to perpetuate the memory and history of our dead

27.0 HMAS PERTH

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMAS_Perth_(D29)

One might be inclined to ask why I have included this Section. The men of the PERTH fought, died, were captured and then worked alongside the Americans. It seems fitting that we should honor their memory.

27.1 PERTH by the numbers

Even though there were nearly as many HMAS PERTH crewmen who survived the sinking (330) as those from the USS HOUSTON (74 USMC & 334 sailors), they took somewhat rather diverse paths during their captivity. Of those, only 221 returned to Australia; 109 deaths is a death toll of 34%. The overall death toll for all Australians in this theater is generally accepted as 21%.

By my accounting, a total of 280 men worked the TBR; all but 15 in the Burma sector. Of those, 184 were liberated; 44 were sent on to Japan and another 36 were en route to Japan when the Rakuyo Maru was sunk.  [see below for details on those who worked the TBR in Thailand versus Burma]

The following chart depicts the overall fate of the various groups who worked the TBR:

%19.3%75.4%5.4%
total5421115280on TBR
5A (Bu)Williams (Bu)Dunlop (Th)
LIB471307184LIB
16.8%46.4%2.5%65.7%lib
DCD9634.3%overallof Williams
at sea133035.4%40.7%
low0606.3%7.4%
high427739.6%33.3%
KAN19111.5%11.1%
Japan1607.3%7.4%
7818  
13.0%38.4%53.3%

This is an extremely busy chart; packed with information, but it only tallies those who worked the TBR. I’ll try to make sense of it.

Of the 280 PERTH crew men who worked the TBR, 184 (66%) were eventually liberated; 96 died. There were three separate groups who worked the TBR: 15 worked in Thailand with the Dunlop Group in what I call the highlands of Thailand just beyond HellFire Pass [see Section 8.10 ]. Eight (53%) of them died; 7 while working and 1 later in Kanchanaburi after the TBR was completed.

The other two groups worked in Burma. The smaller Group known as 5A worked almost exclusively in the highlands of Burma; while the Williams Group first worked the lowlands then shifted east into the highlands (Kilo 55 and beyond). 38% of the Williams Grp died: 27 (33%) while working in the highlands during the Speedo period; only 6 (7%) died while they were working the lowlands. Following the completion of the railway, 9 (11%) died in Kanchanaburi; 6 (7%) after being transferred to Japan and 33 (40%) were KIA in the sinking of the Hellships that were transporting them to Japan.

The 5A Group (known to the US contingent as the Tharp Grp) had only 54 PERTH crewmen. Whereas for the Americans, the 5A Group suffered the worse deprivation and the most deaths while working the Burmese highlands, the PERTH contingent fared somewhat better. Only 7 (13%) of the 54 died; 4 of them during the Speedo period in the highlands. Two other members of the 5A Party were KIA when the Hellship carrying them to Burma was bombed by the AAF, therefore they never actually worked the TBR.  

The overall death rate of the TBR workers was 34% (96/280). 40% of those deaths occurred while working in the Burmese highlands. A total of 34 TBR veterans died in the sinking of their Hellships. 11% died in Kanchanaburi after TBR completion and 7% succumbed after being transferred to Japan. Only 6% died while working near Thanbyuzayat in Burma. This matches well with the experience of the US Fitzsimmons Group who spent most of their TBR time in that same area.

To date, I have uncovered no information saying that any of the PERTH crew were executed or killed by direct actions of their captors. For many of the 61 (55%) of the 112 crewmen who perished while POWs we have no recorded cause of death; so we can’t be sure that they all died of disease / deprivation. But what we do know is that another 40% died tragically due to what could be called ‘friendly fire’. Only 6 men (5%) died due to enemy action in the hours after the sinking. Another 2 were killed by angry natives soon after coming ashore without ever actually becoming POWs.

Of the 43 men who perished by ‘friendly fire’, the majority (36) died when the Hellships they were on were torpedoed by Allied submarines. Another 7 were killed during Allied bombing raids. Three of those 7 had survived the sinking of the Rakuyo Maru only to die a few months later in Tokyo.

The overall death rate of 34% for the PERTH crew is quite high as compared to other groups of Allied POWs. But the fact that 40% of those were due to ‘friendly fire’ is quite extraordinary!

27.2 crew men deaths

Let’s begin documenting the saga of those who made it off the ship but who died prior to becoming POWs. Lt. Neville McWilliam is documented as succumbing to his head wound while in the arms of a shipmate on a lifeboat. Almost immediately after coming ashore on Java, Stoker Claude Maslem died from burns and exposure. Neither of their remains were recovered post-war. In a tragically strange turn of events, PO John Harvey was beheaded by a group of angry villagers on the beach. While he was being attacked, those with him fled into the jungle. In a separate by similar incident, on 14 APR Able Seaman Ernest Owen died of wounds he had received when his group was also attacked on the beach by villagers. The fate of four others (Leading Seaman George Bretheton, Able Seamen John Cochrane & Henry Vivian and Artificer Donald Smith ) went undocumented except that they died prior to being apprehended and are buried in the War Cemetery in Batavia. The only other POW to die early on Java was PO Cook Frank Cadge (31 MAR) at the Bicycle camp.

No further deaths occurred until these men were being transferred to Burma. While en route from Singapore to Burma, the Hellship Moji Maru carrying US, Dutch and Australian POWs was attacked[3] by a flight of US B-24s. Stoker George McCredie and Steward Robert Smith were KIA in that attack. Their remains were eventually recovered and re-buried in the CWGC cemetery at Thanbyuzayat.

1 MAR 1943, the anniversary of the PERTH’s sinking saw the first TBR death: Stoker Cecil Stokes. His was also the only pre-Speedo death. Between JUN 43 and the completion of the TBR in mid-OCT, 28 PERTH crew men perished. The majority of them died in Burma and are interred at the Thanbyuzayat cemetery.

Once the TBR was complete, the slow consolidation of POWs to Kanchanaburi began. But many of the Burma-sector POWs, which included the majority of the US and PERTH POWs, remained in the jungle until early in 1944. Between OCT and MAR 44, an additional 21 TBR-POWs died; mostly at the Kanchanaburi camp. They are buried at the Don Rak or Thanbyuzayat CWGC cemeteries.

On 12 SEP 44, the Rakuyo Maru was sunk en route to Japan; 36 PERTH crewmen died in that attack. Miraculously, 4[4] were rescued by US submarines and returned to Australia by the end of the year. Three others (Lead Seaman Allan HAWKE and Able Seamen Eric BOND & Hugh CAMPBELL) also survived the sinking but were picked from the sea by Japanese ships. Fatefully, by JAN 44, all three died[5] in Japanese POW camps. Apparently, RAAF Lead Aircraftman Ernest Toe[6] (assigned to the PERTH) was also taken on board a Japanese ship but succumbed to wounds 2 days later.

Back in Kanchanaburi in DEC 44, Lead Stoker Ronald GRIEVE[7] and Able Seaman Kenneth IKIN were KIA when stray bombs aimed at the bridges fell on to the nearby POW camp. The final three deaths in Thailand took place on 2 JAN Stoker Malcomb BLACK died of malaria; on 23 APR PO Cook Fred CLARK and Lead Signalman Jack Jackson (11 JUN 45) the latter both died at the Nakorn Pathom hospital.

In MAR 45, PO Richard McConnell died at the Yokohama camp.

A bombing raid on Tokyo on 13 JUL 45 killed three PERTH TBR veterans: PO Thomas JOHNSON and Able Seamen Patrick MAJOR & Keith MILLS. Overall, a surprising 7 men were KIA by friendly-fire in the three different bobmbing raids mentioned herein.

Two other PERTH crewmen had a rather uniquely tragic journey to their deaths. Bandsman Henry KELLY and Able Seaman George MORRISS had apparently been left in Singapore during the transfer of POWs. They found themselves bound for Borneo and both died at Sandakan POW camp; KELLY in JAN and MORRISS in MAY 45.

The final PERTH POW death was Lead Seaman Stanley ROBERTS[8] whose death tragically occurred at the Bicycle camp on 16 AUG 45 = one day after the official Japanese surrender!

27.3 other liberated crewmen

Not all of the PERTH POWs worked the TBR. To the best of my knowledge (limited by available records), it appears as though 19 POWs were initially left on Java when the others departed. Of those, 13 were seemingly liberated from the Bicycle Camp. Six were transferred to Singapore where upon one was sent to work on the Sumatra Railway.

We know that soon after the sinking two groups of men ‘commandeered’ boats from the small islands in the Sunda Strait. One group sailed south then east. After almost three weeks, they made it to the port of TjilatJap where the Japanese were waiting. The other group sailed west making landfall on the eastern tip of Sumatra, They too were soon rounded up by the Japanese. Nine men appear to have spent their captivity on Sumatra. Adding Bandsman George VANSELOW, who was sent to work the Railway, it seems that ten were eventually liberated from Sumatra.

27.4 limitations

Given that I am limited to two sources of information consisting of on-line records and published survivor accounts and that the digitized Australian military records are by no means as comprehensive as those of the US POWs, I have lain out above my current level of under-standing of the saga of the PERTH crewman. I must acknowledge the contribution of author Mike Carlton who included a ship’s roster in his book CRUISER that formed the basis of my crew list.

I have expanded the information on many of the crew using the Japanese POW rosters provided in the MANSELL collection of WW2 documents. After a long search, I located a MANSELL roster that listed the 211 crew men who were assigned to the Williams Group; by default the other Burma-side TBR veterans (54 of them) were in the 5A Group. These numbers correlate well with those published elsewhere.


[1] I have resolved the journey of 2 liberated POWs that had formerly been undetermined

[2] Not all had worked the TBR

[3] see Section 9.2 for a full story of this incident

[4]

ARTHURBANCROFTAbleSeamanF3239
RobertCOLLINSAbleSeaman22177
JohnHOUGHTONAbleSeaman23917
LloydMUNROStoker 3cS5186

[5] They are buried in the Yokohama CWGC cemetery.

[6] Toe’s remains were not recovered (buried at sea?); he is memorialized at Singapore War cemetery

[7] GRIEVE’s remains were not recovered; IKIN is buried at the Don Rak cemetery

[8] Roberts is interred at the Jakarta CWGC cemetery.

