Private Lawrence Saywell

Lawrence Saywell was one of the first men to enlist in the 2nd AIF in 1939. Tragically, this unassuming but friendly Private and POW escapee, became the last Australian to die at the hands of the enemy in the European theatre of World War Two: on VE Day, 8 May 1945, alone in a field by a country lane, in the remote hills of Bohemia.

To read his story compiled by Peter Allen, former National Coordinator of the Centenary of Anzac Jewish Program

Private Lawrence Phillip Saywell, 17th Brigade Company, Australian Army Service Corps, photographed as a prisoner of war in Stalag VII a (Moosburg, Germany) c. October 1941.
The dedication of the headstone of Private Lawrence Phillip Saywell, in the Evangelical Cemetery in the village of Miřetin, Czechoslovakia, in October 1945.
Private Lawrence Saywell (second from left), Private Sydney (Mac) Kerkham of New Zealand (first left) and two Russians, who escaped from prison camp in Bohemia and joined Czech partisans in January 1945.
Pravcův mlyn – Nové Hrady: ‘Pravcuv Mill’ – ‘New Castle’: 12km north of Miřetin, Czechoslovakia – where Saywell and Kerkham stayed in 1945.
Lawrence Saywell’s CWG headstone in Prague War Cemetery.
Medals of Private L P Saywell (1/12/1919 to 8/5/1945), Australian Army Service Corps, 17 Infantry Brigade, 6 Division: 1939-45 Star, Africa Star, Defence Medal, British War Medal 1939-45, Australia Service Medal and his two foreign awards: the Czechoslovakian Military Cross and the Meritorious Cross of the Czech Republic.