Escape from Singapore (February 1942)

Discussion in 'The 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
  8. daisy1942

    daisy1942 Junior Member

    [QUOTE="Graham Bradshaw, post: 778389, member: 70482" ....... 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. ...........[/QUOTE]

    Hi Graham,

    Yhink i might have part of your Dad's escape in my reseach somewhere. the telegram "... send 5 pounds* screams at me! If I am right he would have lefy Emmerhaven on board a ship called Dumeyer Van Twist which docked at Tilatchap (now known as Cilapcap). There he transferred to targer liner called Zaandam arriving Perth Austra;ia around 6th March from memory.
    I;ll have a rummage and see what Ican find.

    To others who have read and/or contributed to this thread
    Do any of the following names ring a bell, do you know what might have happened to the servicemen that started their escape with them?
    Captain William Henry Walmsley of the Master Attendants Office. Other William Campbell of Gatty & Bateman or United Engineers Singapore;
    John Dyce (b. 1899 in Edinburgh) Director Medical Hall Collyer Quay;
    W. McArthur (possibly spelt MacArthur);
    Gerald Manning McMahon of Derrick & Co (Agent for Hammers);
    Peter Black Purvis (b. 1901 in Stirling) Manager of Wm Hammer & Co
    James George Stewart, (b. 1901 Drainie ?) Asst Manager Wm Hammer & Co.
    They were travelling with 1 P.O. and 6 ORs. Later in their journey they were joined by S.Lt. Frank Edward Weatherstone-Lammert.

    Many thanks
  9. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

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  10. daisy1942

    daisy1942 Junior Member

    Thank you, TD! We spoke to Frank early in our research and he said he had given his papers to another university. I am so pleased the papers are now at Kings because he said we might find them useful and we can get there and back in a day.
  11. Source: Bombay Chronicle (1942) March 6th.

    An article by R. Joomabhai - President of Indian Chamber of Commerce, Singapore which appeared in 'The Bombay Chronicle' under the title "Plight of Indian Evacuees from Malaya" dated 6th March 1942 narrates a story of a ship S.S Hosang which sailed from Singapore on the 6th February 1942 at 6 p m. The ship carried 991 passengers of which 865: were Indians. As smoke was noticed the ship had to join the convoy. The ship S.S Hosang wrecked and S.S Whangpoo sailed out of Palembang on the 9th February with 851 Indians of which 740 were males, 39 women, 56 boys and 16 girls. The ship was heading towards Batavia. S.S Whangpoo reached Batavia on the 11th of February.
    S.S Clan Alpine sailed from Batavia on the 12th February at 6 p m. The ship was purely a cargo boat with no crockery, no cooking place, no cooking utensils, insufficient life boats, no life belts, no doctor, insufficient fresh water, one lavatory for around 800 males, no canvas to protect from rain and sun. The only rations available were a little bread and biscuits lasting 2 days. Rice, potatoes, dhal, dry fish and third class ghee were sufficient but the travelers owing to insufficient cooking utensils had to be satisfied with one meal and tea per day. The ship reached Colombo on the 21st February after a horrible and dreadful journey. A total of 977 passengers were in the ship of which 851 were Indians. The witty Srilankan government accepted only 31 passengers who were Sinhalese. Later after a short period according to the order of Namsoji, 24 Chinese, one European, and about 40 Indians and a few Jews were allowed to go. A total of 100 non Indians and 56 Indians landed at Colombo port.
    The ship with 822 souls of which 796 dying Indians travelled to Tuticorin port and from there they were redirected to Madras. The ship S.S Clan Alpine reached the Madras port on the 22nd February 1942 under worst conditions. At Madras they were received the "Protector of Emigrants. K Kothandapani Pillai and Rao Sahib J.C. Ryan assistant director of publicity, viceroy house. The travelers who were almost at the verge of death were fed, clothed and later dispatched to their respective places in good mood after a miserable journey.
    It is to be noted that after the negligence of Srilankan government, the officers from Madras actively involved in bringing back all the Indians souls back to their soil.

    Rao Sahib K Kothandapani Pillai was then the Protector of Emigrants Madras (My Great grandfather) !! ☺️

    Attached Files:

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