese forces on 15 February 1942.
For 15 months he languished in Changi Gaol as a prisoner-of-war until he was moved to work on the infamous Thai-Burma railway in April 1943. While there he contracted cholera, rallied but then died several days later on 3 October 1943, too weak from overwork and malnutrition to fully recover.
He was 36 years of age.
Placed by his cousin and nephew, Mr Wilfred Lee Steere, who still farms on the family property at Boyup Brook.
Today ‘Forrie’ rests at the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery, Thailand, with 91 mates from the 2/4th.
Kanchanaburi War Cemetery, Photo taken January 2018
As a POW in Singapore Forrest was selected with ‘D’ Force V Battalion to work on the Burma-Thai Railway.
This Battalion had the highest death rate on the Railway. Forrest died at Kuii Camp, of cholera in October 1943 aged 36 years. Florrie rallied at one point owing to his mate Frank Clark obtaining assistance from the Dutch Medical Officer however was too weak and exhausted. He was the final cholera case.
He was one of 21 men from 2/4th who died at Kuii.
Forrest’s parents Wilfred Lee-Steere and Laura Eliza Forrest married in Bridgetown in 1902. Forrest was the youngest of four children born to the couple. He had two older brothers Lancelot and Everard and a sister Eva.
The family farmed at ‘Greenfields’ Boyup Brook. The electoral rolls for 1931, 1936 and 1937 record the three brothers at ‘Greenfields’.
Wilfred Lee-Steere died in December 1934 and Laura Lee-Steere died in 1960 at Boyup Brook.
Happier days – 1935 Forrest was best man at his brother Lancelot’s wedding.
Below: In January 1941 the engagement was announced of Forrest and Evelyn Williamson Runciman. They married during the year.
Evelyn Lee-Steere, joined the RAAF, Service No. 99832 and was a Section Officer.
Below: Forrest and Evelyn marry 1941.
Below: The Runciman family endured a terrible family tragedy on 25 October 1938 when their daughter and her husband died in the Kyeema plane crash over Dandenong Ranges on a flight from Adelaide to Melbourne. All 14 persons on the plane lost their lives (including two well-known persons connected to wine industry Hugo Gramp and Thomas Hardy).
Evelyn Lee-Steere died May 2000 aged 90 years at City Beach.
- Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
- Kuii, Kui Yae, 185.6k - Thailand