Gunner died in Burma

Discussion in 'Royal Artillery' started by af14, Aug 6, 2016.

  1. af14

    af14 New Member

    Dear all,

    I'm looking for more info/pictures of my relative. Would be grateful for any information of his life, how he lived and died.

    Charles Beckwith
    15th Bty 6H.A.A regt
    Buried in Labuan War Cemetery
    Died: 17th March 1945
    Service number: 6004648

    Thank you.
  2. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce Patron

    Hello and a warm welcome to the forum.

    I would suggest you apply for his service records first-they will tell you about his career and where he served. You have the relevant information for the form so they should be able to find his records

    Once you get them (they arrive much quicker these days, around 3 to 4 weeks), come back to us with any queries and I am sure we can help.


    edited: cwgc details,%20CHARLES
    af14 likes this.
  3. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Hi af14,

    Charles died as a POW in Japanese hands. Here are his details as shown on the Cofepow database on line:

    He will certainly have what is known as a POW index card, which are held at the National Archives in London and also now available on Find My Past (I think). This document should give you information about his time as a POW and how he died.

    There are several other forum members who might be able to give you much more detail about his unit and place of capture. From his date of capture, 9th March 1942, it seems likely, but not definite, that Charles was with this group of soldiers:
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  4. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    I noticed from Lesley's post, that Charles has a large number of document downloads on the CWGC website:,%20CHARLES

    One of these suggests he was transferred from Lintang Camp Cemetery at Kuching to his final resting place at Labuan War Cemetery on 22nd July 1946. As I say other members will know more.
    af14 and Buteman like this.
  5. Buteman

    Buteman 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA

    I've sent a message to a Forum Member who has researched 6 HAA Regt extensively. I hope he may shed more light on your relative.


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  6. RCG

    RCG Senior Member, Deceased

  7. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member,%20CHARLES

    Using his service number from the Cofepow database (thanks Bamboo43) and then going to the CWGC site to ascertain his burial location in the Labuan War Cemetery it is possible to read his grave registration card as held on a file in the National Archives of Australia (NAA -

    His card is file page number 444

    PS - most of the files for different cemeteries only contain the cards for the Aussies buried there. The files for Labuan and some of the ones for Jakarta also feature other Commonwealth losses.
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  8. Guy Hudson

    Guy Hudson Looker-upper

    Charles Beckwith's RA casualty card states that he died on the 17th March 1945 at Kuching Sarawak. The cause of death was general debility.

    Unfortunately I can't attach the card due to changes on the forum. If you would like a copy of the card send me a pm.
    Buteman likes this.
  9. Guy Hudson

    Guy Hudson Looker-upper

  10. af14

    af14 New Member

    Thank you so much. This is great.
    I would love any photos from his battalion.
    Was it convention that they would get a group photo before heading out? If so where would they be kept?
  11. af14

    af14 New Member

    Thank you so much. Fingers crossed. I would really love to see some photos.
  12. Guy Hudson

    Guy Hudson Looker-upper

    Charles' service number (6004638) shows that he served in the Essex Regiment prior to transferring to the Royal Artillery. He may have served as a pre-war regular and was recalled from the Reserves when the war began?
    All would be confirmed by ordering a copy of his service records.
    Have you seen Patrick Walker's history of the Regiment which is still available?
    6 HAA Walker.png
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  13. Patwalker

    Patwalker Junior Member

    Dear Guy, I have had the wartime story of his Regt published and there are lots of photographs of people and places within. you should be able to follow his career from Dunkirk to POW camp. If you know his date of joining 6th HAA then the book follows the whole Regt by battery almost on a daily basis. A very sad story of great hardships and amazing resilience and continual bad luck. There is a Roll of Honour at the back (495 ) in which he appears and also 738 survivors.
    If you contact me on then I can fill in a lot more of the details for you. The book is still available on Waterstones or Amazon but I do keep a few copies for signing at home. I am away on holiday on Friday for three weeks but will answer you queries if you contact me before or after this. best regards Patrick
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  14. Patwalker

    Patwalker Junior Member

    Dear Af14,
    I apologise for using the wrong name in my previous reply. I am now back from holiday and will be delighted to try and answer any queries you have on your relative.
    Contact me on
    best regards for now.
  15. Patwalker

    Patwalker Junior Member

    Dear Af14,
    I am still available if you wish to ask any questions on your relative from 6th HAA. gunner Charles Beckwith I can confirm he became a POW after actions in Java in March 1942. Sadly he died from general disability and maltreatment some 5 months before the war ended.

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