Discussion in 'The War at Sea' started by Tab, Jul 24, 2011.

  1. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member

    I am again writing about this little ship and wonder if anyone can name the two RAF sergeants who were on the Li Wo; one manned the machine gun and gave a good account of himself.
  2. daisy1942

    daisy1942 Junior Member

    Can you tell me where you managed to obtain a copy of this debriefing report?
  3. Hi all.
    My great Uncle (Frederick Harold Humphrey) was aboard the Li Wo and survived. He was separated from the rest of the POW’s and spent the remainder of the war a prisoner in Singapore. He was not recognised initially as a survivor and had to fight his case to get a Mention in Dispatches. He abandoned ship with CPO Rogers. He died in 1998 and never really spoke of his experiences. I love the fact that people are still talking about such an amazing by story.
    He was a lovely, jolly man which I find amazing considering what he went through!
  4. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member

    Hi Carolyn,

    Welcome. Do you know which ship was your great uncle on before he joined the Li Wo?

  5. Hi.
    He enrolled in the RNR 20/02/35. He served on HMS Hood 28/08/39-02/03/40. Just prior to the Li Wo he states in a letter :
    “I was put ashore from the MV Sussex in which I was a leading Seaman DEMS...gunlayer...and put into hospital on 12/01/42. Discharged 11/02/42 and being drafted with others to the HMS Li Wo from the Granje Hotel, which was the Naval HQ”.
  6. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member

    Thanks Carolyn
  7. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    Roy will know this but for others. MV Sussex was part of Convoy WS12Z departing Liverpool 12 Nov 41 arriving Durban 18 Dec 41. Part of this convoy, including the Sussex, then became Convoy DM1, proceeded to Singapore arriving 13 Jan 42.
    Rather intrigued by this statement. A Mention in Despatches is awarded on recommendation; it is not something you apply for. Several of the Li-Wo were awarded MiDs but by no means all. Are you able to expand on the circumstances?

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  8. Hi Tim.
    My understanding is as follows...
    My great uncle arrived on board the Li Wo when it departed Singapore. He did not know the crew personally as he was assigned from another vessel. Two days later The ship sunk. He was captured and was then sent to Singapore as a POW Separated from The rest of the survivors. From his own accounts he heard that awards and MID were given to survivors after he had read an article in a newspaper after the war. He then contacted the MoD and put forward his case as a survivor as he has not received any recognition. He therefore , in my understanding, had to prove he was on board the Li Wo and therefore would receive similar recognition. This information is very new to me. But I have a hand written letter where he gives his accounts of events. This is then compared to Rogers and on that basis a MID is given. I hope that makes things clearer!
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  9. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    You may already have these but just in case you don't he has 2 x RNR service records that can be downloaded for £3.50 each. Each record would cover 5 years service. Also attached a PoW file.

    BT 377/7/70114

    BT 377/7/19456


    Attached Files:

    timuk likes this.
  10. Thank you Hugh.
    I have the POW card and some of his service history. But will download the records anyway as I’d like a complete record.
  11. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member


    I see that your great uncle was RNR, which suggests that he had been a merchant seaman, or had some naval service. I see from his POW card he has written Mercantile Marine?
  12. He was in The Merchant Navy from 1935. He then joined again after the war and left in 1951. This is information from another person so cannot verify it personally.
  13. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    Hi Carolyn,
    I can confirm he served in the MN after the war, see his Seaman's Pouch which is available from Kew - held in piece BT 372/19/47
    The pouch can be hit or miss with regard content some have lots of information others very little but there is usually an ID photo albeit a mugshot. To find out which ships he served in you will need his CRS 10 - this should be held at Kew in piece BT 382/836

    The CRS10 in particular is best obtained by visit to Kew or via a researcher as can be difficult and expensive to obtain online so I suggest you obtain both files either on a visit or get someone to copy both files for you. If visiting Kew is not an option there are two guys on here who copy at Kew for a reasonable and fair charge.

    Any service in the Merchant Navy from 1935 until call up will probably be noted in the RNR files I quoted as I see nothing for him in the Fourth Register of Seamen. Any questions please ask.

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  14. Thanks Hugh - I’m happy to visit Kew. Thanks for all the information!
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  15. Stapo

    Stapo New Member

    Im the Chairman and trustee of the Thomas Wilkinson VC statue appeal. This is our 3rd and final VC statue appeal the 2 previous being Todger Jones and Sgt Thomas Mottershed.
    The appeal was started in 2017 as theres only 2 of us left on the appeal and with being messed about by our local council we have decided to go for a marble memorial instead. Wilkinson and the HMS Li Wo will be etched into the marble along with an anchor, the date of the action and some fitting words. Also another memorial will be next to it dedicated to the MN and seafarers from Widnes, Wilkinsons home town on the banks of the River Mersey. A blue plaque is on the house he was born in 98 Mersey Rd. 200m from the river, the memorials will also be sited by the river.
    Also another smaller memorial will be sent to The Muntok Peace Museum, Banka Island all the memorials will be in place this year.
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  16. michaelpether

    michaelpether Junior Member

    I am an amateur history researcher who has researched ships lost in the evacuation of Singapore - and the identities of people on board - for some 20 years. My documents on some 17 ships I have researched to date are on the COFEPOW and Malayan Volunteer Group websites . I will at some stage get to the story and identities on 'HMS Li Wo' and would appreciate email contact with you so that i can glean what you know about the fate of your grandfather. I was on Banka Island in February 2019 for the annual commemorative services and stood on what is reckoned to be the infamous 'Radji Beach' looking out to sea and a local historian told me that the wreckage that could be seen on a reef way out to sea was the wreck of either the 'HMS Li Wo' or the Japanese transport ship it sank - I am not sure of the credibility of that remark but i am sure it has some relevance.My email is and I live in Auckland, New Zealand.
  17. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member

  18. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    There was a three paragraph write up on the Li Wo in the book I just finished reading, the Fall of Singapore, by Frank Owen. Incredibly brave and courageous action by Wilkinson and the others aboard.

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