27.5 Those who died in the Battle of the Sunda Strait

The HMAS PERTH was sunk alongside the USS HOUSTON on 1 Mar 1942. To the best of my ability, here are the 351

men who died in that sinking. LEST WE FORGET

FNLNtitleSN
HECTORWALLERCaptainofficer
ROBERTGRAYCommanderofficer
WILLIAMMARTINCommanderofficer
GUYCLARKELieut-Commanderofficer
JOHNJOHNSONLieut-Commanderofficer
LLEWELLYNWATKINSLieut-Commanderofficer
ALLEYNETREGEARLieut-Commander Surgeonmed officer
ERICTYMMSLieut-Commander Surgeonmed officer
RONALDBEVINGTONChaplainofficer
PETERHANCOXLieutenantofficer
MICHAELHIGHTONLieutenantofficer
ARTHURMEARSLieutenantofficer
CyrilPalairetLieutenantofficer
DAVIDSUTTONLieutenantofficer
WILLIAMGIDNEYLieutenant Engineerofficer
AlbertBallSub-Lieutenantofficer
JACKLESTERSub-Lieutenantofficer
THOMASWOLLEYSub-Lieutenantofficer
FRANKTRANBY-WHITEMidshipmanofficer
HAROLDHAYLOCKCommissioned Shipwrightofficer
JamesTuersleyWarrant EngineerWO
HENRYHILLWarrant MechanicianWO
HUBERTCREBERMaster at Arms17759
WALTERDOUGLASSBandmaster19529
JOHNHUGGANChief Electrical Artificer19670
REGINALDWHITINGChief Electrical Artificer13763
VINCENTEDWARDSChief Engine Rm Artificer16056
JOHNMADGEChief Engine Rm Artificer19839
JAMESWYTHESChief Engine Rm Artificer20543
ALBERTROBBINSChief Ordnance Artificer19448
ROLANDHUBBARDChief Petty Officer16506
ANDREWHUDSONChief Petty Officer15239
DONALDVINEYChief Petty Officer12688
CHARLESMARTINChief Petty Officer Supply14509
GerwynEvansChief Stoker04695
LACHLANMACQUARIEChief Stoker06750
HARRYTHOMASChief Stoker13283
HERBERTHATWELLChief Yeoman of Signals13124
GEORGEROWLINGLeading Seaman16976
CHARLESBULLOWLeading Steward12341
WILLIAMHUTCHINSLeading Steward16212
ALLANFARLEYLeading Stoker19133
PERCYLARMERLeading Stoker17621
ALBERTMcKINNONLeading Stoker12420
ROBERTNUNNLeading Stoker18229
SPENCERBLANCHMechanician 1st c16526
ERICPIPERYeoman of Signals19258
PERCYSTOKANYeoman of Signals14723
AlfredFinneyLeading Cook S3555
JOHNHILLLeading Cook20995
HERBERTLANGDONLeading Cook20860
ROBERTBORWICKLeading Seaman19038
RonaldDeverilLeading Seaman17574
ERICECKERMANNLeading Seaman PA1627
CHARLESESSEXLeading Seaman19811
HARRYLAMBDENLeading Seaman22510
WILLIAMSTILLLeading Seaman20446
EDWARDLANIGANLeading Signalman21195
WILLIAMNOYCELeading Signalman20330
LAURIECUTHBERTLeading Steward20993
ALEXANDERMcKENZIELeading Steward21377
LOUISSMITHLeading Steward20284
LEOPOLDBURGESSLeading Stoker22288
JAMESEWINGLeading Stoker21333
RonaldFayLeading Stoker21273
JOSEPHHARTLEYLeading Stoker20680
ARNOLDKIRBYLeading Stoker21365
FRANCISMUNNSLeading Stoker22921
FREDERICKOLSENLeading Stoker22302
GEORGEPERRYLeading Stoker15407
LEOSTEVENSLeading Stoker22652
THOMASWILKINSONLeading Stoker21076
GORDONGRAHAMLeading Supply Assistant22868
JOHNDAYLeading Telegraphist PM2460
COLINCHEADLELeading Wireman24517
JOHNINNESLeading Wireman24516
ROBERTNAISMITHMechanician05925
THOMASWRIGHTMechanician 2nd c19416
THOMASBAWNPetty Officer19716
LEONARDBRANFORDPetty Officer19584
ARTHURCLOSEPetty Officer19131
GEORGEHATFIELDPetty Officer19559
EDWARDPAYNEPetty Officer19648
WALTERSALMONPetty Officer17775
WILLIAMSPEERSPetty Officer19297
GEORGEWOODGATEPetty Officer19590
ARTHURENDACOTTPetty Officer Cook16756
ALBERTFUREYPetty Officer Regulating19149
WALTERMORRISPetty Officer Steward16354
CHARLESALFORDPetty Officer Stoker14299
ALBERTBLAKEYPetty Officer Stoker19796
IVANCUNNINGHAMPetty Officer Stoker20143
REGINALDFROSTPetty Officer Stoker19173
CLARENCEHILLPetty Officer Stoker16160
WILLIAMREECEPetty Officer Stoker17867
JOHNROBSONPetty Officer Stoker15223
PATRICKSANDSPetty Officer Stoker19703
FRANCISSTEELEPetty Officer Stoker20566
ERICBURTONPetty Officer Supply20191
ARTHURSPRIGGINSPetty Officer Telegraphist19349
FRANKWATSONPetty Officer Writer20771
HaroldSparksSergeant RAAF03635
DANIELPADFIELDSick Berth Attendant PM3035
DALLASABBOTTAble Seaman23786




