‘Rakuyo’ Maru 12 Sep 1944 – Howard, Hutchison, McCracken, McMahon, Minchin, Moore, Mutton, Nicholson & Nolan.

The following are nine (9) of the 38 men from 2/4th who did not survive sinking of ‘Rakuyo’ Maru 12 Sep 1944
NX73270 HOWARD, Bernard James b. 1914 Quirindi, NSW. Enlisted Paddington, NSW Sep 1941 joining 88 Light Aid Detachment, Trade Group 1 attached to 2/4th Headquarters Company. ‘Rakuyo’ Maru Perished 12 Sep 1944 aged 29.

Bernard Howard was one of 3 sons & 2 daughters born to Frederick William Howard & Annie May Coyle. The family lived in the area of Quirindi and Willow Tree, a prestigious grazing and farming district, northern extremities of Liverpool Ranges, Hunter Valley. Frederick Howard was a farmer. His sons, including Bernard took up work as truck drivers and station hands.   Although a prestigious farming area it would have been hit by 1930’s depression, and no doubt the reason Bernard like many other young men from Australia’s rural areas, enlisted.


WX7646 HUTCHISON, Robert Bamford ‘Bob’ b. 1912 Subiaco. Cook with ‘D’ Coy. Wounded in action 12 Feb 1944 receiving shrapnel wound to his back. ‘Rakuyo’ Maru.   Perished 12 Sep 1944 aged 32.   Son of Tom and Violet Hutchison, Subiaco. Tom was engaged to be married.


WX5584 McCRACKEN, Ronald Duncan ‘Don’ b. 1918 Narrogin. Enlisted Dec 1940. Signaller HQ Coy. Involved in bayonet charge at Hill 200, Ulu Pandan, Singapore where he was wounded in action. Admitted to 2/10th Australian General Hospital with gunshot wound right foot. Discharged to unit 28 Feb 1942. ‘Rakuyo’ Maru.     Perished 15 Sep 1944 aged 24.

Ron’s name is recorded on Wagin WW2 Memorial.
McCracken and his mate Harry Pickett were signallers with HQ. Pickett was one of the lucky ones to be picked up by an American submarine.   After the war ended, Pickett went to visit Ron’s mother.
Ron’s mother was born Wandering 1896 died in 1984 aged 88 years.  She asked her family to scatter her ashes at sea in memory of her first-born son Ron.
Please read the story of Ron McCracken


WX8760 McMAHON, Thomas Membury ‘Tom or Blue’ b. 1920 Loxton, S.A. Formerly Norseman – Hoist Driver – Tom (Snr) and Ethel McMahon moved to Norseman and Tom’s younger brother was born here. Enlisted Oct 1940 joined ‘C’ Coy. Wounded in action Ulu Pandan, Singapore 12 Feb 1942. Admitted to 13th Australian General Hospital with shrapnel wound to left food. Discharged to unit 24 Feb 1942. ‘A’ Force to Burma.   Perished ‘Rakuyo’ Maru 14 Sep 1944 aged 24. Tom, born in nearby Loxton, South Australia has his name inscribed on the Unley Town Hall Honour Board for WW2.

Thomas Membury McMahon, Service number WX8760, Private, 2nd/4th Machine Gun Battalion, 2nd AIF WW 2, Born 8 Mar 1920, Died 14 Sep 1944, Died at sea (Rakuyo Maru)’
WX7662 MINCHIN, Alec Randolph (Corp) b. 1914 Dangin. Formerly farmer of Dangin. Enlisted August 1940, joined 2/4th ‘C’ Coy. Fought Singapore. Selected to work Thai-Burma Railway with 3,000 POWs ‘A’ Force Burma, Green Force No. 3 Btn. ‘Rakuyo’ Maru. Perished 15 Sep 1944 aged 30. He left his young wife widowed with his son.



WX8076 MOORE, Frank Clifford b.1911 Northam. Formerly Bowgada. Enlisted Aug 1940. ‘A’ Coy. Fought Singapore. Worked Burma-Thai Railway ‘A’ Force. ‘Rakuyo’ Maru. Perished 12 Sep 1944 aged 33.

Son of Frank Randell Moore & Margueretta Valeria Moore of Shenton Park, Frank had two brothers and one sister. The Moore family initially lived Wongan Hills, moved to Narrogin where Frank (Snr) worked as a blacksmith.
From 1936 until he enlisted Frank was living at Waddy Forrest near Coorow, C/o M. Patton his occupation given as farming/teamster.


WX7181 MUTTON, Charles (Chas)b. 1913 Perth. Scout with ‘’B’ Coy. Fought Singapore. ‘Rakuyo’ Maru. Perished 12 Sep 1944 aged 31.

Son of Arthur Stephan Mutton & Bridget Agnes (Dol) Mutton, St. Kilda, Victoria.Chas was one of three children born to parents Arthur and Bridget (known as Dol) Mutton. His 5 year old sister Joyce died in an accident when the Mutton family resided in Victoria Park. His father had also died by the time Chas enlisted Aug 1940.   At the end of the war ‘Dol’ Mutton had only her younger son alive.


WX7940 NICHOLSON, Walter George ‘Wally’ b. 1907 Norwich, England. Formerly Yorkrakine. Worked for Harold Albert & Lydia Alice Diver at Yorkrakine, which is part of the Tammin Shire.  Harold Diver was a pioneer of the district.

‘C’ Coy. Fought Singapore. ‘Rakuyo’ Maru. Perished 13 Sep 1944 aged 36.
Son of Walter George & Margaret Rebecca Nicholson, of Mount Hawthorn.  Wally’s father Wally (Snr) enlisted with 11th Battalion, AIF WW1 and died France 1916 his son Wally was then about 9 years old.
Wally’s mother Margaret was widowed with 6 or 7 children.


 WX7659 NOLAN, Edwin Leslie ‘Les’ b. 1910 Durham, England. Formerly Bodallin where he worked as a farmhand. Enlisted Aug 1940 joined ‘C’ Coy as Driver.   Les arrived WA 1928 and the following his brother Maurice arrived. In 1936 he was living Yilgarn probably working as a miner. He was married and left two step-children.

Les was the 3rd son of Grace & the late Will Nolan of Great Ayton, Yorkshire, England.