Keith Andrews - New year, new project. Could I please ask anyone who is on the net, and served with the regiments listed below in Malaya, or at the Fall of Singapore to consider getting in touch, although
should you not wish to do so, I do understand. The same applies to anyone who had next of kin serving with:
7th Coast Regiment, Royal Artillery
9th Coast Regiment, Royal Artillery
and a long shot
11th Coast Regiment, Royal Artillery, based in Penang.
I will explain more to those who respond, but there has been a rather interesting development regarding this subject.
Coastal Artillery at the moment please, and I will see where this goes in regards to other Artillery Regiments.
Haverhill Town Clerk - Lt Bernard Ashworth was my half-brother's father. He was a skilled engineer with the Artillery working on the gunsights of the infamous Singapore guns. He was specially selected for evacuation and there was a record of him having been seen in Java after the fall of Singapore. Then nothing. Can anyone help with these questions:- why if seen in Java is his name on the War Memorial in Singapore with a date of death 28th February, even though his wife (my mother) was only told he was missing, presumed killed ? which book has the reference in it to evacuees in Java telegraphing home, and queuing to do so (my mother did receive a garbled telegram about this time) ? I read this book some years ago but have forgotten the title. as his name does not appear on the list of Java pows do I then presume he was evacuated onwards but died on the way ? if so there are no records of submarine sinkings for 28th Feb - so are there records of sinkings by planes for this period ?
Stuart - According to CWGC http://www.cwgc.org.uk/register/register.html Lt Ashworth was RAOC and died 23rd not 28th February. "Depot (Singapore), Royal Army Ordnance Corps who died on Monday 23rd February 1942. Age 37"
Of course, he was very likely RAOC, attached RA, but surprising about the reference to work on gunsights then. Do you have his war record from Hayes? This should clarify that aspect, although unlikely to add much post transfer overseas.
Not many RAOC men made it from Singapore to Java - most of those captured in Java arrived direct from the UK. RAOC regimental history records that 200 from RAOC workshops were evacuated to Sumatra, the majority being captured there. Obviously, Lt Ashworth died post fall of Singapore but pre fall of Java. Is the record of his being sighted in Java castiron?
There is a very slim chance that Lt Ashworth may have a Japanese record card in series WO345 at the Public Record Office, although I suspect those records may have been created later and not backdated. If he was named, it should identify where he was captured and where he died.
"Infamous Guns of Singapore", I could get upset about that, as my dad served with those guns, but relax, I shall not. In fact, the fact he served may help a bit. You have had a reply from Stuart, who is a 'Java' man, but me, I'm Singapore, and in particular, Coast Guns, as my father served with the 7th, 11th, and 9th Coast Regiments. We are
going to concentrate on the 7th and 9th Coast, both of which were based in Singapore. The 11th was based in Penang.
Keith Andrew - Stuart has given the first clue to Lt. Ashworth's involvement with the R.A with the words "surprising about the reference to the work on gunsights", but to an artillery brat like me, try GUNSITES. I know for a fact the 15 inch Buona Vista Battery was installed by........ you've guessed it ... the R.O.A.C. I have yet to obtain a copy of the report, but I'm working on it. Now, the most common lie told about the 15 inch guns of Singapore is that they could not be turned to fire into Malaya, and Jahore in particular. During and after the war successive governments have never denied this lie, but lie it is.
There were two 15 inch battery's on Singapore, Buona Vista comprising of 2x15 inch guns in the east of the island, and Jahore, comprising of 3x15 inch guns in the west. Jahore was nearest to the mainland. The 2 guns of Buona Vista, and only 2 guns of Jahore were in Mk.2 barbettes, which had the ammo supply underneath the guns
rather like the guns on a battleship, and could "turn". This may be where Lt. Ashworth comes into the story, and GUNSITES takes on some meaning.
From the official history is noted that the guns could be turned 180 degrees with some effort, 360 degrees with even more. This would I feel apply to Jahore, which fired a total of 194 rounds of AP ammunition during the battle. Buona Vista could turn, but
it is noted in an official report that there was a dead arc to the north, so the battery never fired a shot. With Jahore however ground had to be cleared, FAOPs established, my father being one of them. The 9.2 inch battery's could turn, but the concrete covers had to be removed from the 6 inch battery's on the island, which cost many crews their lives. All of this I am sure would have involved the men of the R.A.O.C.