CHARLESASHLINAble Seaman H1435
DOUGLASASPLINAble Seaman PA1727
ERNESTATKINSAble Seaman PM2929
WILLIAMATKINSONAble Seaman B2798
LEONARDAUTON / AntonAble Seaman23868
VERDUNBLACKWELLAble Seaman20272
LeonardBroomfieldAble Seaman B2940
LAURENCEBUCKLEYAble Seaman PA1352
GEOFFREYBUNCOAble Seaman23002
EDMUNDBURKEAble Seaman B2909
GEORGECATMULLAble Seaman14854
ERNESTCHILDSAble Seaman W1700
JOSEPHCLEVELANDAble Seaman24471
LloydCoatesAble Seaman23261
STANLEYCOCHRANEAble Seaman19928
DAVIDCOLESAble Seaman20188
LIONELCOLLINSAble Seaman F2690
CHARLESCOPELANDAble Seaman PM2575
ERICCOPPINGAble Seaman S2859
JOHNCOXAble Seaman B2440
NORMANCUMMINGAble Seaman B1611
REGINALDCUNNINGHAMAble Seaman19511
FREDERICKDELBRIDGE*Able Seaman S4162
NORMANDIXONAble Seaman W0981
THOMASEDWARDSAble Seaman PA1953
WalterFildesAble Seaman F2632
RaymondFirmingerAble Seaman20791
WILLIAMFURNESSAble Seaman S3455
JAMESGALEAble Seaman S2506
WILLIAMGIRVANAble Seaman24875
GEORGEGLAUMAble Seaman PM2862
SYDNEYGLOSSOPAble Seaman S4505
RUSSELGODDARDAble Seaman23792
THOMASGOODMANAble Seaman F2741
PETERGRAHAMAble Seaman F2700
ROBERTGROVESAble Seaman S3404
JOHNGUBBINSAble Seaman18944
EDWINHALLETTAble Seaman F3377
WILLOUGHBYHAMILTONAble Seaman20908
LEOPOLDHARWARDAble Seaman PM2719
DAVIDHASKINSAble Seaman S4145
DAVIDHEADFORDAble Seaman19814
ROBERTHOFFMANNAble Seaman PM2592
REGINALDHORTONAble Seaman H1354
SIDNEYJAMESAble Seaman PA2013
HAROLDJARVISAble Seaman S3399
NEALEJEFFERYAble Seaman PA1949
ROBERTJOHNSTONAble Seaman F3350
ERICJUSTELIUSAble Seaman16507
DENISKINGSTONAble Seaman F3211
KENNETHKITEAble Seaman22173
MAXWELLLANEAble Seaman H1486
DOLPHLAWLERAble Seaman H1493
GEORGELAWSONAble Seaman F2614
ATHOLLEARYAble Seaman PM3377
LEONLOHRISCHAble Seaman22418
JOHNMACMILLANAble Seaman W0667
DARRELMANNINGAble Seaman F2731
GERALDMAYAble Seaman PM3426
KEVINMcCORMACKAble Seaman F2779
CHARLESMcCOSKERAble Seaman F2283
RONALDMcFARLANEAble Seaman PM3378
EDWARDMcWHIRTERAble Seaman F2719
WARWICKMORRISAble Seaman21911
WILLIAMMUTTOCKAble Seaman15012
FRANKNEWSONAble Seaman S1943
WILLIAMNOLANAble Seaman B2898
WilliamO’BrienAble Seaman F3208
GillespieOgilvieAble Seaman S3347
REGINALDOWENSAble Seaman S3281
WALTERPARRYAble Seaman23241
NOELPATONAble Seaman18938
RUSSELPERRYAble Seaman F3392
RONALDREYNOLDSAble Seaman F2730
LEONARDRIGHETTIAble Seaman PM2928
WILLIAMROBERTONAble Seaman PM3101
PHILLIPROVETAAble Seaman F1954
CHARLESRYAN*Able Seaman20939
JOHNSALTERAble Seaman H1509
CHARLESSCULLIONAble Seaman B2610
JOHNSIEVEYAble Seaman S5251
FREDERICKSMITHAble Seaman F2476
LESLIESMITHAble Seaman F2310
THOMASTHOMPSONAble Seaman PM3309
RONALDTOMSAble Seaman22210
CLIFTONTURNBULLAble Seaman H1446
CLARENCEVERDONAble Seaman20962
LESLIEWALMSLEYAble Seaman B2261
PETERWATSONAble Seaman W1470
ROBERTWEGERAble Seaman F3309
KEVINWESTAble Seaman S4727
EDWARDWESTBROOKAble Seaman S4415
ARTHURWHERRETTAble Seaman H1365
ARTHURWHITEAble Seaman20011
RONALDWILLIAMSAble Seaman19971
ROBERTWILLIAMSAble Seaman23488
ALICKWILSONAble Seaman PM2968
JOHNWISDOMAble Seaman PA1485
HARRYFREESTONEBandsman19182
ALFREDSAUNDERSBlacksmith 2c18207
NOELALDERMANCook S5042
HARLEYBATEUPCook23340
FrancisBrinerCook22682
CLIFFORDCHAMBERLAINCook22162
LESLIECOOTECook PA1906
WILFREDMINEARCook24008
ColinNottCorporal RAAF09358
PhillipWillCorporal RAAF09030
HENRYPORTERElectrical Artificer 2c S495
JOSEPHSNELLEngine Rm Artificer 2 c19876
ARTHURLEWISEngine Rm Artificer 3c22208
ROBERTMcAULEYEngine Rm Artificer 3c20445
FRANCISSWEENEYEngine Rm Artificer 3c22592
EDMUNDVINNICOMBEEngine Rm Artificer 3c20524
WILLIAMGUMMOWEngine Rm Artificer 4c PM1823
FREDERICKHUTTONEngine Rm Artificer 4c PM3774
WALLACELENNONEngine Rm Artificer 4c23743
VINCENTMcGOVERN*Engine Rm Artificer 4c23276
ERNESTMIDOLOEngine Rm Artificer 4c PM3885
DESMONDSCALLYEngine Rm Artificer 4c23610
FRANCISTREVOREngine Rm Artificer 4c23644
SYDNEYWARRENEngine Rm Artificer 4c23742
TERENCEWRIGHTJoiner 3rd c21031
DonaldBrownMechanician 2nd c20050
GEOFFREYWARDOrdinary Coder24900
RichardBenhamOrdinary Seaman S5229
ROYBENTLEYOrdinary Seaman24801
WILLIAMBOREHAMOrdinary Seaman23825
ARTHURBOYDOrdinary Seaman24803
ROBERTBURCHALLOrdinary Seaman F3319
JOHNCAMPBELLOrdinary Seaman24873
JOHNCARMODYOrdinary Seaman24322
GORDONHOPEOrdinary Seaman PM3477
WILLIAMJAGOOrdinary Seaman S5788
WILLIAMLAMONTOrdinary Seaman S5821
AMBROSEMEEHANOrdinary Seaman W1425
JACKPAYNTEROrdinary Seaman PA2014
SYDNEYPORTEROrdinary Seaman24843
EDGARROBERTSOrdinary Seaman B2861
WILFREDSANDSOrdinary Seaman PM3601
PETERSEPPELTOrdinary Seaman PA2351
ROBERTSIMSOrdinary Seaman S5253
KENNETHSLOGGETTOrdinary Seaman PM3600
ARTHURSUMMERSOrdinary Seaman PA2055
RONALDTHOMASOrdinary Seaman23651
PETERTIMMENSOrdinary Seaman PA2329
JACKTURNEROrdinary Seaman F3326
EDWARDWARDOrdinary Seaman S5099
GEORGEWARDOrdinary Seaman F3329
KENNETHWHATSONOrdinary Seaman S5826
ROYWILSONOrdinary Seaman PM3485
MAXWELLWILSONOrdinary Seaman H1462
JOHNWITTOrdinary Seaman24995
JOHNNESBITTOrdinary Signalman24466
ALFREDDEGNEROrdinary Telegraphist24363
WILLIAMGREENOrdinary Telegraphist S4235
WILLIAMNEWMANOrdinary Telegraphist PM3348
CHARLESWATKINSOrdinary Telegraphist01838
CHARLESCROISDALEOrdnance Artificer 4th c23553
ALFREDFORDOrdnance Artificer 4th c PM3178
HARRYHEWETTOrdnance Artificer 4th c PM3450
RICHARDSTAPLETONPainter 4th c S3203
WREXFORDO’HARASailmaker’s Mate14602
FRANCISKELLShipwright22218
ARTHURPURKISShipwright 1st c13662
RUTLANDDEARDENShipwright 4th c21025
ERNESTHAYHOWShipwright 4th c F4010
LESLIEMcMILLANSick Berth Attendant S4488
WILLIAMBRACHERSignalman S3493
ROBERTDODWELLSignalman B2356
JAMESHISKENSSignalman PM2289
WALTERHOPTONSignalman23632
TOMRISLEYSignalman23917
RICHARDSHALESignalman24139
HOWARDSNEYDSignalman23498
JOHNCOVERDALESteward23439
MATTILLICHSteward23371
JOHNPOUNDSteward PM3337
ARTHURSMITHSteward22476
PERCYSTEALEYSteward S4583
THOMASWEBSTERSteward21575
ROWLANDWELLSSteward21098
HENRYABSALOMStoker W2085
PETERALLOMStoker20619
JACKANGRAVEStoker W2092
RODGERBANKSStoker23859
CHARLESBENNETTStoker W1833
URWINBOWMANStoker W1615
JOHNBURDENStoker W2098
DONALDBURGESSStoker S4180
GEORGEBUTTERSStoker23927
HENRYDRIVERStoker23971
DESMONDEASTStoker20562
HORACEFOSTERStoker PM2177
EDGARFRANCISStoker20478
PATRICKKELLYStoker20681
DONALDKIRKMOEStoker23699
LANCELEALEStoker20471
WILLIAMLUCKStoker H1512
FrederickMillerStoker23924
STANLEYMYERSStoker W1788
PATRICKO’LEARYStoker19176
ANDREWROBSONStoker W25##
HENRYSMITHStoker W1154
CLIFFORDSTEEDStoker24275
ARTHURSTIRKStoker24330
ALLANSTREETStoker20683
EDWARDTHOMASStoker21793
THOMASTURNERStoker22241
THOMASWATTSStoker23822
JAMESBAILEYStoker 2nd c W2086
JOHNCORLEYStoker 2nd c W2196
DAVIDCRICKStoker 2nd c PA2160
ALBERTHOBBINSStoker 2nd c W2184
JOSEPHLANAGANStoker 2nd c W2126
SPENCERLANEStoker 2nd c PA2053
DONALDLEITCHStoker 2nd c W2084
JAMESLYMANStoker 2nd c F3575
LYALLMARSHALLStoker 2nd c H1632
KENNETHMcCLUREStoker 2nd c W2093
RALPHMcDERMOTTStoker 2nd c W2083
LESLIEMcMURDOStoker 2nd c S5671
MORTONO’LOUGHLINStoker 2nd c W2234
JOHNROBERTSStoker 2nd c PA2156
MORTONSARGEANTStoker 2nd c W2066
WILLIAMSHARMANStoker 2nd c S5316
STANLEYTHOMASStoker 2nd c03574
KEITHVICCARSStoker 2nd c W2177
LEONARDWALSHStoker 2nd c B3077
COLINWILLIAMSStoker 2nd c B3098
DONALDKILBYStoker 3rd c H1689
RONALDCLOHESYSupply Assistant PM3300
FRANCISGAVENSupply Assistant B3010
WILLIAMMATTHEWSSupply Assistant24350
LESLIEPETTYSupply Assistant S5247
WilliamFitzgibbonTelegraphist24061
CECILGWATKINTelegraphist S3999
ROBERTNEWTONTelegraphist24483
MAXWELLROBERTSTelegraphist PAV31
THOMASSTACEYTelegraphist23155
IANCAMPBELLWireman24670
CHARLESJACKSONWireman24722
NORMANPATTENWireman24690
ADOLPHUSCARYWriter F2775
ALFREDHAWKINS*Canteen ManagerCIVILIAN
KARLBOROUGHCanteen AssistantCIVILIAN
JOHNMcCULLACanteen AssistantCIVILIAN
  • there was a fourth civilian Canteen Asst; he was the 17 yo son of Manager Hawkins; He survived to become a POW.

Crew break-out KIA vs POW by rate/rank

ORNCOSNCOOFFCIV
crew46612237504
KIA2445523253
POW2226714251
crew %68.7%17.9%5.4%7.4%0.6%
% KIA69.8%15.7%6.6%7.1%0.9%
%POW67.5%20.4%4.3%7.6%0.3%

27.6 The PERTH POWs

Of the PERTH crew, 330 made it off the ship. 7 died prior to becoming POWs. Of the 323 POWs, 221 survived the ordeal = an incredible 32% POW death rate. Of those POWs, it appears as tho 274 worked the TBR. Even worse, of the small group who worked the Hintok area in the Thai sector 8 of 15 died! (see below)

One-third (35/102) of the POW deaths occurred in sinking of Hellships during transfer.

They are listed alphabetically here:

