Jacqueline Hall - email@example.com
I have just joined your site and would like to put my Uncle's details on the message boards if that is ok with everyone.
My "Uncle Bill's" (as he is known to me) details are as follows:
OWEN WILLIAM STAPELEY
AIRCRAFTMAN 1ST CLASS 1387375
ROYAL AIRFORCE VOLUNTEER RESERVE
DIED MONDAY 16TH JULY 1945 AGED 22
SON OF FRED STAPELEY AND LOUISA ELLEN STAPELEY OF WALTHAMSTOW
He is listed on the Singapore Memorial at Kranji.
I have also found out now from a guy called Allan Cresswell a lot more information.
My Uncle bill survived the Sandakan to Ranau death march and was then in Ranau Number 2 Jungle Camp where he then died. The stock answer was from Malaria and apparantly this reason was given by the Japanese for all deaths! Uncle Bill was buried at the Jungle Camp. I have found out that the bodies were recovered (although most unidentifiable) and are commemorated by way of a monument at Labuan.
Uncle Bill was obviously identified as I found his column number on the Singapore Memorial via the War Graves Commission.
What I would like to find out is if he has a named gravestone at Labuan or is just on the memorial.
Is there anyone out there with any information no matter how small that can help me in my research.
I want to do this for my mother's memory. My mother died very recently and could never bring herself to speak of her brother because of the pain she still felt and unfortunately she died not knowing any details regarding her brother and I would now like to do this for her.
Keith - >Jacqueline,
This is not my area, as my father was captured at Singapore, and spent his time on the Burma - Siam Railway and the Mergui Road.
He survived, or we would not be exchanging messages. Having
said that, I will try to help.
There is a book titled "Kill the Prisoners" by Don Wall, ISBN 0646 278 347, published by Don Wall. It can be ordered through the library, or if you want to buy a copy, I can give you a U.K. address to contact. It covers the death marches, and your Uncle's name is in the book, and will provide some detail.
Ron Taylor may well have further detail on his site;
I am sure he will assist you in where to search.
There is a lot of information there, so have a good look.
The next site to try is;
I say this, as there is a section on Remembrance. So, go to the site, click on Remembrance, then click on Cemeteries, then click on Borneo. There you will find Labuan, and I hope the answer, or at least part of one to your question.
I have no idea who is on the circulation list of this new site, but if John Bessant or Stephen Mockridge are, they can maybe help far more than I.
If you want me to pass your message to them, please let me know.
Good luck with your research,
Ron - Jacqueline has asked me about the Sandakan History site, this has been taken off by the Department of Veterans Affairs (Australia). I have written to them to see if they will put it back on.
Did anyone download or copy the site detail, as it had a great amount of information, now unfortunately unavailable.
Lynette Silvers book Sandakan - A Conspiracy of Silence is available, have a look at:
Gunner Reginald Roy Harold
With the few that did survive the death march, six Australians, it is such a pity they have shelved it, please help by emailing them, we might get it back on - firstname.lastname@example.org
Hope this helps
Jacqueline Hall - >Ron,
Thank you for taking the time to try and get the Sandakan story put back on the website as I very much want to read this story and thank you to the other members who have also contacted me, it is very much appreciated and until I started this research I never realised just how much those poor men and women suffered at the hands of the Japs as it was an unspoken subject especially from my mother who lost her brother at the age of 22 in Ranau Number 2 Jungle Camp.
Ron - >Jacqueline
There are two stories that always make me shiver the Lisbon Maru and the Sandakan History article.
If they do put it back on, I don't know if you will thank me, it was very harrowing and a very upsetting read, but the truth should be told, to prevent it happening again.
Stuart - And on an associated topic (and also harrowing), anyone accessed the Oz War Memorial site recently?
I can't get in, I was going to see what photographs it had on Ranau - it certainly had a lot on
Jacqueline - >Stuart,
I tried to access the site from the address you left and I could not get into it either
David - >Stuart,
Somewhere to start
Stuart - >David, thanks, but I couldn't get that one to work here (nor when I tried stitching the two lines together)!
