Janet Jacobs - Keith, in further reply to your email, when you kindly offered to help locate "Budd" Smith if you could by burial sites near that work parties camp, I think I may have narrowed the guys down to 5.
The most likely seems A R Smith, dod: 21 Jan 45, age 29, on memorial, no known grave, although being part scott I am suprised the old chap never said he was a scott, however it's more than poss.
The others are,
C E Smith - 8 Jan 45
E Smith - 19 Jan 45
J H Smith - 18 Jan 45
L Smith - 27 Jan 45
The fact that Budd ( and his childhood mate , who used to harmonise and sing " South of the border down Mexico way " ) were put on the same ship at Clydebank, and inturn on the HMS Mnt. Vernon ( George Wasington ) in Halifax, he was definately in the RASC, I kinda think it could be AR Smith, even though the old geezer never thought to say " Oh by the way he was a scott", what da ya reckon ? as my kids would say !
Must away, my beauty sleep beckons, and as Capt Oakes said " I may be some time " !!
Keith Andrews - That's ruined a nice long e-mail I was trying to put together, well done, I am impressed, you looked up the CWGC site, as did I. It would stand to reason that they may have been in the same regiment, or Budd could have been in a regiment attached to the RASC, such as the Signals.
Please do not get angry with me, but when looking at the CWGC site, make a note of the regiments, but that is only any good if you have an order of battle for Singapore and Malaya. From what
I have checked out, the 5 names you mention were in Regiments that were not at Singapore or Malaya, but I suspect in the Burma Campaign. Of the 7 possibles I noted, including your 5, was Signaller Robert A. Smith, Royal Corps of Signals, 2365456, died 16/1/45, buried at Kanchanaburi, grave2K57. This cemetery is on
the Railway. After the war, parties of ex POWs and other troops went along the railway to locate gravesites and cemetery's, it is possible they located Budds, as most officers kept records of where men in their parties were buried. I will finish my other message tonight with a bit more detail. My other train of thought is that Pitt's party was not working in Burma at the time according to Hardy, so any grave would, or should be in a Thailand cemetery.
Janet Jacobs - Sorry about ruining your email, don't you just love people who do that !!
Keith what would I have to get angry over ? of course not ., I have learned much from this life, and for me to get angry there would need to be something really dreadfull happen, like not winning the lottery the only once I ever bought a ticket, I was so p***ed off, I never bought another one ! ( now dear, you see what a cranky old fruit you have been corresponding with ) !
I would be interested to know where they were with Cpt. Pitt, like most of the men, Dad only started really talking about it after 50 years, and I suspect that by the time I got these stories some where muddled.
I know that dads bestest mate " Lloydy" Herbert Lloyd, died at Tarsoe, ( Dad visited his grave) he went up on Speedo worko, and came back dieing, he had dysentry the same time as Dad, Dad kept his personal effects and in about 1947 wrote to his mother and she came down to stay with my parents and collected his cap badge and his letters he had kept, he could not contact her before, as for one she had moved but he did trace her quite easily, but he was certain he would cry, and the only person who had ever seen him cry was my Grandmother and he wasn't about to change that. The saddest thing was his mother actually asked " do you know for sure he died" he told her yes and that he had been at his funeral, what he couldn't tell her is that the funeral was so basic, like he said, did she deserve to know that ?.
Lloydy was a bit of a balchy B whereas my Dad evidentally wasn't, and dispite the fact that Dad was a Cpl and Lloydy was a Sgt, it was the old man who kept him out of trouble.
Capt Feathers said to Lloydy one night at a do in Warminster ( my Mum was there)" Lloyd what would you do without your left arm called Wadge to keep you out of trouble ?" I think he was probably rather drunk or something !!
There was also Jack Willimas, who wasn't Jack at all, he was called up at almost 38 years old, and died early in 43, the old man was right about him too, I found him R P Williams died 7 Jan 43 aged 39, he is at Kanchanaburi I guess he died at Tarsoe or near there, he was set to take over the family farm where ever when he got back, and by all accounts tried so hard to make it, but at his age the odds very very unfavourable weren't they ?
Also Keith, I have thought, they were not in action anywhere ealse were they before getting to Singapore so you clever wotsit, I bet you're right.
Does the job of digging rock out to store petrol sound right though ? and would at sometime they have been in Burma doing that do you think ?
The problem being I think too, is Dad hated being in camps and would always volunteer for a working party, despite the fact that often you fared better for food in a camp ( if that was at all possible) he hated being with alot of people and he said you always stood more of a chance of getting a wollop from a bored Jap or Korean for no reason, than if you were actively engaged in a small party with just one or two nips, he tried to stay out of trouble if he could.
That is how he was out that morning with 6 blokes going to another camp, when they got there the Japs would not let them in, and sent them back, as they were burning the papers, they were crying and that is when he decided they must be near the end, also on the way back to that camp ( where Hardie was ) a native who was close enough to speak said " morning SAB" and the old geezer was quietly optomistic that he was numbered amounst the runners !
After they got back there was much speculation and he said an officer( who he was not really fond of ) came around to check what had gone on, he repeated the story and the silly man said " so Cpl. what do do make of it " he replied, " I think we 've made it Sir, but don't take my word for it, go ask the Japanese officer in charge " ! and the officer retotred tersely "Cpl you may only be 5 ft tall but your the most sarcastic little B***ard I've evr come across ",and so not to let the side down he saluted and said "thank you Sir" !
It was pretty sarcie, but like the old chap said, this guy never did any real work like the majorrity and walked around as though he was King George 6th's personal envoy in the far east, well he said a bit more but I won't get into all of it !
