John Brennand 641337 RAF M.U.153 - Singapore - Java - Haruku

Discussion in 'Searching for Someone & Military Genealogy' started by Popswar, Jan 17, 2020.

  1. Popswar

    Popswar Junior Member

    Hi All,
    I am researching my uncle John Brennand who was a RAF ground crew. John was at Singapore and transferred to Java where he was captured then transferred to Harokoe / Haruku.
    Johns records refer to Tasikmalaja, Malang then Harokoe/ Haruku where he was under Wing Comander Welch and Squadron Leader Pitts.

    We have the Japanes POW card and Liberation card which I will upload, but we have been advised that the year dates on the libetation card may be incorrect by a year 1942 / 1943.
    My mother (John's sister) always told a story that John said he was put on a boat / ship which was set on fire by the Japanese and he swam to shore.

    John survived the war, he was missing, presumed dead but arrived home totally unannounced on night!

    I have read a few of the other postings and research and much seems to fit but would like to try and find any additional facts to avoid jumping to conclusions base on assumptions.

    Many thanks

    GBM_POW-GALLIP_1-1-2050_01416.jpg GBM_POW-GALLIP_1-1-2050_01417.jpg
  2. Popswar

    Popswar Junior Member

  3. Popswar

    Popswar Junior Member

    Please not that the POW card incorrectly shows as BrAnnand which should read BrEnnand which may cause confusion.
  4. Peter Clare

    Peter Clare Very Senior Member

    The publication "Unsung Heroes Of The Royal Air Force. The Far East Prisoners Of War" (Stubbs) gives the following

    Brennand John 641337. RAF Kuala Lumpur. Held Java.
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  5. Popswar

    Popswar Junior Member

    Thank you Peter, my mother did used to say that John was in Kuala Lumpar but I have never seen anything to confirm before. Would you know if it is likely that John was transferred from Kuala Lumpar to Java rather than being actualy at Singapore then to Java? I had assumed that when mum said "escaped the Japanese at the fall of Singapore and was captured at Java" meant he was at Singapore
  6. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    A brief look at this shows shows your uncle most probably transported from Java to Haroekoe/Haruku in the Amagi Maru leaving Java on 26/4/43. Will have had a particularly horrendous time: Haruku Can confirm that Sqn Ldr Pitts was Senior Officer at Haruku so it ties in with your uncle's Liberation Questionnaire. Dates on Questionnaire should read 18/5/43 - 23/6/44. Leaving Haruku - whether he left in the Maros Maru or transferred to her at Ambon I'm not sure - but he will have been on her for the return to Java. History (this article refers to 150 being on another ship who had to swim ashore, the survivors being transferred to the Maros Maru).
    I have found your uncle listed as being in Batavia District 25/9/45.
    Couple more references and be warned it all makes grim reading.
    Harukoe (Haruku) | COFEPOW
    squadron leader pitts - Google Search

    I'm a bit pushed for time over the next few days. Hopefully others will come up with more, if not I'll have another look at the end of next week.

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  7. Popswar

    Popswar Junior Member

    Thank you Tim, this information is much appreciated and is your valuble time.
    We always knew it was a horrendous time for John, but not aware of how bad. The research does seem to point to the Amagi Maru and fits in with the few stories passed down the line.

    Would anybody be able to interpret the Japanes note on the rear of the POW card. We assume this refers to a movement and I am guessing that 20.10.17 is 17th October based on the capture date on the front 17.03.08 being 8th March and the 17 and 20 being some form of year count - though this is nothing more than a guess!
  8. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Hi Stephen,

    The digits are the Japanese Showa calendar, which refers to Hirohito's reign as Emperor, so the first digit is the year 17 = 1942, 18 = 1943, 19 equals 1944, 20 = 1945 and so on.
    He began his reign in late 1926 which = 1.

    So 20/10/17 is 17th October 1945 and 17/3/8 is 8th March 1942. Hope that makes sense?
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  9. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    You probably have this already, but here is your uncle on the main POW listing in the file WO392/23. It is recorded mispelled as Brannand.