However, what seems to have happened is they have reorganised re-organised their website, and the following new URL appears to be the best starting point
which redirects automatically to the right place (which has the following absurb gobbledygook as a url).
simplesearch=&v_umo=&v_product_id=&screen_name=&screen_parms=&screen_type=RIGHT&bvers=4&bp latform=Mi crosoft%20Internet%20Explorer&bos=Win32
also seems to get to the right place
Davad - >Stuart Thanks ,
I discovered that there is a "flash" plug-in on the original page (if you have sufficient resolution) you can see it!
enable it and you are there!
Mick - >Ron,
I have sent an email and received a reply, it seems that the site has been taken off line for updating and restructuring and I have been informed that it will be back on by the end of the year "good news". Nice to have you back mate, keep up the good work.
Ron - >Mick
Thanks Mick, they still haven't answered my email.
Hopefully we'll get the Sandakan History site back on in the new year then, good news for all those interested, including Jacqueline.
Mick - >Ron,
Good news, I have recieved another email from the web content manager, Sandakan History is back on site NOW, and not only that but there are a small number of publications of this site and I have requested a few copies and when they arive I will let you know, if you want a copy please let me know. I have checked access to the site by www.dva.gov.au/commem/sandakan/sand01.html and went straight in. I have sent an email thanking Mr Paul Denman on behalf of us all, "I hope that no one objects".
Mr Denman has informed me that there will be a new link when the updated site comes online but he will send the new link out to all.
Hope that this is of some help.
Best Wishes Mate, Mick.
Ron - >Mick
Great news about the site, hope Jacqueline reads this as well.
Thanks again for the effort Mick and for sending a thank you to them.
I have started on a rather long article, it will be good when its on but 70 pages of text and typing first. It's another London Gazette Supplement.
Ron - An update on the Sandakan History site, it now has a new link at:
This has been altered on the Rising Sun pages.
Mick - >Ron,
Great news, just a couple of emails and someone who cares, what a pity our own government don't give a damn.
Jacqueline - Hi Everyone,
I am so thankful to you all for your hard work in getting the Sandakan story available again.
It is a dreadful story and one that no one must ever be allowed to forget.
It has certainly helped me in pieceing together some of my Uncle's story and treatment. I now have quite a clear understanding of what went on from the time he was at Sandakan and onwards. It is just the time before Sandakan that I still have to unravel.......How did my Uncle come to be at Sandakan and where was he before Sandakan and stuff like that.
What a brilliant site Fepow is and all of the members too.
Jacqueline - Thanks for the link Ron, I have now printed off the whole of the story and will be taking it to my father for him to read now.
Mick - >Ron,
I have received a couple of copies of the web site publication,
if you would like one please send me your address and I will send one to
you. Keep up the good work mate.
Ron - I haven't finished it yet but thought you all might like to take a look at some new pages on the Reverend John Wanless.
Sandakan has always given me the shivers and at the same time made me really angry, so when I found out the Reverend was at Sandakan and died after the Death Marches to Ranau, it was not a task I relished.
It shows the hopelessness of the Fepow's plight, when a nightmare became a reality, this will upset some, but unless the story is told, mankind will not learn from it's treatment of our fellow man.
My thanks to Martin for sending me the booklet, which I have used and quoted from.
Facts are hard to come by as only six Australians survived out of about 2700 POW's, a hard tale to tell just before Christmas.
The pages are in memory of Reverend John Wanless and in Remembrance of the Fepows that died, some, days after Japan had surrendered.
Janet Uhr - >Ron: on Sandakan, could I suggest Don Wall's Sandakan: the Last March(selfpublished: originally 1988)and now in its revised fifth
edition:) his Abandoned?(1990): these are essential reading: Don is 2/20 and F Force himself.
And perhaps, Peter Firkins, From Hell to Eternity (1979);
Lynette Silver, Sandakan(1998); Athol Moffitt, Project Kingfisher(1989), an account of the secret plan for a rescue which never happneed; and most recently
Kevin Smith, Borneo: Austra;ia's pround but tragic heritage
Don again, in Kill the Prisoners: which has a number of entries for Rev John Wanless that you'll be interested in.