I bought it for the old chap when it was first published, they ran an article in the Sunday Times or Telegraph about it beofre it was published ,that fortunately I read one Sunday while not busy at work, when I was selling houses for Bovis Homes, it was one of the nicest feelings I ever had when I gave it to him for his birthday, christmas or whatever it happened to be, he was so chuffed and he really did love that book so, I think he was Gobsmacked that he was in there albeit unamed, I was blown away too, when I came across the stories I had heard alot of times, in print, I felt very
Sadly however, he would keep bloody well lending it to people, the last time I managed to get it back it took 3 years and a Sherlock Holmes type operation on my part, but this time I don't even know who's got it, but whoever they are they've got "In Singapore with the Cambridgeshires " too.
I have tried my best to look at likely sites on the net but with no luck, I am very new to this computer lark and I guess not as competent as others at extracting info required.
I have also tried today to start to sort his things out, but I ended up in tears and left it for another day.
I think I may need to ask one or both of my brothers if they would like to help me, they will both more than likely decline, so I guess the unenviable task will fall upon my hubby , which I bet he will be pleased about ! he won't mind doing it but I think he gets kinda frustrated when I get upset cos he can't really do anything to help me feel better about it, I kow from the experience of loosing my Mum, you never really get over these things but get used to coping and carry on. I guess it's just a time issue and that eventually I will be able to go into his room OK, but untill then I will have to go gently at it .
Keith I wonder if you are still awake after all this drivell, Probably not !!
John Skliros - It won't replace the copies that your father owned but you might like to
know that both books you refer to can be found at
These are the spellings and titles of the books as they are listed on that site:
Hardie, Robert: The Burma-Siam Railway. The Secret Diaries of Dr Robert Hardie 1942-1945
Taylor, William. With the Cambridgeshires at Singapore.
Janet Jacobs - John, bless your heart I will contact them.
I have chased those 2 books many a time, the last time I managed to get them back believe it or not Dad lent them to the council "Rat Man " We kept chix at that time and he called every so often for us, he changed his job and went on refuse instead, so once I found out where etc, I contacted his boss ( who was the son of a friend of ours ) and his boss got them back for me, I just hope they are kept together, I keep looking at 2nd hand book stalls and in charity shops to see if I can see the pair !
John further to your reply about obtaining copies of books my dad lost, something very remarkable has transpired.
My son Ben 22 yrs, has a lovely girlfriend nearly 17, I knew her Grandad was a POW an we said recently just before Dad passed on we must get together with her Dad for them to meet and chat, but as so often happens nothing was definately arranged,( and sadly a few weeks later my Dad passed on.)
I was talking to her Mum and he said " my husbands Dad wrote a book on his time out there " she said I could read it sometime which I was keen to do and said I would take my Dad with me to see the book,but I never thought much more about it than that, but it transpires the book is " In Singapore with the Cambs. " by Bill Taylor, and my son's girlfriend is the youngest grandchild of Bill !!
What a truely remarkable thing !
Keith Andrews - Yes, I am still working on the e-mail, but in relation to the Cambrigeshires, there is an article on the COFEPOW net about the 2nd Cambridge Regiment written by a friend I have made over the past couple of months, his name is David Langton, and his dad
was with that Regiment.
You might like to give that a good look at.
Ron Taylor - Try Cambridgshires in the Far East by David langton
Janet Jacobs - Can anyone help me find if my Dad would have been on a battalian or similar photo ? he was in the RASC, I know he was with 53rd infantry, 18th Division and spent most of his time in Warminster before going abroad, while in Warminster he played football for the tank Corps as they were short of good players, ( he had played footie all his life in different leagues and before the war was playing for a team in Brentford ), he payed for the same army team as Dixie Dean, and always chuckled cos he got replaced when Dixie arrived !!!
Keith, I have just finished talking on the phone to my brother, told him the story about the Jap in charge and Col Lilly, he only knows a millioneth of the stories I do , but of course remember I am nearly 47 and have only NOT lived in the same house as my dad for 4 & half years !!
As my brother said " you should know much more than us , you have been with
him all those years "
Something I will always remember is that he was full of optomism and hope all the time, as they said in a letter of condolance from his Old Fogeys centre " Jack will always be remembered for the pleasure he brought others while here, and he never once failed to thank the staff for a lovely day and his lovely dinner".
Isn't thaat wonderfull, they are sorta bound to say certain things ,but his lovely dinner ! he thought every diner was lovely !
What an insspiration they all are
Keith - Now we know the Regiments on the Duchess, and Mount Vernon, we can try to narrow the field to find your father's friend. I have searched the Commonwealth War Graves Commission site, looking at all the 327 entries under the name of Smith, and the Regiments, including the R.A.S.C.
As your father never mentioned his friend was a Scot, does this entry ring any bells?
Jack Smith - from Fartown, Huddersfield.
Driver - T/189211 - Royal Army Service Corps
Died 17/3/45, Age 28.
Buried Taukkyan War Cemetery, outside Yangon (Rangoon)
Myanmar (Burma) Grave/Column 20E24.
I hope this may match, I looked at the first 3 months of 1945, and Captain Pitt and his group were still near Tavoy, Burma in March 1945.
As you told me Budd died in early 1945, and time passing may not have had much meaning for your father, this is the nearest entry I could find.
The other two nearest are both Scottish, one a Corporal in the RASC, the other a private in the Royal Corps of Signals.
A.R.Smith was in a Regiment that was not on the Mount Vernon, and was in fact in Burma during that campaign.
If I am right I do not know, but I have given this my best shot.
Regiments looked for:
Royal Norfolk Regiment
137th Field Regiment R.A
Royal Army Service Corps.
Grave site looked for - Thailand and Burma.
I hope this may ring some bells.