    POW list.jpg
  10. Popswar

    Popswar Junior Member

    I ji
    bamboo43 :Thanks for this and the year clarification. I have not seen this POW listing before so much appreciated. Potentially any name based references from this point could easily be confused with Brennand. If John was liberated 02.09.45 from Java / Batavia then the 27.10.45 must be part of the repatriation process - possible a ship boarding?
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  11. Popswar

    Popswar Junior Member

    I have attached pictures of Japanes currency notes which John gave to my mother who said were "paid" to John while in the POW camps. Given their condition I doubt if they could be from Horuku or prior so again I assume thay would be from Java / Batavia after transfer from Horuku. Jap POW Notes JohnBrennand1.JPG Jap POW Notes JohnBrennand2.JPG
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  12. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    I have total empathy with you on this point Stephen. I searched for my grandfather's index card for many months, before finding it had also been misspelled and lay in a completely different file box within the WO345 series. He was Arthur Howney, but had been recorded as Harney!

    Good luck going forward.

  13. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    The POW's in Rangoon Jail were paid a wage for their work on the docks and throughout the city during 1942-45. This money went towards supplementing their diet and enabled then to purchase other foods such as eggs from the black-market operating outside of the jail perimeter.

    Apparently, some of the wage was put aside by the Japanese commandant as a pension for the individual, for when Japan had won the war and all POW's had been taken to the Japanese mainland and set to work.
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  14. TijgerB

    TijgerB Member

    25/9-1945 was the day Admiral Patterson arrived in Batavia. I have been researching the British occupation of Sumatra and Java. So it might be possible I can help you with information if I look in my archive.

    Also it might be possible I can help you with information about Java 1942.
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  15. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    The IJA card shown above is very likely to be a basic replacement for a lost card, possibly created post war. I have studied about 1400 cards in connection with my researches into the British and Dutch on board the Hofuku Maru. See the thread here: Hofuku Maru

    The Dutch Nationaal Archives have a great system, translating Dutch IJA cards from Japanese into English and searchable in English. The online records give photos and translations.

    The original card may have contained further information such as appears on Dutch cards. This link might work. It is a "search for Haruku" in the database of cards.

    Japanse interneringskaarten
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  16. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    I have to agree in regards the Dutch NA. They have constructed a brilliant service with the Dutch cards, I am in the middle of collecting together the 340 or so cards for the Dutch POWs who stopped over at Rangoon Jail in 1942 aboard the Tacoma Maru. They will be an important part of my collation of all prisoners held at the jail between 1942-45.
  17. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    Steve, good luck with that.

    There is a witness card in WO356/11 with no cross-references and no camp codes. Only about two out of over 2,000 cards with a number beginning "Y" have any cross-references. There were over 35,000 atrocity forms completed about conditions in the Far East ( "Q" Forms ), usually completed at the same time as the Liberation Questionnaire. The London office of the Judge Advocate General took an interest in about 13,000 of these, but the vast majority of cards do not cross-reference to a suspect card. It is very unlikely that the form survives, but here is my photo, for the sake of completeness.

    It would be worth just checking the name index file in WO347. It is the only way to trace many POWs. They are the index to medical records, but there are few original records for Java and I know of none for Harokoe.

    There was one case which may have relevance, which I haven't seen much of, in WO235/886.

    Wing/Cdr Welch seems to have made statements about four camps: Bandoeng Java Depot Camp, Malang Kloet Straat, Lyerum Soerabaya and Jaarmarkt Soerabaya.

    S/ldr Pitts does not have a witness card, but is referred to in the International Criminal Court documents, inhetited from the United nations War Crimes Commission.

    Brief information about the case in WO235/886 can be seen here
    Anami Sanso and others - Singapore War Crimes Trials

    and the International Criminal Court has some original documents here

    The Dutch Archives may have more information concerning camps in Java, etc., , apart from the better system of archiving IJA cards.

    Attached Files:

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  18. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

  19. Popswar

    Popswar Junior Member

    Thank you, much appreciated
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