With every good wish, Janet Uhr
Ron - >Janet
Thanks for the leads on Sandakan, some I have read but will get back to it after Christmas and add some more.
Till then have a good Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all.
On Sat, 21 Dec 2002, at around 07:26:17 local time, Ron Taylor
>Welcome to the fepow Group.
>I'll try to help with some details.
>"D" Force left Changi for Ban Pong in Thailand in nine train loads, there
>were 5,000 (2,780 British and 2,220 Australians) on 14th and 16-23rd March
>Lt-Col. G.G.Carpenter, 1 Camb. with Lt-Col. McEachern, A.I.F., i.c of A.I.F.
>were the commanders.
>The British were made up from 1,800 from the 18ths Division Area and 980
>from the Southern Area.
>The fittest were chosen as it was known they were to be used in heavy manual
Interesting. I've just finished reading Russell Braddon's "The Naked
Island", where he tells us that the weakest and most ill at Changi were
encouraged to volunteer for the "Convalescent Camp" in Thailand! Braddon
formed part of "H" Force.
>The viaduct at Wampo (114km) was built between Oct 1942 and April 1943 by
>Group IV as "D" Force didn't leave till mid March 1943 he would not have had
>much time on the viaduct.
I see. Am I right in thinking that the prisoners were taken by train
to Ban Pong, and then marched up the line? How long would it have
taken them to get to Wampo? Braddon talks about forced night marches
of twenty miles (32km), so would three days be about right? If so,
Herbert can only have spent a matter of weeks (at most) at Wampo, before
moving on to Tarsao.
>Tarsao (130) was Group IV headquarters, if "D" Force was used to
>strengthern Group IV this would tie in as in April 1943 the end of the line
>was here in April 1943.
>Below are some dates and camps where Group IV were.
>Hintock (156km), May - Sep 1943
Rod Beattie has confirmed that Herbert was at one point based at Hintok
Mountain Camp, and worked specifically in the Hintok and Kannyu (Kanu)
area - so, presumably, he helped dig Hellfire Pass, and build the Pack
of Cards Bridge. What happened to the men at Hintok when this section
of the Railway was completed? Were they sent back down the line to the
staging camp at Tarsao, as suggested by Di Elliott of the 1/19th-2/19th
Battalion Association? Or up the line for more work, as the data you
provide below seems to indicate (and as seems more likely)?
>Rintin (182), Mar - April 1943. was used as a staging post for men moving
>up the line.
But this is *beyond* Hintok. Could this be a different batch of men?
Or a later date? (Note, having just followed the link you provided, I
see that these are the dates for VI Group's presence here, and that IV
Group were there from Aug-Oct '43, which makes more sense, but still
gives a two-month overlap with their time at Hintok.)
>Krian Krai (252km) on the Aug - Nov 1943, this is the furthest I have Group
This confuses me even more. These dates are almost a perfect match for
those when IV Group were supposed to be at Rintin (and, for the first
two months, at Hintok). Was IV Group split up?
What I have so far for Herbert seems to be:
March '43 - Changi to Ban Pong by train, then marched to Wampo
March/April '43 - Wampo
April '43 - Tarsao
May-Sept '43 - Hintok Mountain Camp (but see below)
Aug-Oct '43 - Rintin (but note overlap with Hintok and Krian Krai)
Aug-Nov '43 - Krian Krai (but note overlap with Hintok and Rintin)
2 Nov '43 - Tarsao
Clearly, I still need to clarify where Herbert ("S" Battalion, "D"
Force, IV Group) was from August to October, 1943. A man with terminal
amoebic dysentery could not have marched far, and so I presume he must
have contracted the disease at Tarsao, which implies that he marched in
towards the end of October, shortly after the railway was completed. But
did he come from Krain Krai or Rintin?
Thanks for all your help with this. As ever with research, the more
you learn, the more questions you have!