Frederick Charles Clark, 49 Coast Observer Det.

Discussion in 'Burma & India' started by battleofassche, Nov 25, 2021.

  1. battleofassche

    battleofassche Well-Known Member

    I have recently become aware of a family member, cousin of my grandfather, who served in the 49 Coast Observer Det.

    He was captured by the Japanese (POW No 13596) He died of amoebic dysentery on 1/12/1943 while working on the Thailand Burma Railway. He is buried in Chungkai War Cemetery, Kanchanaburi Thailand.

    I'm trying to find out more about the activities of 49 Coast Observer Det. in the early 1940s and possibly the circumstances regarding Clark's capture.

    Any information would be appreciated
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2021
  2. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    Slightly confused here. UK records show Clark whilst those raised in Singapore by the slightly clandestine POW Bureau of Record and Enquiry (BRE) show Clarke. However the Service no. remains consistent at 1754481. The BRE records and his Japanese Index Card show him as being in 11 Battery 3 HAA. 3 HAA arrived in Singapore in Nov 41 and I can find nothing on 49 Coast Observer Detachment so I cannot tell whether they were attached to 3 HAA (unlikely) or whether he was transferred to them either in the UK or in Singapore. Service Records will probably help to resolve.
    Frederick was captured at the surrender of Singapore 15/2/42. He was transferred to Saigon on the Nissyo Maru on 4/4/42 in the Party under the command of Lt Col Hugonin. I can only assume (as I can find no Roll) that he transferred from Saigon to Thailand in the Party known as the 'Saigon Battalion' with Lt Col Hugonin.
    Japanese Transports Database
    Died 1/12/43. Some records have cause as amoebic dysentery some as malaria.
    I will post copies of the records I have found later.

    battleofassche, papiermache and CL1 like this.
  3. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    battleofassche and papiermache like this.

    JITTER PARTY Well-Known Member

    Oddly enough I came across another member of 49 COD just yesterday also listed as attached to 11 Battery, 3 HAA Regt. CODs wouldn't be of much use in the situation that Singapore found itself, so it does make sense to attach trained artillerymen to somewhere that they might do some good.

    Monk, Arthur Thomas
    timuk and battleofassche like this.
  5. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    The detail on one of the records shows him as:

    UK, World War II Allied Prisoners of War, 1939-1945
    Name: F C Clark
    Rank: L/Bdr
    Military Date: 1939-1943
    Regiment: 3 Hy A.a. Regt R.a.
    Service Number: 1754481
    Death Date: 1 Dec 1943
    Description: 2235: Prisoners of War, Far East: Thailand-Burma Railway Camps; Death Rolls; Cemetery Details

    3 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment RA - The Royal Artillery 1939-45

    Presumably Battery 11 from the Japanese card - 11/3
    timuk likes this.
  6. battleofassche

    battleofassche Well-Known Member

    Tim, many thanks from my sister and I for this information on Frederick. Interesting also to note my daughter in law is from Singapore. We will have a look for more information on the events in Singapore in Feb 42. Much appreciate your efforts!!
  7. Derek Barton

    Derek Barton Senior Member

    I can find no mention of 49 Coast Observer Detachment in any of my references. The only Coast Observation Detachments listed for the Far East are 53 & 54 of the Ceylon Garrison Artillery. They were formed in Ceylon in June 1944. Coast Observation Units were in use throughout the war although little is written about them. Their role was to watch the caost line for enemy activity and they did this using Radar sets. These were mostly the same types as used by Anti-Aircraft artillery and so an attachment to a HAA Regiment makes perfect sense. There is a discussion on 103 Detachment in Normandy in 1944 on this site which might give more information on this type of unit.
    103 Coast Observer R.A (Ouistreham, Normandy)
    timuk likes this.

    JITTER PARTY Well-Known Member

    37, 38, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52 CODs served in Malaya.
    timuk likes this.
  9. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    Would these CODs have been originally attached to the Coast Regts (probably 7th or 9th) ?
    In #3 I put a link to the story of a gunner in 11th Battery 3rd HAA 3rd Heavy Ant-Aircraft Regiment | COFEPOW This is an extract and I wonder if this is the connection with 49th COD.
    "What to do with GL ? We were there and had to do something, so were directed here and there, setting up the equippment to no purpose. We had some men with us who had not arrived with our small group, and , attached to the battery, having been on static radar with the army."


    JITTER PARTY Well-Known Member

    Coastal Artilley is not really my thing but I would guess not. I think the batteries worked independently under command of the Fire Commands (Changi and Faber, I think, with Penang FC and 11 Coast Regiment pretty quickly gone for a burton). Feeling a bit guilty about the number of CA manuals that I have let pass by over the years, so let's hope that a passing CA expert reads this thread at some point.
    timuk likes this.
  11. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

Share This Page