Note the term FAOP, Forward Artillery Observation Post, as these guns in the main had fire directed onto the targets by Forward Artillery Observers, indirect fire as such, not sighted fire through gunsites. The exception to this may be the 6 inch battery's. Changi Fire Command was in control of the Jahore battery plus others, Faber Fire Command in charge of Buona Vista and others. I would think that Lt.Ashworth would have been more involved with work on the gunsites, and with his knowledge would have resulted in him being selected for evacuation, a very valuable man for the Japanese to capture.
The Java connection I cannot help with, other than to say that there were a number of ships leaving Java that were sank by Japanese Air and Naval forces. To go through the list might be a long job. However the ROSENBOOM left Padang on 28/2/42 with 500 evacuees, both civilians and servicemen.
Stuart mentioned Army Records at Hayes which may be worth a try, at least you will know more about his service with the Army.
You may also the British Far East Prisoners of War Graves Achieves, write to:
Mr. Peter Dunstan,
23, Page Street,
London NW7 2EL.
He may be able to provide you with some more detail.
However, it is with regret that I must bring the following details to your attention, and I apologise for having to do so.
Like Stuart, I explored the CWG site, and found that Lt. Ashworth's name is recorded in Column 109 on the Singapore Memorial at Kranji War Cemetery in Singapore. Having visited the cemetery, and seen the memorial, it is a beautiful and
peaceful place, yet full of sorrow. The memorial records the names of over 24000 casualties that cannot be positively identified, and therefore have no known grave. The date of death stated may not be accurate, and is in accord with the records from when he was known to be missing. This may tie in with what information you have.
I regret that I am unable to provide more information, and can only wish you luck with your search. If I can help further let me know, but I will run your enquiry past a contact I have been fortunate to have made in Singapore, you never know.
Update on the above. He did work on gun sights, and was responsible for maintaining the cross sights in the sighting mechanisms. Just shows how much I don't know. If some kind soul would like to contact me regarding the work of the R.A.O.C. and fill in the gaps in my education it would be appreciated.
With regard to Mr. Dunstan and the FEPOW Graves Archives I have written to him on my own behalf, mentioned my COFEPOW links, and asked if possible could we send such enquires his way, and what as such are the rules. I will let you have more details when he replies, and speak to Carol regarding an official COFEPOW approach.
Last one is for me, I am still looking for details of my dad's last camp, Takuri, WO1 R.S.M. Osboure or Osbourne in command of the Royal Norfolks. Any ideas anyone to this one, the IWM do not know at present.
Alan Brailey - I have only just joined this site, browsing through I saw your request on the above.
My father name was Ernest Leslie Brailey from Swansea no 856107 Royal Regiment Artillery, He was posted to Malaya on the 16/2/1939 to the 9th coast regiment. w/bdr.? and was taken pow in Singapore on 16/2/1942,the MOD papers which I recently received shows my father was taken to
1 Changi camp on 15/21942
2 Tonchan ( Siam camp )11/11/1942
3 Tonchan-South 8/5/1943
4 Nakom Paton 17/4/1944
This is the only information I have, like all pow my father never talked about his experiences .
If you have any information or know of any books which relates to the above camps I would be very grateful.
PS. If there is any other information you might need from the mod papers, please e-mail me. Alan.Brailey@tiscali.co.uk
grantk1 - >Keith. My grandfather served with the 9th coast regiment
royal artillery. his name is William Wilkinson.
Died at the age of 33 as a POW in Kranji pow camp.
9 Coast Regt, Royal Artillery
who died on
Monday 20 April 1942 . Age 33 .
Cemetery: KRANJI WAR CEMETERY Singapore
Keith - >Grant,
Can you let me have any more information regarding your Grandfather, and in particular his service in Singapore.
Look forward to hearing from you,
TINNION - email@example.com
My dad Jim Tinnion was in Heavy Ack Ack any good to you if you have any info on him thanks Shelagh