Escape from Singapore

Discussion in 'History' started by daisy1942, Jul 20, 2010.

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  1. My father in law was among the lucky ones to successsfully escape from Singapore. Recent research suggests he was RN.
    He escaped on board a water boat DAISY from Singapore. Civilians who escaped on DAISY went overland in Sumatra to Padang, then to Tjilatchap and Australia. However I cannot trace my father in law's movements.
    In fact, there seems to be no record whatsoever of ANY military escapees from Singapore! Records were surely taken - any ideas where they might be now and how can I access them??
    (Frustrated family researcher)
    this is an article of a man who escaped from singapore to sumatra.
    i know that POWs on the asian/pacific front were treated very badly, and in the singapore camp they were forced to sign a document promising not to escape.

    bit off topic bit 'bridge on the river kwai' is an excellent film about this sort of thing if your interested.
  3. It may be a good film but totally removed from the reality of the situation.
  4. You could try contacting these people

    Have you tried the National Archives (they will charge) or the RBL. The Imperial War Museum might be able to help.

    Just some ideas, they might point you in the right direction if nothing else.
  5. IIRC, there was a book about an Aussie who escaped from Singapore by a bloke called Charles McCormack, but ca't remember the title offhand. O
    PS it's called "You'll die in Singapore".
  6. Why would you escape to Sumatra, which was infested with Japanese after 1942.
    My dad was a guest of the Japs and at the end of the war was so bad he could not be repatriated for a very long time. Sea voyages would kill them if they got sea sick(DE hydration was the main cause ) so the policy at the time was to evacuate to a western environment by flying them to Darwin town.
    That is how my dad ended up marrying an Aussie. My mom was second generation Aussie/German, and worked as an auxiliary nurse for the blue cross, the Aussie version of the red cross.
    And most of the camps in Singapore were run not by the Japanese, but by turn coat Sikhs, and Korean guards who were renown for their brutality.
    He spent some months in Java, and Sumatra, before being sent back to Roberts Camp Singapore, and then Changi.
    To the day he died in 1985 he hated the Japanese, would allow NO item known to be Japanese in making in his house, and I out of respect to him have never owned anything known to be manufactured there.
    And if any one wants to call me a bigot they can take a great flying fuck at themselves whilst reading the "Knights of Bushido" by Lord Russel of Liverpool.

    A small codicil to this epistle is to table an insight to the Japanese mentality, as told me by my dad.
    The Japanese upon Invading Surabaya built a rather primitive makeshift structure and designated it a hospital. The Dutch had two years before built a then state of the art Hospital which the Japanese used as an abattoir to slaughter Horses, the mainstay of their meat supply. 8O :?
  7. i hate how the german government has spent decades apoligising yet im not sure if japan ever has?
  8. To the day he died in 1985 he hated the Japanese, would allow NO item known to be Japanese in making in his house, and I out of respect to him have never owned anything known to be manufactured there.
    And if any one wants to call me a bigot they can take a great flying **** at themselves whilst reading the "Knights of Bushido" by Lord Russel of Liverpool.

    Totally agree with your views of the Nips, just as an afterthought, I now work lecturing to various military personnel on CBRN... the Japs were the horrendous cretins who experimented with biological warfare...look up UNIT 731 on Google.
  9. When I lived in Australia, one of our close neighbours and a friend of dads was a chap who originally hailed from Halesowen, but had been in Australia almost since the wars end.
    He lived there as he was close buddies with three Australian chaps who like himself were survivors of Japanese "Experiments".
    He and the others I met were all very sick for most of their lives which were not very long, all being dead before their 50th birthday. I hasten to add dad was not so used, his ailments which included several type of worm, were due to camp life and advanced malnutrition. He was cured of his worm infestation by 1951, but other afflictions like damaged liver and kidneys caused him problems all his life and he to died at 64, as a direct result of his mistreatment by the Japanese.( He was beaten four times for various minor infringements)
    I have published a pic here of my dads medal rack (top medals) and the second in is his Burma star which he was proud of above all else. As he had to stay in the far east to recuperate qualified for the 45-46 Southeast Asia GSM, but always said it was for nowt, he only cared about his TA medal and the Burma star.

  10. thats an honurable collection, you must be very proud, would you mind telling me what the orange, green and black coloured medal is, and also the one too its right, since i have these medals (greatgrandads) and was wondering what they were for?
  11. From left to right,
    1939/45 Star, The Burma star, The Italy star, The defence medal, The war medal, the GSM with south east Asia bar 1945-46, and the Territorial long and efficient service medal.
    He joined the TA in 1937 age 15 and came out the forces in 1947.
  12. ah it must be the war medal and defence medal, thank you very much, all his other medals are tank related, he joined before the war aswell, was posted in india then belgium. another relative of mine served in italy, he said that the british force did all the hard work and then then US troops arrived and all they did was parade around the city,really ticked off the british apparently, not sure what medals he had though, he was a gunner on a lancaster in the RAF.
  13. I've read that book plus his German war crimes book "The Scourge of the Swastika". Both sobering reads
  14. wow i never knew the colours symbolized anything, cheers mate :D, i think my nan was awarded that medal as well, and she didnt even leave the country, she may have been a nurse or something
  15. Thanks for the various suggestions.

    Dad was lucky not to be a POW. The sketchy details I have of his escape seem to show a charmed life. Given two ships, one that got through one that didn't - he got the right one!

    What puzzles me is that a large number on military personnel managed to reach Australia (and others made Colombo) but there does not seem to be coherent lists of who they were and where they went. National Archives of Australia list some evacuees but not many. Given their proximity to Japan I cannot believe they would just have opened their doors and welcomed in all and sundry! The few listed do show rank etc so some sort of vetting seems to havetaken place. Any suggestions where to try for surviving lists?

  16. Seaweed

    Seaweed War Hero Book Reviewer

    I think it was totally haphazard. Mrs S' cousin age 3 got out with her mother on the last ship to get away. The father (Lt 1 Manchesters) was never seen again. Try "The Singapore Grip" by JG Farrell for how shambolic it was - a novel writen from a civilian pov but it seems to ring true. I suspect Brit passports could enter Oz without any registration or anything in those days, so there would be no record, but I stand to be corrected by those closer to it.
  17. Quite right, and it was a reciprocal arrangement. It changed in the early 60's IIRC.
    Those days when you came to UK, the custom lines sported an English lane as well as a British nationals.
    I came to the UK in 1958 and then to settle in 1963.
  18. I think they could probably tell that he wasn't Japanese by looking at him! :tongue:

    Travelling without documents was common until the end of the second world war. Even during the war neutral countries (particularly those in South America) would generally just take people's word on where they came from.
  19. Haphazard, it certainly was! What seems to be more of a problem is it is still haphazard. In the Australian Archives it shows, some ships arriving at Fremantle with evacuees on board; some ships I didn't know had escapees listed on them; some ships I know arrived don't even show and some ships I know had escapees on board list no passengers at all! Most people who escaped with Dad show on ZAANDAM or KOEN HOEA. Although at least one man (from RNVR) was on the Bendigo, but Dad doesn't show at all.
    Just to compund the problem, Dad next shows ups halfway around the world from Singapore in TRINIDAD (Dec '42/Jan '43) and now he is in American uniform! Documentation shows him as being in USED (United States Engineering Department) which is part of the US Coastguard and is run by the AMERICAN ARMY!! When I took this photo to the US Embassy in London they insisted that he had to be American as, at the time, their law stated he would have had to be resident in the US for six months before being eligible to join thier forces!
    Any suggestions how he did this??

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