FNLNtitleSNgrpjourneycamp
HORACEABBOTTPO18818Dunlop-libTBR-TH to JapanHiroshima
CHRISTOPHERANDERSONStoker24438Williams-dcdTBR-B4Thanbyuzayat
ALANAXTONStoker 2cW2099Sumatra-libSumatraSumatra
GOEFFREYBALSHAWPOD/JX 135023Williams-dcdTBR-B4Thanbyuzayat
ARTHURBANCROFTAbleSeamanF3239Williams-libTBR-B4 > rescued RMrescued by Queenfish
RAYMONDBARKERLieutenantofficerWilliams-libTBR-B4(Humbo)
WilfredBARNESEng Rm Artificer 3c20475Williams-libTBR-B4tbr
AtholBARWICKOrdinarySeamanH1533Williams-libTBR-B4Hendatai
WilliamBEESignalman239225A-libTBR-5A to Japan AwaFukuoka
CHARLESBELLLeading SeamanPA1311Williams-seaTBR-B4 > Jp RMRakuyo Maru
LeslieBENSONLeading Seaman20796Williams-libTBR-B4Hendatai
LLOYDBESSELLStokerH1511Williams-seaTBR-B4 > Jp RMRakuyo Maru
WILLIAMBEVANAbleSeamanF25505A-dcdTBR-5AThanbyuzayat
NeilBIDDELYoeman of Signals20149Williams-libTBR-B4(Humbo)
WilliamBIRBECKAbleSeaman23029JAVA-libJava to SINGAChangi
KennethBLACKAbleSeamanW13845A-libTBR-5A(Humbo)
GordonBLACKLieutenantofficerWilliams-libTBR-B4(Humbo)
MALCOLMBLACKStokerW07785A-dcdTBR-5ADon Rak
RobertBLANDCPO Cook13018Williams-libTBR-B4(Humbo)
HilstonBOLANDAbleSeamanS4930Sumatra-libSumatraSumatra
EricBONDAbleSeamanW09425A-dcdTBR-5A to Japan AwaFukuoka
JOHNBOWERSPO Stoker19945Williams-dcdTBR-B4Thanbyuzayat
RonaldBRADSHAWWO RAAF175575A-libTBR-5ATamarkam
GEORGEBRETHERTONLeading Seaman20772JAVA-dcdDOW on JavaJava not rcv’d
WilliamBRISCOEAbleSeaman19708Williams-libTBR-B4(Humbo)
LaurenceBROWNPO Stoker19490Williams-libTBR-B4(Humbo)
ErnestBROWNAbleSeaman14191Williams-libTBR-B4(Humbo)
JamesBROWNAbleSeamanS3796Williams-libTBR-B4(Humbo)
ALFREDBROWNBandsman15171Williams-dcdTBR-B4Thanbyuzayat
ColinBROWNEAbleSeaman21999Williams-libTBR-B4 to Japan AwaFukuoka
LeslieBRUSEAbleSeamanF20165A-libTBR-5Atbr
LaurenceBULLIVANTAbleSeamanS28575A-libTBR-5A to Japan AwaFukuoka
LloydBURGESSLieutenantofficerWilliams-libTBR-B4(Humbo)
MaxwellBURKAbleSeamanH15875A-libTBR-5ANKP hosp
EDWARDBURLEYAbleSeaman223805A-dcdTBR-5AThanbyuzayat
FRANKCADGEPO Cook18324JAVA-dcdJavaBatavia
FRANCISCAMPBELLAbleSeamanW1199Williams-seaTBR-B4 > Jp RMRakuyo Maru
GavinCAMPBELLSub Lt Pay MasterofficerWilliams-libTBR-B4tbr
HughCAMPBELLAbleSeamanS5787Williams-dcdTBR-B4 to Japan RMYokohama
PeterCARGILLStoker 2cS4590JAVA-libJavaBatavia
RoyCARTERLeading Seaman19592Williams-libTBR-B4 to Japan AwaFukuoka
ERNESTCASSERLYStoker21120Williams-seaTBR-B4 > Jp RMRakuyo Maru
HaroldCHAFFEYLeading Seaman16140Sumatra-libSumatraSumatra
FrancisCHATTAWAYOrdinarySeamanS59305A-libTBR-5A to Japan AwaFukuoka
EdwardCLARKOrdinarySeamanPM3588Williams-libTBR-B4(Humbo)
EdmundCLARKAbleSeamanF2489Williams-libTBR-B4NKP hosp
FREDERICKCLARKPO Cook09597Williams-dcdTBR-B4Don Rak
WilliamCLIFFORDAbleSeaman22413Williams-libTBR-B4(Humbo)
JOHNCOCHRANEAbleSeamanPM2665JAVA-dcdDOW on JavaBatavia
RobertCOLLINSAbleSeaman22177Williams-libTBR-B4 > rescued RMrescued by Sealion
RobertCOOPERLeading Seaman22438Williams-libTBR-B4NKP hosp
FrancisCORCORANSteward192855A-libTBR-5A(Humbo)
ROBERTCOSTINAbleSeamanB2339Dunlop-dcdTBR-THDon Rak
WILLIAMCOWDROYLeading Seaman21820Williams-dcdTBR-B4Don Rak
JohnCOXHEADBand Corporal19874JAVA-libJavaBatavia
ALFREDCOYNEPO17663Dunlop-dcdTBR-THDon Rak
RonaldCRICKAbleSeaman22886Williams-libTBR-B4 to Japan AwaFukuoka
JamesCUNNINGHAMCPO Sick Bay18755Williams-libTBR-B4tbr
EDMUNDDALYAbleSeaman09696Williams-dcdTBR-B4Thanbyuzayat
WilliamDAVIESPO19654Williams-libTBR-B4Camp 1
ALFREDDAVIESSignalman23176Williams-dcdTBR-B4Thanbyuzayat
WilliamDAVISPO Steward18526JAVA-libJavaBatavia
GrahamDeCOURCY-BROWNEEng Rm Artificer 2c20525Williams-libTBR-B4Camp 1
JohnDEEGANAbleSeaman16381Williams-libTBR-B4(Humbo)
CharlesDELBRIDGE*AbleSeamanS4161Williams-libTBR-B4(Humbo)
AllenDENICOrdinarySeamanF33085A-libTBR-5A(Humbo)
SamuelDOBSONAbleSeaman136345A-libTBR-5AHendatai
CecilDOGGETTLeading Stoker21624Williams-libTBR-B4(Humbo)
PAULDONELEYOrdinarySeaman24977Williams-dcdTBR-B4Thanbyuzayat
VINCENTDOUGLASAbleSeamanB2917Williams-dcdTBR-B4Thanbyuzayat
VictorDUNCANEng Rm Artificer 2c21589Williams-libTBR-B4 to Japan RMTokyo
ROYDUNDONStokerW2173Dunlop-dcdTBR-THDon Rak
GORDONDVORAKStoker23163Williams-seaTBR-B4 > Jp RMRakuyo Maru
GeraldELLENOrdinarySeamanH1544Williams-libTBR-B4(Humbo)
AlanELLIOTOrdinarySeamanB2936JAVA-libJava to SINGAChangi
KennethELLIOTTSignalman21785Williams-libTBR-B4NKP hosp
JosephELWOODLeading Stoker23106Williams-libTBR-B4(Humbo)
ReginaldFARRINGTONLeading StokerB2212Williams-libTBR-B4(Humbo)
BERNARDFERGUSONStoker22734JAVA-seaJava > Jp TamTamahoko
DouglasFINDLAYAbleSeaman202045A-libTBR-5ANKP hosp
EdwardFIRMINStewardB32235A-libTBR-5A(Humbo)
StanleyFOOTESignalmanB1775Williams-libTBR-B4NKP hosp
GeorgeFORSYTHEng Rm Artificer 2c02368Williams-libTBR-B4Camp 1
DonaldFOWLERCPO Telegraphist12041Williams-libTBR-B4Camp 1
NormanFULLEROrdinarySeamanF3325Williams-libTBR-B4(Humbo)
RobertGARDINERCookF2870Williams-libTBR-B4(Humbo)
JESSEGARRETTAbleSeamanPM2572Williams-dcdTBR-B4Thanbyuzayat
WilliamGAYLieutenantofficerJAVA-libJava to Japan (Zg)Sendai
REGINALDGEBHARDTLeading Seaman20055Williams-seaTBR-B4 > Jp RMRakuyo Maru
AllanGEEAbleSeaman /Bugler21440Williams-libTBR-B4(Humbo)
ALANGEIERWireman24896Dunlop-dcdTBR-TH-DunlopDon Rak
EricGIBBONSOrdinary Telegraphist243815A-libTBR-5Atbr
ATHOLGIBBSAbleSeaman24247Williams-dcdTBR-B4Thanbyuzayat
WILLIAMGILBYAbleSeamanF3075Dunlop-dcdTBR-THDon Rak
GEORGEGILESChiefStoker13416Williams-dcdTBR-B4Thanbyuzayat
FrancisGILLANLieutenant EngineerofficerWilliams-libTBR-B4(Humbo)
ClaranceGLOSSOPAbleSeamanF23745A-libTBR-5A to Japan AwaFukuoka
LeslieGOLDINGAbleSeamanS36975A-libTBR-5A to JapanHiroshima
ThomasGOLDSMITHSignalmanW11795A-libTBR-5A(Humbo)
CharlesGOODCHAPOrdinarySeamanB3093Williams-libTBR-B4 to Japan AwaFukuoka
MarcusGOODWINOrd Artificer 2c20133Williams-libTBR-B4NKP hosp
HerbertGOSDENLeading SeamanPA1660Dunlop-libTBR-THTamarkam
JohnGRANTBandsman14107Williams-libTBR-B4(Humbo)
DavidGRAYOrdinarySeamanF33335A-libTBR-5A to JapanJp
B4-GRIEVELeading Stoker23182Williams-dcdTBR-B4TH / KIA not rcv’d
DavidGRIFFITHSEng Rm Artificer 4c23595Williams-libTBR-B4(Humbo)
NormanGRIFFITHSAbleSeamanB2912Dunlop-libTBR-THTamarkam
ArthurHADLEYLeading  Supply AsstS1692Williams-libTBR-B4Camp 1
JOHNHANNAFORDAbleSeamanPA691Williams-dcdTBR-B4Thanbyuzayat
AlfredHANSENStoker23165Williams-libTBR-B4NKP hosp
JohnHARPERLieutenantofficer5A-libTBR-5A to JapanTokyo
SydneyHARPERStoker 2cF3541JAVA-libJava to SINGAChangi
JohnHARRISAbleSeamanJ/X212268Williams-libTBR-B4 to VNSaigon
GEORGEHARRISPOF0670Williams-dcdTBR-B4Thanbyuzayat
JOHNHARVEYPO20953JAVA-dcdKIA on beachJava not rcv’d
AllanHAWKELeading SeamanPA1661Williams-dcdTBR-B4 to Japan AwaYokohama
FrankHAWKINSComm’d Gunnerofficer5A-libTBR-5A to JapanJp
AlfredHawkins JrCanteen AsstcivilianWilliams-libTBR-B4tbr
ClarenceHAWSELeading Stoker06399Williams-libTBR-B4NKP hosp
GeorgeHEDRICKPO17162Williams-libTBR-B4NKP hosp
CliveHENRYStoker23834Sumatra-libSumatraSumatra
ISAACHERMANAbleSeamanF2692Dunlop-dcdTBR-THDon Rak
ThomasHERRINGOrdinarySeamanS58475A-libTBR-5A(Humbo)
AlfredHEWITTAbleSeamanF34285A-libTBR-5A(Humbo)
JOHNHICKEYChiefShipwright18245Williams-dcdTBR-B4Thanbyuzayat
RonaldHILLCook22540Williams-libTBR-B4(Humbo)
HaroldHILLAbleSeamanF2738Williams-libTBR-B4ChungKai camp
RonaldHILLSignalman23695Williams-libTBR-B4NKP hosp
JOHNHODGEAbleSeamanPM3504Williams-dcdTBR-B4Thanbyuzayat
WILLIAMHOGMANPOStoker19356Williams-seaTBR-B4 > Jp RMRakuyo Maru
TREVISHOSKINGAbleSeaman23005Williams-seaTBR-B4 > Jp RMRakuyo Maru
JohnHOUGHTONAbleSeaman23917Williams-libTBR-B4 > rescued RMrescued by Sealion
JosephHUGHESEng Rm Artificer 1c147985A-libTBR-5ACamp 3
CarlosHUGHESTelegraphist22407Williams-libTBR-B4(Humbo)
EricHURSTAbleSeamanF2281Williams-libTBR-B4Camp 1
KENNETHIKINAbleSeamanH1048Williams-dcdTBR-B4Don Rak
NOELJACKSONLeading Signalman21788Williams-seaTBR-B4 > Jp RMRakuyo Maru
WalterJACKSONAbleSeaman19989Williams-libTBR-B4(Humbo)
JACKJACKSONLeading SignalmanPM1783Williams-dcdTBR-B4Don Rak
MaxwellJAGGEROrdinarySeamanS5635Sumatra-libSumatraSumatra
StanleyJAMESAbleSeamanS32415A-libTBR-5ANKP hosp
JohnJARRETTAbleSeamanW1419Williams-libTBR-B4 to Japan AwaFukuoka
RhonsleyJETSONStoker22653Williams-libTBR-B4tbr
AlbertJEWELLLeading  Cook22642Williams-libTBR-B4Camp 1
FRANKJOHNSONLeading Seaman22047Williams-seaTBR-B4 > Jp RMRakuyo Maru
ThomasJohnsonPO21947Williams-dcdTBR-B4 to Japan RMTokyo
WALTERJOHNSTONAbleSeamanF33165A-seaTBR-5A > Jp RMRakuyo Maru
ALFREDJONESLeading Stoker18298Williams-seaTBR-B4 > Jp RMRakuyo Maru
FrederickJONESAbleSeaman53805Williams-libTBR-B4(Humbo)
HUGHKEITHLeading  Telegraphist20835Williams-seaTBR-B4 > Jp RMRakuyo Maru
ReginaldKELLIEPO Stoker19271Williams-libTBR-B4(Humbo)
HENRYKELLYBandsman19225JAVA-dcdJava to SINGA to BorneoSandakan /not rcv’d
MalcolmKERSTINGAbleSeaman23826Williams-libTBR-B4(Humbo)
ArthurKIESEWETTER [Kiesey]Elec Artificer 3c05460Williams-libTBR-B4(Humbo)
ERNESTKINGShipwright 3c22124Williams-dcdTBR-B4Thanbyuzayat
FrederickKIRKHAMPOStoker11745Williams-libTBR-B4(Humbo)
DAVIDKITCHEROrdinarySeamanS5410Williams-dcdTBR-B4Thanbyuzayat
HarryKNIGHTOrdinarySeaman17467Dunlop-libTBR-TH to JapanHiroshima
AnthonyKUBEOrdinarySeamanH1510Williams-libTBR-B4(Humbo)
ErnestKYNVINPlumber 1c10907Williams-libTBR-B4(Humbo)
CliffordLANGFORDAbleSeamanH0952Williams-libTBR-B4(Humbo)
ThomasLARKINLeading Seaman20159Williams-libTBR-B4(Humbo)
FrederickLASSLETTChief ElectricianPM1848JAVA-libJava to Japan (Zg)Ohasi
JefferyLATCHStoker225155A-libTBR-5A(Humbo)
NoelLAUGHERAbleSeamanB2913Williams-libTBR-B4(Humbo)
