To honour those who served their country

“In this their finest hour”

Royal Artillery-tn


Lance Bombardier

Reginald Harmer


Royal Artillery

137 Field Regiment




137 Field Regiment

On the 6th January 1942, the British, Indian and Australian forces in Malaya were holding a defensive position at a small village named Slim River. To the rear of the defences the river Slim itself was in full flood.

On the 7th January at dawn, the Japanese made a full frontal attack using aircraft and tanks. The defenders had neither of these. By the afternoon the Japanese had started to break through and orders were given to retreat, unfortunately the bridge, which would lead them to comparative safety, had already been blown, as had been the case all the way down the peninsula.

More than 7,000 men and their equipment were on the wrong side of the river, so the order was given to break and retreat. More than 3,000 Indians were killed, made prisoner or deserted, the remaining British and Australians scattered. Some tried to swim the swollen river, many of them did not make the far side. The others went into the jungle, of these, three thousand, were able to get across and rejoin their units, however some were lost for days.

A party of Artillery men under the command of Lt Colonel Outran headed west and by the evening of the 8th January managed to climb on board a maverick train heading south.

On the morning of the 10th January the train having managed to elude Japanese aircraft, stopped to take on water. At ten o'clock that morning four Japanese light bombers strafed the train killing at least fourteen men.

Colonel Outran arranged for the men to be buried where they lay, afterwards making his way down to Singapore, where he made his report.



Age 26


Died after the battle at Slim River, on the train at Tebong Railway Station.


Loved Ones

Son of George and Mary Harmer, of Ilford, Essex; husband of Olive Rose Harmer, of Barkingside, Ilford.




24. B. 12.




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