Escape from Singapore (February 1942)

Discussion in 'War at Sea' started by PeteT, Sep 10, 2012.

  1. John Redell

    John Redell Member

  2. John Bateson

    John Bateson New Member

    My father-in-law was in 36 Squadron and escaped to Fremantle. He was an electrician on the Vildebeeste and spent a little time in Khota Baru before the illegal immigration problem on 8 December. He was also on the Perak river steamer, sat on a 50gallon can of aviation fuel!
    Spent some time in Palembang then to Batavia. In the few times he talked about his work there he mentioned that they were not attacked during the escape.
    Posted missing believed killed for 38 weeks I believe.
    Coincidentally when I served in Seletar, one of the first things I noticed was a line of patches down the doors of a hangar, the one nearest the yacht club - which he told us was the reason they decided to leave - but after raiding the NAAFI for food etc
    It is also possible that a survivor of Prince of Wales who worked for me near Warrington, (a stoker) was in charge of the trains which took ground crew back to Singapore.
    John Bateson
  3. Nigel Mills

    Nigel Mills New Member

    Hi Tony not sure if you are still looking at these events but your reference came up on my search for SS Deucalion. My father was also in the RAF and was on this ship out of Batavia in February 1942. Your father's journeys in February 1942 almost mirror my fathers. i do not have the name of the ship he sailed out of Singapore in , he called it a Yangste Riverboat, so will have a look at the SS Perak. I have his diaries which includes an account on board the SS Deucalion on 1st March of the ship being damaged by a mine but then making it into Fremantle the next day. I am currently writing a history of my father experiences during the war in the Far East. I would be very interested in any other information you have on this period. Nigel Mills
  4. Graham Bradshaw

    Graham Bradshaw New Member

  5. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    Roy, re your Post 9. Rather a long time ago so you may now have this info. Link confirms Abbekerk left Tjilatjap 27 Feb arriving Freemantle 4 Mar. Also contains names of other ships sailing independently.
    ms Abbekerk (Go to '75 years ago' then scroll to relevant dates).
    My interest in Abbekerk stems from the fact she carried the guns and ammunition for 35 Regt LAA from UK to Singapore.
  6. Graham Bradshaw

    Graham Bradshaw New Member

    Dear Nigel, Hope this account is of interest to you.
    As the Japanese were invading Singapore and ammunition dumps were being blown up around them, my father, Sgt. PTI J.H.Bradshaw (Jack) marched his flight of 40 men towards the docks. They had left all their belonging in their billets and had shouldered their rifles and wore their tin helmets. A staff car came towards them, stopped, and an army officer asked them were they were going. My father said they were going to the docks to see if they could embark on a ship. The army officer told them to follow and took them to a dock where a ship that had just arrived was now preparing to leave. Whilst the gangway was being relowered my father’s C.O. arrived and selected one of the flight to be his aide. He told my father they would catch up with him later but my father said he saw neither of them again.
    They embarked on the ship and sailed for Sumatra. They were advised to continue their voyage as it would not be long before the japs overan the islands. They proceeded to Java where my father sent a cable to my mother. I still have this in my possession and it says “Safe, lost everything, send 5 pounds” This was the first we had heard since the fall of Singapore.
    They embarked on a ship and arrived in Freemantle a few days later. My father could not remember the name of the ship but I think it was SS Zomo.
    I do not know the date they arrived in Freemantle but on March 14th. they attended the Western Turf Club Races in Perth which I hold the race programme for. Eventually they were transported to Adelaide where they spent several weeks. Then they embarked on a vessel to Ceylon where they arrived by August 1942. He transferred to India in June 1943 and served in Lahore until May 1944 from whence he came back to Blighty and served in England until early 1946 when he was demobbed. He served 3 years abroad.
    Graham Bradshaw.
  7. Nigel Mills

    Nigel Mills New Member

    Hi Graham, thanks for your reply. it looks as though your father had a narrow escape like my own father. My father remained in Australia, transferring to RAAF, until July 1944 before returning to East Anglia. Fortunately his experiences in Australia were fairly quiet after the events in 1942. he spent a year in Perth then spent the next year in a small town up the coast called Carnarvon. I have now finished my account of my father's experiences during the war and passed copies on to my three sons who never met their grandfather as he died in 1977. It is a fascinating period of history.
    best wishes Nigel

Share This Page