DoanldLEARYOrdinarySeamanH1534Williams-libTBR-B4(Humbo)
SOCRATESLIKIARDLeading  Supply Asst22989Williams-seaTBR-B4 > Jp RMRakuyo Maru
OswaldLOMASOrdinarySeamanPM34295A-libTBR-5A(Humbo)
RalphLOWELt Cdr Pay MasterofficerWilliams-libTBR-B4(Humbo)
WILLIAMLOWISAbleSeaman24884Williams-dcdTBR-B4Thanbyuzayat
LeslieLUFFAbleSeaman22286Williams-libTBR-B4ChungKai camp
ARTHURLUNDOrdinarySeamanF3396Dunlop-dcdTBR-THDon Rak
NevilleLYONSComm’d Instructorofficer5A-libTBR-5Atbr
GEORGEMacDONALDTelegraphistPA1542Dunlop-dcdTBR-THDon Rak
LINDSAYMACPHERSONAbleSeaman23824Williams-seaTBR-B4 > Jp RMRakuyo Maru
RICHARDMAHERAbleSeamanS1984Williams-seaTBR-B4 > Jp RMRakuyo Maru
PatrickMAJORAbleSeamanPM3870Williams-dcdTBR-B4 to Japan RMTokyo
HUGHMALLEYLeading  Cook19993Williams-libTBR-B4(Humbo)
DavidMANNINGOrdinarySeamanPM3925Williams-libTBR-B4Petchburi
JackMANTTANAbleSeamanB2669Williams-libTBR-B4(Humbo)
JACKMARSHALLStoker 2cH1683Williams-dcdTBR-B4Thanbyuzayat
VERNONMARTINStokerW2255Williams-seaTBR-B4 > Jp RMRakuyo Maru
JohnMARTINSub LtofficerWilliams-libTBR-B4(Humbo)
CLAUDEMASLEMStoker23037JAVA-dcdDOW burnsJava not rcv’d
FrederickMASONStoker 2cW2128Williams-libTBR-B4tbr
JOHNMATHEWEng Rm Artificer 4cH1678Williams-dcdTBR-B4Thanbyuzayat
JamesMATHIESONChaplainofficerWilliams-libTBR-B4(Humbo)
SydneyMATSENOrdinarySeaman242515A-libTBR-5A to Japan RMTokyo
WILLIAMMcCALLAbleSeamanF3455Williams-seaTBR-B4 > Jp RMRakuyo Maru
RobertMcCARREYAbleSeamanF2273Williams-libTBR-B4(Humbo)
RichardMcCONNELLPO16393Williams-dcdTBR-B4 to Japan RMYokohama
GEORGEMcCREDIEStoker 2cS54565A-dcdDOW > BurmaThanbyuzayat
WALTERMcDONNELLStoker23097Williams-seaTBR-B4 > Jp RMRakuyo Maru
AllenMcDONOUGHPilotX-4070085A-libTBR-5Aubon
FRANCISMcGOVERN*AbleSeamanS3478Williams-libTBR-B4 to Japan RMTokyo
BrianMcHUGHWireman24513Dunlop-libTBR-THTamarkam
DonaldMcLEANSteward229575A-libTBR-5A to Japan AwaFukuoka
JohnMcMAHONChPOStores17649Williams-libTBR-B4(Humbo)
DonaldMcNABWriterF2729JAVA-libJavaBatavia
JackMcQUADEPOStoker /SGT MAJ22449Williams-libTBR-B4(Humbo)
NEVILLEMcWILLIAMLieutenantofficerJAVA-dcdDOW at seaJava not rcv’d
HaroldMEEAbleSeamanPM2539Dunlop-libTBR-THTamarkam
CEDRICMELLISHChief Eng Rm Artificer20247JAVA-seaJava > Jp TamTamahoko
JamesMILLERICKStokerW1574Williams-libTBR-B4tbr
KeithMILLSAbleSeamanS4074Williams-dcdTBR-B4 to Japan RMTokyo
WILLIAMMILNEPO13959Williams-seaTBR-B4 > Jp RMRakuyo Maru
JohnMINIKENAbleSeamanJ8428JAVA-libJava to SINGAChangi
AndrewMITCHELLSickBerth AttdPA19455A-libTBR-5AHendatai
ThomasMOONEYAbleSeaman065135A-libTBR-5A(Humbo)
SelwynMOOREAbleSeamanH1142Williams-libTBR-B4camp # 10
LouisMOORECPO Cook06758Williams-libTBR-B4 to SINGAChangi
AlanMORRISOrdinarySeamanPA1067/2076Williams-libTBR-B4NKP hosp
GeorgeMORRISSAbleSeaman23670JAVA-dcdJava to SINGA to BorneoSandakan
MarmadukeMOUNTAbleSeaman11430Williams-libTBR-B4(Humbo)
RobertMUIRHEADAbleSeaman129175A-libTBR-5A to Japan AwaFukuoka
LloydMUNROStoker 3cS5186Williams-libTBR-B4 > rescued RMrescued by Barb
AlecMURPHYAbleSeaman232865A-libTBR-5A to Japan AwaFukuoka
HerbertMYNARDStoker 2cW2178JAVA-libJavaBatavia
HARRYNAGLEAbleSeamanF3060Williams-seaTBR-B4 > Jp RMRakuyo Maru
FRANKNASHLeading Seaman20027Williams-dcdTBR-B4Thanbyuzayat
LIONELNEALAbleSeaman24402Williams-dcdTBR-B4Thanbyuzayat
PETERNELSONTelegraphistSV705A-dcdTBR-5AThanbyuzayat
RONALDNICHOLLSAbleSeaman20910Williams-dcdTBR-B4Thanbyuzayat
ErnestNOBLELeading  SickBay AttPM22055A-libTBR-5A(Humbo)
LionelNORLEYEng Rm Artificer 4c23551Williams-libTBR-B4NKP hosp
RONALDO’BRIENAbleSeaman21470Williams-dcdTBR-B4Thanbyuzayat
MERVILO’DONOGHUEOrdinarySeamanF3472Williams-dcdTBR-B4Don Rak
CHRISTOPHERO’NEALEAbleSeamanS3393Williams-dcdTBR-B4Don Rak
GeorgeOSGOODOrdinarySeaman242875A-libTBR-5A(Humbo)
PhilippOWENLt CdrPay MasterofficerJAVA-libJava to Japan (Zg)Sendai
ERNESTOWENAbleSeamanPM1704JAVA-dcdKIA on JavaBatavia
FrederickPARKEStokerW12185A-libTBR-5A to Japan AwaFukuoka
AlbertPARKERLeading Wireman24521JAVA-libJava to Japan (Zg)Sendai
AlbertPARKESAbleSeaman22077Williams-libTBR-B4(Humbo)
WilliamPARKINBandsman24799Williams-libTBR-B4(Humbo)
RaymondPARKINPO19127Dunlop-libTBR-TH to JapanHiroshima
JOHNPARKSAbleSeaman19076Williams-seaTBR-B4 > Jp RMRakuyo Maru
PercivalPARTINGTON*OrdinarySeaman21938Williams-libTBR-B4(Humbo)
HENRYPARTRIDGEAbleSeamanS3244Williams-dcdTBR-B4Thanbyuzayat
DallasPASCOEStokerS4256Sumatra-libSumatraSumatra
CharlesPEARCELeading SeamanS4385Williams-libTBR-B4(Humbo)
VincentPEGLEROrd Artificer 3c21332Williams-libTBR-B4NKP hosp
KeithPENGILLYAbleSeamanPA2015Williams-libTBR-B4(Humbo)
CHARLESPETHEBRIDGEStokerW2164Williams-seaTBR-B4 > Jp RMRakuyo Maru
HUGHPOHLOrdinarySeamanPM3758Williams-dcdTBR-B4Don Rak
ThomasPOLLARDMechanician 2c17873JAVA-libJavaBatavia
WILLIAMPRICETelegraphist23174Williams-libTBR-B4tbr
NORMANPROCTORAbleSeaman22062Williams-dcdTBR-B4Don Rak
JackRALSTONPO Telegraphist22058Williams-libTBR-B4Camp 1
UrbanRATLIFFPO Telegraphist19354Williams-libTBR-B4 to JapanFukuoka
FrederickRAWSONAbleSeamanS3282Williams-libTBR-B4NKP hosp
RonaldREESPO23693Williams-libTBR-B4(Humbo)
GordonREIDAbleSeamanPA1855Williams-libTBR-B4(Humbo)
GeorgeREIVEPO18292Williams-libTBR-B4(Humbo)
FRANKRITCHIEAbleSeamanS4094Williams-seaTBR-B4 > Jp RMRakuyo Maru
DESMONDRIXTelegraphistSV69Williams-seaTBR-B4 > Jp RMRakuyo Maru
ThomasROBBINSSub LtofficerJAVA-libJava to Japan (Zg)Sendai
WilliamROBERTSSub LtofficerWilliams-libTBR-B4(Humbo)
GriffithROBERTSOrdinarySeaman24327Williams-libTBR-B4tbr
STANLEYROBERTSLeading Seaman20048JAVA-dcdJavaBatavia
ErnestROBINSONPOStoker14545Sumatra-libSumatraSumatra
JohnROCKEYPOWriter19776JAVA-libJavaBatavia
JosephROHANLeading  TelegraphistSV5###Williams-libTBR-B4(Humbo)
ALEXANDERROSEVEARStoker23025Williams-seaTBR-B4 > Jp RMRakuyo Maru
GeorgeROSSComm’d Gunnerofficer5A-libTBR-5A(Humbo)
RobertROWEAbleSeamanF2542Williams-libTBR-B4NKP hosp
RICHARDRYAN*AbleSeaman21218Williams-dcdTBR-B4Thanbyuzayat
ValentineSAVAGEStoker215145A-libTBR-5A to Japan AwaFukuoka
MERVYNSCOTTAsst CookS5052Williams-dcdTBR-B4Thanbyuzayat
WalterSHARPLeading Stoker20538Williams-libTBR-B4 to Japan AwaFukuoka
HerbetSIMONSStokerW15395A-libTBR-5A to Japan AwaFukuoka
FrederickSKEELSAbleSeamanF34015A-libTBR-5A to Japan AwaFukuoka
WILLIAMSLATTERYStoker24925Williams-seaTBR-B4 > Jp RMRakuyo Maru
RAYMONDSMITHAbleSeamanB2832Williams-seaTBR-B4 > Jp RMRakuyo Maru
LeonardSMITHComm’d GunnerofficerWilliams-libTBR-B4tbr
ROBERTSMITHSteward212385A-dcdDOW > BurmaThanbyuzayat
DONALDSMITHEng Rm Artificer 4c23968JAVA-dcdDOW on JavaBatavia
RonaldSPARKSBandsman230635A-libTBR-5A to Japan AwaFukuoka
FrederickSPICERLeading  Telegraphist21660Williams-libTBR-B4 to Japan AwaFukuoka
LesterSTAYTAbleSeaman23916Williams-libTBR-B4tbr
SamuelSTENINGLieutenantSurgeonofficerJAVA-libJava to Japan (Zg)Sendai
CECILSTOKESStoker 2cB3106Williams-dcdTBR-B4Thanbyuzayat
BruceSTRANGEOrdinarySeamanS58045A-libTBR-5A to Japan AwaFukuoka
AtholSTUARTAbleSeamanPM3312Williams-libTBR-B4(Humbo)
LeonardSYMESEng Rm Artificer 4cPA2253Williams-libTBR-B4Meiloe
CYRILTALBOTLeading Seaman18541Williams-dcdTBR-B4Thanbyuzayat
JohnTANNERAbleSeamanF3006Williams-libTBR-B4(Humbo)
FREDERICKTAYLORAbleSeaman21755Williams-libTBR-B4(Humbo)
RaphaelTAYLOROrdinarySeamanPM3375Williams-libTBR-B4NKP hosp
WilliamTCHANOrdinarySeaman03311JAVA-libJavaBatavia
JohnTHODELieutenantofficerJAVA-libJavaBatavia
AlfredTHOMASPO Butcher13891Williams-libTBR-B4 to Japan RMTokyo
AlfredTHOMPSONOrdinarySeamanPM37855A-libTBR-5ACamp 3
AllanTHOMPSONLeading Stoker22447Williams-libTBR-B4 to Japan AwaFukuoka
ERICTHOMPSONAbleSeaman19866Williams-dcdTBR-B4Thanbyuzayat
CharlesTHOMSONPOF2514Williams-libTBR-B4(Humbo)
GeorgeTIBBITSAbleSeamanB2931Williams-libTBR-B4tbr
ErnestToeLeading  Aircraftman40613Williams-seaTBR-B4 > Jp RMRakuyo Maru
ErnestTOOVEYAbleSeamanB2965Williams-libTBR-B4(Humbo)
NormanTOULMINStoker 2cW21995A-libTBR-5A to Japan AwaFukuoka
ROBERTTRIMBLEAbleSeamanW1928Williams-dcdTBR-B4Thanbyuzayat
JOHNTURNBULLPOStoker20401Williams-seaTBR-B4 > Jp RMRakuyo Maru
RoyTURNERSickBerth AttdS4878JAVA-libJavaBatavia
Edward “Jan”TYRRELLPO20185Sumatra-libSumatraSumatra
GeorgeVANSELOWBandsman23138JAVA-libJava to SINGA to SumatraSumatra
HENRYVIVIANAbleSeaman22163JAVA-dcdDOW on JavaBatavia
CecilVOWLESWO Electrician20097JAVA-libJava to Japan (Zg)Hakodate
RonaldWALHOUSEStoker 2cW1963Williams-libTBR-B4NKP hosp
KennethWALLACELeading  Telegraphist21294Sumatra-libSumatraSumatra
JamesWARDOrdinarySeamanF33725A-libTBR-5A(Humbo)
GordonWEBSTERAbleSeamanS3853Williams-libTBR-B4NKP hosp
ErnestWEETMANSignalman23503Williams-libTBR-B4(Humbo)
JohnWHITEAbleSeaman319055A-libTBR-5Atbr
NormanWHITESub LtofficerJAVA-libJavaBatavia
HAROLDWILKINSONAbleSeamanF3153Williams-dcdTBR-B4Don Rak
REXWILLIAMSAbleSeamanPA1776Williams-seaTBR-B4 > Jp RMRakuyo Maru
LeonWILLIAMSAbleSeamanH1449Williams-libTBR-B4tbr
FrankWILLIAMSStoker19394Williams-libTBR-B4(Humbo)
EdwinWILLIAMSAbleSeamanH1456Williams-libTBR-B4Tamarkam
JackWILLISYoeman of Signals19311JAVA-libJavaBatavia
GEOFFREYWILLISAbleSeaman21894Williams-dcdTBR-B4Thanbyuzayat
LESLIEWILSONAbleSeamanS4360Williams-seaTBR-B4 > Jp RMRakuyo Maru
CLIFFORDWINNETTAbleSeaman24382Williams-seaTBR-B4 > Jp RMRakuyo Maru
BrianWOODHEADOrdinarySeamanS5134Williams-libTBR-B4 to JapanHonshu #4
JOHNWOODHEADStokerW20945A-dcdTBR-5AThanbyuzayat
ClaudeWOODLEYWO SupplyofficerWilliams-libTBR-B4tbr
CyrilWOODMANAbleSeaman23663JAVA-libJavaBatavia
JohnWOODSAbleSeamanS4985Williams-libTBR-B4Tamarkam
CharlesWRAYWireman2418175A-libTBR-5ATamarkam
FREDERICKWRIGHTSick Berth Attd 2cS5523Williams-seaTBR-B4 > Jp RMRakuyo Maru

