The Soldier's Details
- First Name:
- Percival Henry Charles
- Nick Name:
- Regimental #:
- ‘D’ Company, No. 14 Platoon
- Place of Birth:
- Bunbury, Western Australia
- Father's Name:
- Henry Rosewarne Lakeman
- Mothers's Name:
- Alice Beatrice Lakeman (nee Camp)
- Church of England
- Pre-war Occupation:
- Kanchanaburi War Cemetery, Plot 1, Row H, Grave 50, Age 44.
- Selarang Camp and Barracks Changi
- ‘D’ Force Thailand, S Battalion
- Camps Thailand:
- Tarsau, Kanu II
- 4/6037 & 8802
- Cause of Death:
- Place of Death:
- Kanu 1 River Camp
- Date of Death:
- Grave No. 10, Kanu 1 River Camp
Following enlistment from Norseman with AIF on 23 Oct 1940m (he recorded his birth date as 1901 instead of 1898 because of age restrictions) Percy later joined 2/4th MGB ‘D’ Coy No. 14 Platoon under command of Lt. T H. Tompkins.
‘D’ Company was located on north west coast of Singapore to defend against the Japanese invasion. On 8th Feb after being under heavy and heavy fire, the Japanese crossed the Straits by small craft. The Machine Gunners fought vigorously until forced to retreat.
Soldier was shell shocked at Buona Vista on 14.2. 1942. He was one of a large number who suffered under the constant heavy bombardment over several days.
The fight to save Singapore lasted from 8th to 15th February 1945 during which time 2/4th Machine Gunners suffered heavy losses.
After surrender to Japan ‘Perce’ was accommodated at Selarang Camp and Barracks, Changi, Singapore
Selected with ‘D’ Force S Battalion to work on Burma-Thai Railway, he departed for Thailand from Singapore by train March 1943. A train journey which took 4-5 days in crowded trucks.
‘D’ Force headed for Tarsau where the men worked for several weeks prior to arriving at Kanu II on 25 April 1943. ‘D’ Force worked in the Hellfire Pass Cutting where work conditions were extremely harsh cutting into the rock face with antiquated tools, no boots and little clothing, often ill, under guards who were demanding and spiteful. Their living conditions were little better. Food was minimal and there were no medical supplies. Percy Lakeman died 26 June 1943 of malaria at Kanu I Camp aged 44 years.
Kanachanaburi War Cemetery, Thailand.
Born in 1898 Bunbury ‘Perce’ was the only son of Henry Lakeman and Alice Beatrice Camp. He had two sisters Mabel and Gladys.
His mother remarried 1902 at York to Denis Byrne. Denis and Alice had five children during the following 12 years – two daughters and three sons. Byrne died Nov 1912 at York aged 49 years.
Alice remarried George Martin in 1914. They had three children during their marriage. George Martin died 6 June 1952 Swanbourne aged 65 years.
Alice died in 1935 aged 56 years.
In 1931 Electoral Roll Perce is recorded farming at Bullfinch having been granted in 1928 a property through the Government Land development scheme.
The distance between Lake Deborah and Bullfinch is about 85 kms.
Following from the dissolution of the partnership with Moore and the sale of the properties, Perce Lakeman would have been more than disappointed . His whole life would have turned upside down. Percy was about 34 years of age and looked at starting his life path again.
From 1936, 1937 and until he enlisted in Oct 1940 Perce worked as a miner at Norseman area, he is recorded enlisting at Norseman.
(Others to enlist from Norseman into 2/4th and did not return to Australia include: John Warren-Smith, Robert Leighton Smith, James Halligan, W.R.S. Baker (Rakuyo Maru), Thomas Ernest Smith)
- Selarang Barracks Changi - Singapore
- Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
- Kanu 1 151.00k - Thailand
- Tarsau, Tha Sao 125k - Thailand