The Soldier's Details
- First Name:
- Harold Vernon
- Nick Name:
- Hook (or Nook)
- Lance Corporal
- Regimental #:
- ‘B’ Company 8 Platoon
- Place of Birth:
- Western Australia
- Father's Name:
- George Booth
- Mothers's Name:
- Freda Evelyn Booth
- Church of England
- Pre-war Occupation:
- Farmhand and Miner
- Djakarta War Cemetery, Plot 1, Row D, Grave 19, Age 37.
- Java Party, No. 22
- Camps Java:
- Leles, Garoet, Bandoeng, Bicycle Camp, Batavia
- 5273 & 3696
- Cause of Death:
- Place of Death:
- Pakan Baroe, Sumatra
- Date of Death:
- Camp cemetery, 4 km From Pakan Baroe.
Harold with a large number of 2/4th men went AWOL from the ‘Aquitania’ when it anchored in Gauge Roads off Fremantle for one night on 15th January, 1942. Read further about this incident.
Harold was taken POW at Batavia and was recorded at several Camps including Leles, Garoet, Bandeong, Bicycle Camp before being selected to work with Java Party No. 22 with Noel Banks to Pakan Baroe, Sumatra. From Bicycle Camp they sailed to Singapore 27 June 1944 and arriving Singapore 1st July 1944 and accommodated at River Valley Road Transit Camp where they tested to assess their health.
Note: According the above shipping info these POW were sent to Changi and not River Valley Transport Camp. We have no means to confirm this.
It was here they were joined by another 2/4th man Robert McAskil who had arrived in Singapore on 21 May 1944 with Java Party No. 20. McAskil was removed from a draft to sail to Japan – the ship was sunk off Nagasaki 24 June 1944 by American Submarines. McAskil was to die of beri beri at Kampoeng near Kota Baroe, Sumatra on 28 March 1945.
McAskil, Banks and Booth were joined by several more 2/4th men around 7th and 8th August 1944 – Win Annear and ‘Squasher’ Squance. They were transported from Singapore directly up the Siak River on an old ferryboat named ‘Elizabeth‘ ortherwise known as the ‘white boat’. As ‘Elizabeth‘ was a small boat we believe the POWs were transported in several parties between 7 July and 8 August 1944.
Harold succumbed to beri beri and tragically died at the age of 37 years on 15 April 1945 at Pakan Baroe, Sumatra.
Below: Harold and Audrey attend this 1937 wedding in Norseman
(Howatharra is a small town in the Mid West region of Western Australia, between Geraldton and Binnu.)
Harold married Audrey Gettingby about 1941 in Northam.
They were living in Norseman where Harold was a boot-maker when he enlisted in October 1940.
He had earlier worked as labourer/farmhand at Williams in 1931 and the Beverley area in 1934 before moving to Norseman.
Below: Harold’s mother-in-law died Dec 1942
Below: From the Norseman Newspaper – referring to Audrey Booth.
Below: Harold works fo Norseman’s volunteer fire Brigade 38 & 39.
BOOTH, Private, HAROLD VERNON, WX8766, A.I.F. 2/4 M.G. Bn., Australian Infantry. 15 April 1945. Age 37. Son of George and Freda Evelyn Booth; husband of Audrey Booth, of Armadale, Western Australia. Grave Ref. 1. D. 19.
Above a reference to George Booth residing at Howatharra, near Geraldton.
Regretfully, we are unable to find further knowledge of the Booth family.
Following his marriage to Audrey Gettingby, Harold and Audrey moved to Norseman, where Audrey’s family resided.
Above: The beginning of huge Western Australian story and outrage concerning Audrey’s father, a former WW1 soldier whom the public believed had been unfairly treated.
Below: are just a few of the many stories printed in the newspapers of the time.
Below: John Gettingby died 1932
Below: Audrey’s mother died December1942
- Bandoeng - Java ***
- Bicycle Camp, Batavia, Jakarta - Java ***
- Garoet - Java
- Leles - Java