This is a work in progress, I’d appreciate any additions or corrections. I am working with on-line records and mentions in various books. The column in the above TABLE marked as CAMP is thought to be the place of liberation or burial for the deceased; Jp and tbr are used when the actual camp could not be determined. Humbo is the word for HQ; this places the POW as having worked the TBR but does not indicate the camp where he was liberated from.

BR AUS D US

No3 Group14-Oct-42Thailand791xxx791
Williams Force16-Oct-42Burmax14971111901800

In OCT 42, 7 PERTH crewmen were selected as part of the ‘technicians’ group (aka the Zeigler Grp for the US POWs) and sent to various camps in Japan.

WilliamGAYLieutenantofficer
FrederickLASSLETTChief ElectricianPM1848
PhilippOWENLt CdrPay Masterofficer
AlbertPARKERLeading Wireman24521
ThomasROBBINSSub Ltofficer
SamuelSTENINGLieutenantSurgeonofficer
CecilVOWLESWO Electrician20097

In her book CRUEL CONFLICT Kathryn Spurling details that 15 PERTH men were eventually dispatched to Thailand as part of the ‘Dunlop 1000’ who worked near Hintok; just as the small composite group were added to H-Force.

These were:

ROBERTCOSTINAbleSeamanB2339POW-dcdTBR-TH-Dunlop
ALFREDCOYNEPO17663POW-dcdTBR-TH-Dunlop
ROYDUNDONStokerW2173POW-dcdTBR-TH-Dunlop
ALANGEIERWireman24896POW-dcdTBR-TH-Dunlop
WILLIAMGILBYAbleSeamanF3075POW-dcdTBR-TH-Dunlop
HerbertGOSDENLeadingSeamanPA1660POW-libTBR-TH-Dunlop
NormanGRIFFITHSAbleSeamanB2912POW-libTBR-TH-Dunlop
ISAACHERMANAbleSeamanF2692POW-dcdTBR-TH-Dunlop
ARTHURLUNDOrdinarySeamanF3396POW-dcdTBR-TH-Dunlop
GEORGEMacDONALDTelegraphistPA1542POW-dcdTBR-TH-Dunlop
BrianMcHUGHWireman24513POW-libTBR-TH-Dunlop
HaroldMEEAbleSeamanPM2539POW-libTBR-TH-Dunlop
HORACEABBOTTPO18818POW-libTBR-TH-Dunlop to Japan
HarryKNIGHTOrdinarySeaman17467POW-libTBR-TH-Dunlop to Japan
RaymondPARKINPO19127POW-libTBR-TH-Dunlop to Japan

Proving that Thailand was a more horrendous experience, half of then died there; 7 in 1943 while working the TBR and Wireman Alan Greier in 1944 while undergoing amputation of his leg. The latter three listed above were later trans-shipped to Japan and were liberated from the Hiroshima camp.

Another Crew list is presented at: https://www.hmasperth1memorial.com.au

27.7 the ordinals

Ordinals refer to the order (first, second, final) in which the deaths of crewmen occurred:

1-Mar-19421DOW at seaNEVILLEMcWILLIAMLieutenant
1-Mar-19422DOW JavaGEORGEBRETHERTONLeading Seaman
2-Mar-19421KIA JavaJOHNHARVEYPO
2-Mar-19423DOW CLAUDEMASLEMStoker
2-Mar-19424DOWJOHNCOCHRANEAbleSeaman
3-Mar-19425DOWHENRYVIVIANAbleSeaman
4-Mar-19426DOWDONALDSMITHEng Rm Artificer 4c
31-Mar-19421POW death Java [1]FRANKCADGEPO Cook
14-Apr-19422POW-KIAERNESTOWENAbleSeaman
15-Jan-19431POW-KIA >5A [2]GEORGEMcCREDIEStoker 2c
15-Jan-19432POW-KIA >5AROBERTSMITHSteward
1-Mar-19431Wm death [3]CECILSTOKESStoker 2c
8-Jun-19431Wm Spdo deathERICTHOMPSONAbleSeaman
19-Jul-194315A Spdo deathPETERNELSONTelegraphist
19-Jul-19431TH Spdo deathROBERTCOSTINAbleSeaman
20-Sep-19438final TH Spdo deathWILLIAMGILBYAbleSeaman
8-Oct-19438final 5A Spdo deathWILLIAMBEVANAbleSeaman
15-Oct-19438final Wm Spdo deathGEORGEHARRISPO
30-Jan-19449final TH deathALANGEIERWireman
24-Jun-19441Java at sea >Tam [4]BERNARDFERGUSONStoker
24-Jun-19442Java at sea >Tam [4]CEDRICMELLISHChief Eng Rm Artificer
14-Sep-19441DOW  at sea > RMErnestToeLeading  Aircraftman
8-Dec-19441Wm TBR KIA [5]RONALDGRIEVELeading Stoker
13-Dec-19442Wm TBR KIA [5]KENNETHIKINAbleSeaman
2-Jan-19459final 5A deathMALCOLMBLACKStoker
18-Jan-19451Wm Jp deathAllanHAWKELeading Seaman
20-Jan-19451Borneo deathHENRYKELLYBandsman
22-Jan-194515A Jp deathEricBONDAbleSeaman
29-May-19452Borneo deathGeorgeMORRISSAbleSeaman
11-Jun-19459final TBR death WmJACKJACKSONLeading Signalman
13-Jul-19451Wm KIA Jp [6]ThomasJohnsonPO
13-Jul-19452Wm KIA Jp [6]PatrickMAJORAbleSeaman
13-Jul-19453Wm KIA Jp [6]KeithMILLSAbleSeaman
16-Aug-194599final death Java [7]STANLEYROBERTSLeading Seaman

[1] Only 1 POW death occured on Java before the various Groups departed

[2] Two were KIA in the bombing of the Moji Maru

[3] One TBR death occurred prior to the Speedo period

[4] Two died in the sinking of the Tamahoko

[5] Two died during bombing of the Kanchanaburi camp

[6] Three died during bombing of Tokyo

[7] The final PERTH death occurred on Java 1 day after the official surrender date

27.8a Their journey

A daughter of a PERTH crewman asked if I could tell her where her father had worked. I answered with the following:

While I can’t tell you precisely which camps your dad worked at, I can describe the journey in generalities. He was assigned to the largest group of PERTH POWs known as the Williams Group. They also had the most complicated POW experience. That group was later part of a group termed the Mobile Force #1, which means that they moved up and down the line in Burma where ever they were needed. Not all men underwent the same journey. The groups would sometimes be divided and then rejoined later.

The Williams group started in the lowlands of Burma, near Thanbyuzayat. This is where the US Fitzsimmons Grp spent the majority of their TBR time. They arrived in Burma in late OCT 1942. In May 1943, during the Speedo period, they moved into the highlands area. This is the time and place of the most TBR deaths in Burma.

After the completion of the Railway in Oct 43, most of the Burma-side POWs were moved into Thailand where they worked to cut wood for fuel for the trains. They weren’t consolidated to Kanchanaburi until MAR 44. There, they would have generally rested and recuperated from the TBR ordeal.

In JUN 44, POWs from Kanchanaburi began to be moved to Japan. Almost all went first to Singapore by rail then were placed on board the Hellships for Japan. It is not clear when the PERTH crewman went to Singapore. We only know that the Rakuyo Maru was sunk on 13 SEP with the loss of 30 PERTH crewmen; your dad among them.

27.8b Group 5A

For the US POWs, Grp5A led by LTC Tharp was the largest that worked the TBR, but only about 50 PERTH crewmen were in that group. They arrived in Burma in JAN 43 after narrowly avoiding disaster when their Hellship from Malaya was bombed. Once in Burma, they were immediately move passed the Williams group and began work in the highlands [see Section 8.11]. Their primary job was bridge construction. In those highlands, the rivers ran north to south across the path of the TBR. This required the construction of some of the largest bridges on th TBR. Not only were they in the most inhospitable region of the TBR, but it was monsoon season. The Tharp group suffered heavy losses during the Speedo period. [see Section 7.1]. Fortunately, the PERTH crew fared somewhat better; losing only 4 of 50 men.

Following the completion of the TBR, like the Williams Group, 5A was shifted into Thailand to work as wood cutters. In FEB 44, they seemingly passed thru the ChungKai camp for a short period and then on to Kanchanaburi. In DEC 44, 15 of them were herded aboard the Hellship Awa for the 11 day journey to the coal mines in Fukuoka Japan. During their time there, 1 crewman persished. The majority were liberated from camps in Thailand.

27.8c The Dunlop Group

In Sep 43, the Group led by LtCol (Dr) Dunlop arrived at the Hintok area. This Group had been cobbled togther from men in Singapore. It included only 15 PERTH crewmen. Unfortunaltely, 7 of those died in just a few weeks; one more died after their consolidation to Kanchanaburi. Not much more is documented about this small group.

27.9 ANZAC Day 2022

On Apr 25th 2022, I visited the Kanchanaburi CWGC cemetery at Don Rak [1] and photographed the 18 graves located there. They are listed and shown herein alphabetically:

SNrateFNMN1MN2LN
 W0778StokerMALCOLMDONALD BLACK
 9597Petty Officer CookFREDERICKDONALD CLARK
 B2339Able SeamanROBERT  COSTIN
 21820Leading SeamanWILLIAMROSS COWDROY
 17663Petty OfficerALFREDJAMESEDWARDCOYNE
 W2173StokerROY  DUNDON
 24896WiremanALANKEITH GEIER
 F3075Able SeamanWILLIAMHARVEYLEONARDGILBY
 F2692Able SeamanISAAC  HERMAN
 1048Able SeamanKENNETHWILLIAM IKIN
 PM1783Leading SignalmanJACK  JACKSON
 F3396Ordinary SeamanARTHURERNEST LUND
 PA1542TelegraphistGEORGENEILALEXANDERMacDONALD
 F3472Ordinary SeamanMERVILFRANCIS O’DONOGHUE
 S3393Able SeamanCHRISTOPHERCHARLES O’NEALE
 PM3758Ordinary SeamanHUGHGEORGE POHL
 22062Able SeamanNORMANWALTER PROCTOR
 F3153Able SeamanHAROLD  WILKINSON

[1] I found it interesting that these men are all buried in Sector 1 which is primarily a British sector with the Australians buried in Sector 2. No explanation for that admixture.

There are also 38 of the crew buried at the Thanbyuzayat CWCG cemetery in Burma.

27.10 Key dates Timeline

Key datesfor the US and AUS POWs
Mar-42captured on Java / Sumatra
May-42consolidated at Bicycle Camp Batavia
Oct-42first grp of ‘technicians depart for Japan
Oct-42Fitzsimmons & Williams groups depart Burma via Singapore
Oct-42larger Grp 5 under Tharp depart for Singapore
Nov-42Fitzsimmons & Williams groups arrive Burma
Jan-43Grp 5 arrives at Burma highlands
May-43beginning of Speedo period; most TBR deaths occur
Jun-43Hellfire Pass completed by largely AUS force
Aug-43highest overall death toll of 1643 in this month
Sep-43200 F-Force at Changaraya KILO 300 die of cholera
Sep-43Dunlop Grp to Hintok
Oct-43completion of the TBR
Jan-44Burma sector POWs begin move to KAN
Mar-44IJA began to select men to tfx to Japan and Saigon
Mar-44Williams Force to KAN; following B-24 attack on 105 Camp
May-44all remaining US moved to KAN camp #1
Jun-44Tamahoko sunk by the USS Tang with loss of 17 US; 2 US survivors; 2 PERTH POWs lost
Aug-44sick moved to Nakorn Pathom
Sep-44Junyo Maru sunk off Sumatra (5600 KIA) by HMS Tradewind
Sep-445 Perth crew rescued by US subs
Dec-44Allies bomb Kui Yae (186Km in TH); 1 PERTH POW KIA
Dec-441 PERTH POW KIA in bombing raid at KAN
Jan-45many POWs moved from KAN to other camps
Jun-45many officers moved to Nakorn Nayok
Jul-453 PERTH POWs KIA in bombing of Tokyo
Aug-45LIBERATION
Sep-35AUS teams begin recovery of POW remains
Sep-45British & AUS POWs flown to Rangoon; US to Calcutta
Oct-45AUS POWs begin to arrive home
1948official opening of the 3 CWGC cememteries: Than has ### AUS graves with #### at Don Rak [1]
1948Thanbyuzayat has 38 PERTH graves; Don Rak 18
1948all US remains were re-patriated

[1] I’m still searching for these figures.

27.11

new memorial rises

Eighty years after the loss, a new memorial to the crew is taking shape in Perth.

https://www.hmasperth1memorial.com.au/

HMAS-Perth-booklet-info

27.12 An Account of the Rakuyo Maru sinking and rescue of POWs

This most excellent account of the events leading up tp and following the sinking of the ROKUO MARU was posted to the HMAS PERTH MEMORIAL Facebook page by Colin A Bancroft who has granted pemission to have it included here:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/www.hmasperth1memorial.com.au/

Able Seaman Bob Collins was captured in March 1942 after the sinking of HMAS Perth and USS Houston at the Battle of Sunda Strait. After working on the Burma-Siam Railway, Collins was sent to Indo- China, then Singapore and was finally shipped to Japan on the RAKUYO MARU in September 1944. The entire convoy was sunk by United States submarines.

Here in is his accounts of events:

THE DAY CAME when we were moved back to our old camp in Singapore, and told that we were to be prepared to move down to the docks to board ship for Japan. As we approached the docks, the leading file of Australians turned right and boarded the Rakuyo Maru. I later learnt the Japs wanted us to board the President Harding, a captured American ship of the President line, but our boys weren’t having any. The Rakuyo Maru was bigger than the President ship.

The date was 1st September 1944.

We cursed and sweated at anchor in Singapore Harbour for three days. On 3rd September we sailed, thankful to get some sort of breeze from a ship under way. ‘Stowed thick and lousy’ is an old Navy saying, and it was no exception in this ship. There were roughly 1,300 men in this ship, made up of Australians and British. President Harding carried 800 British prisoners. They were battened down but it was impossible to batten us down, although it was tried several times without success. Among my travelling companions was Sergeant Noel Day, RAAF, who had worked with me on the Burma Siam Railway.

Six days out of Singapore we were attacked by a pack of American submarines operating out of Saipan. I have often read communiques which stated that ‘Units of the United States Navy engaged an enemy convoy off so and so. US Navy losses were nil. The entire convoy was sunk.‘ It was not that I didn’t believe them, but they seemed to be too smug or something, I don’t know. Now I knew.To the best of my knowledge, every ship in our convoy was sunk in two attacks by five submarines. Rakuyo Maru fired a few rounds at shadows, and then after the second torpedo had struck home, the crew abandoned ship. All of our chaps got into the water, some on ancient rafts that were practically useless except for morale value, and others with kapok life jackets. Unfortunately, there were not enough of these to go round. This was the second time in my young life that I had been sunk, so I had a few clues. ‘Keep your hats on, make sure you have your water bottles and don’t go over the side until I give the word‘, I said to two Army mates who were sleeping with me on deck.

Grabbing one of the tiny wooden floats and giving my mates a yell, the three of us jumped. So far so good. Now to pull away from a blazing tanker that was on fire from stern to stern just off our port quarter. Getting out of her way, we drifted away from our ship. I felt it was a pity to abandon her so prematurely, when she was holed fore and aft.

When I made this suggestion to an Army Captain, I was threatened with a court martial if I did not obey his orders and abandon. Later some returned to the ship ‘to organise something‘. But I said ‘No‘, when they asked me, because I considered the distance too far to swim. This was the last we saw of them.

At first morale was high but as the days passed our numbers became fewer. I was still in a small party of the originals with whom I had left Singapore. Things were getting desperate. A Jap merchant vessel was sighted bearing down on us during the late afternoon of the third day and our hopes rose accordingly. ‘About time that bloody ship got here to pick us up‘. However, to our dismay it turned away. I watched it as long as it was still visible, wishfully thinking that it was bound to turn back any minute. It did not and my thoughts sent it to the bottom with an American torpedo in its guts.

During the night several of my mates died. They were there one minute, and the moment you seemed to take your eye off them, they were gone. Morning brought a pretty desolate scene. There was about twenty of us left. There was no talking, just a mumble from someone in the last stages of delirium, and in all a very dejected bunch, when along comes a chap on a ship’s hatch board, about eight feet long and two foot six inches wide.

There was a mild skirmish to get on his ‘raft’, but he held off everyone. Sergeant Noel Day calmly surveyed the bunch of hopeful faces pointed in his direction and out of his Army and Air Force mates in the crowd, said ‘I’ll take Bob Collins‘. Me of all people. I couldn’t understand it.

The joy of sitting in the water and not hanging in it by your chin, suspended by your kapok lifejacket, is best appreciated if tried for some time. We picked up a piece of ship’s lifeboat, probably one of the strakes, and I scratched on it with a pencil, ‘Left to perish by the Japs, September 12th 1944‘. Also our names and addresses with some forlorn hope that some day someone might pick it up, and part of the story of what happened to about 600 AIF and a few sailors and airmen might be known.

Some time later I was paddling the raft, when Noel Day said, ‘You’re a Navy man Bob. What kind of ship is that?‘ ‘Submarine‘, I replied, not really interested. We had been in the water five days now, and I think my resistance was a little low. Noel shouted a few Australian adjectives at the man topsides on the submarine and that dispensed any ideas they had that we were Japanese.

Five days later we were landed at Saipan, and tucked into cots by nurses of the 148th General Hospital, who were also attending marines of the Second Division, who had hit the beach head a short time before.

Months later, back in Sydney, I looked Noel Day up and over a middy asked him ‘Why on earth did you pick me up, when you had all your other mates to choose from?‘ He replied, ‘Do you remember the dollar you loaned me to buy those boots? I may not have been here if I hadn’t bought those boots. I never forgot that, the day you loaned me that dollar. That’s why I picked you up.‘

Author Collins, R.A.C., Able Seaman, RAN

Published in December 1975 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)

********

Editors Note:

The US submarine, Queenfish, rescued a total of four Perth survivors – AB Bob Collins, AB Arthur Bancroft, AB Jack Houghton and Stoker L. Munro. After the survivors had been questioned by Commander C.R. Reid, RAN, it was possible to publish the first account of the loss of HMAS Perth on 1st March 1942.

The other POWs rescued were British.

********

Further Information:

USS Sealion II (SS- 315) sank the Rakuyo Maru, a 477-foot Japanese-built passenger-cargo vessel carrying a load of raw rubber and, unknown to the crews of the submarine wolf pack pursuing her convoy, over 1300 Allied prisoners of war. Two of Sealion’s torpedoes hit the POW ship, one amidships and one in the bow. It took 12 hours for Rakuyo Maru to sink, which allowed the surviving POWs some time to make rafts and search the doomed ship for food and water. The Japanese guards had left the ship immediately after the attack using most of the lifeboats.

Four days later, USS Pampanito (SS-383) found two men on a makeshift raft. Pampanito’s log recorded: 1634 Hours – “The men were covered with oil and filth and we could not make them out…. They were shouting but we couldn’t understand what they were saying, except made out words ‘Pick us up please.’ Called rescue party on deck and took them off the raft. There were about fifteen (15) British and Australian Prisoner of War survivors on this raft from a ship sunk the night of September 11-12 1944. We learned they were enroute from Singapore to Formosa and that there were over thirteen hundred on the sunken ship.” Pampanito rescued as many as she could and radioed for help. Queenfish and USS Barb (SS-220) arrived at 0530 Hours on September 17th to begin their search for rafts among the floating debris. Just after 1300 they located several rafts and began to pick up the few men still alive. They only had a few hours to search before a typhoon moved in, sealing the fate of those survivors not picked up in time. Before the storm hit, Queenfish found 18 men, and Barb found 14.

The boats headed on to Saipan after a final search following the storm revealed no further survivors.

Of the 1,318 POWs on the Rakuyo Maru sunk by Sealion, 159 had been rescued by the four submarines: 73 on Pampanito, 54 on Sealion, and the 32 found by Queenfish and Barb. It was later learned that the Japanese had rescued 136 for a total of 295 survivors.

*******

THE DAY CAME when we were moved back to our old camp in Singapore, and told that we were to be prepared to move down to the docks to board ship for Japan. As we approached the docks, the leading file of Australians turned right and boarded the Rakuyo Maru. I later learnt the Japs wanted us to board the President Harding, a captured American ship of the President line, but our boys weren’t having any. The Rakuyo Maru was bigger than the President ship. The date was 1st September 1944.

We cursed and sweated at anchor in Singapore Harbour for three days. On 3rd September we sailed, thankful to get some sort of breeze from a ship under way. ‘Stowed thick and lousy‘ is an old Navy saying, and it was no exception in this ship. There were roughly 1,300 men in this ship, made up of Australians and British. President Harding carried 800 British prisoners. They were battened down but it was impossible to batten us down, although it was tried several times without success. Among my travelling companions was Sergeant Noel Day, RAAF, who had worked with me on the Burma Siam Railway.

Six days out of Singapore we were attacked by a pack of American submarines operating out of Saipan. I have often read communiques which stated that ‘Units of the United States Navy engaged an enemy convoy off so and so. US Navy losses were nil. The entire convoy was sunk. It was not that I didn’t believe them, but they seemed to be too smug or something, I don’t know. Now I knew. To the best of my knowledge, every ship in our convoy was sunk in two attacks by five submarines. Rakuyo Maru fired a few rounds at shadows, and then after the second torpedo had struck home, the crew abandoned ship. All of our chaps got into the water, some on ancient rafts that were practically useless except for morale value, and others with kapok life jackets. Unfortunately, there were not enough of these to go round. This was the second time in my young life that I had been sunk, so I had a few clues. ‘Keep your hats on, make sure you have your water bottles and don’t go over the side until I give the word‘, I said to two Army mates who were sleeping with me on deck.

Grabbing one of the tiny wooden floats and giving my mates a yell, the three of us jumped. So far so good. Now to pull away from a blazing tanker that was on fire from stern to stern just off our port quarter. Getting out of her way, we drifted away from our ship. I felt it was a pity to abandon her so prematurely, when she was holed fore and aft.

When I made this suggestion to an Army Captain, I was threatened with a court martial if I did not obey his orders and abandon. Later some returned to the ship ‘to organise something‘. But I said ‘No‘, when they asked me, because I considered the distance too far to swim. This was the last we saw of them.

At first morale was high but as the days passed our numbers became fewer. I was still in a small party of the originals with whom I had left Singapore. Things were getting desperate. A Jap merchant vessel was sighted bearing down on us during the late afternoon of the third day and our hopes rose accordingly. ‘About time that bloody ship got here to pick us up‘. However, to our dismay it turned away. I watched it as long as it was still visible, wishfully thinking that it was bound to turn back any minute. It did not and my thoughts sent it to the bottom with an American torpedo in its guts.

During the night several of my mates died. They were there one minute, and the moment you seemed to take your eye off them, they were gone. Morning brought a pretty desolate scene. There was about twenty of us left. There was no talking, just a mumble from someone in the last stages of delirium, and in all a very dejected bunch, when along comes a chap on a ship’s hatch board, about eight feet long and two foot six inches wide.

There was a mild skirmish to get on his ‘raft’, but he held off everyone. Sergeant Noel Day calmly surveyed the bunch of hopeful faces pointed in his direction and out of his Army and Air Force mates in the crowd, said ‘I’ll take Bob Collins‘. Me of all people. I couldn’t understand it.

The joy of sitting in the water and not hanging in it by your chin, suspended by your kapok lifejacket, is best appreciated if tried for some time. We picked up a piece of ship’s lifeboat, probably one of the strakes, and I scratched on it with a pencil, ‘Left to perish by the Japs, September 12th 1944‘. Also our names and addresses with some forlorn hope that some day someone might pick it up, and part of the story of what happened to about 600 AIF and a few sailors and airmen might be known.

Some time later I was paddling the raft, when Noel Day said, ‘You’re a Navy man Bob. What kind of ship is that?‘ ‘Submarine‘, I replied, not really interested. We had been in the water five days now, and I think my resistance was a little low. Noel shouted a few Australian adjectives at the man topsides on the submarine and that dispensed any ideas they had that we were Japanese.

Five days later we were landed at Saipan, and tucked into cots by nurses of the 148th General Hospital, who were also attending marines of the Second Division, who had hit the beach head a short time before.

Months later, back in Sydney, I looked Noel Day up and over a middy asked him ‘Why on earth did you pick me up, when you had all your other mates to choose from?‘ He replied, ‘Do you remember the dollar you loaned me to buy those boots? I may not have been here if I hadn’t bought those boots. I never forgot that, the day you loaned me that dollar. That’s why I picked you up.‘

Author Collins, R.A.C., Able Seaman, RAN

Published in December 1975 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)

Editors Note:

Further Information:

USS Sealion II (SS- 315) sank the Rakuyo Maru, a 477-foot Japanese-built passenger-cargo vessel carrying a load of raw rubber and, unknown to the crews of the submarine wolf pack pursuing her convoy, over 1300 Allied prisoners of war. Two of Sealion’s torpedoes hit the POW ship, one amidships and one in the bow. It took 12 hours for Rakuyo Maru to sink, which allowed the surviving POWs some time to make rafts and search the doomed ship for food and water. The Japanese guards had left the ship immediately after the attack using most of the lifeboats.

Four days later, USS Pampanito (SS-383) found two men on a makeshift raft. Pampanito’s log recorded: 1634 Hours – “The men were covered with oil and filth and we could not make them out…. They were shouting but we couldn’t understand what they were saying, except made out words ‘Pick us up please.’ Called rescue party on deck and took them off the raft. There were about fifteen (15) British and Australian Prisoner of War survivors on this raft from a ship sunk the night of September 11-12 1944. We learned they were enroute from Singapore to Formosa and that there were over thirteen hundred on the sunken ship.” Pampanito rescued as many as she could and radioed for help. Queenfish and USS Barb (SS-220) arrived at 0530 Hours on September 17th to begin their search for rafts among the floating debris. Just after 1300 they located several rafts and began to pick up the few men still alive. They only had a few hours to search before a typhoon moved in, sealing the fate of those survivors not picked up in time. Before the storm hit, Queenfish found 18 men, and Barb found 14.

The boats headed on to Saipan after a final search following the storm revealed no further survivors.

The US submarine, Queenfish, rescued a total of four Perth survivors – AB Bob Collins, AB Arthur Bancroft, AB Jack Houghton and Stoker L. Munro. After the survivors had been questioned by Commander C.R. Reid, RAN, it was possible to publish the first account of the loss of HMAS Perth on 1st March 1942.

Of the 1,318 POWs on the Rakuyo Maru sunk by Sealion, 159 had been rescued by the four submarines: 73 on Pampanito, 54 on Sealion, and the 32 found by Queenfish and Barb. It was later learned that the Japanese had rescued 136 for a total of 295 survivors.