Joseph Thomas Charles Aston
1923/07/22 - Born Stratford on Avon
1939/11/21 - Enlisted
On Monday 8th, all shore leave was cancelled, men were recalled from Singapore and by 4 a.m. the HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse and under command of Admiral Philips, made its way ahead down the twisting, placid, palm fringed waters of Jahore Straits. This fleet consisted of the two battleships, Prince of Wales and Repulse and three destroyers (Electra, Jupiter and Vampire) who provided an adequate anti-submarine protection.
The fleet went in a north easterly direction, making, to avoid being spotted by enemy aircraft, and therefore carry out a surprise attack at dawn on Wednesday 10th.
Tuesday revealed a sky overcast by heavy black, low clouds and a misty, placid sea – ideal conditions for a surprise attack, but by late afternoon the sky had cleared and the fleet was spotted by a long range enemy reconnaissance aircraft which shadowed the fleet, reporting back to Japanese HQ. Under these considerations decided the Admiral to cancel the operation and the fleet now preceded back to Singapore.
At 11 a.m. Wednesday the a large number of aircraft were heard approaching the fleet from the rear. The alarm was sounded and the fleet took up its battle stations.
The aircraft were identified as being Japanese and when within range the Prince of Wales, followed by the Repulse opened fire.
The wireless office listened to the battle roar of battle above. The first Japanese attack was beaten off with many losses of Japanese planes. A second attack proved disastrous for the fleet as the enemy aircraft altered his tactics and splitting up into several formations, launched a low flying torpedo attack at different angles on our port side.
The Prince of Wales was hit first amidship by a torpedo and the ship developed a bad list to port and she was unable to manoeuvre and suffered more hits. The HMS Repulse suffered four torpedo hits and the crew were ordered to the water.
513 crew members of the HMS Repulse were lost in this action.
Survivors of the attack in the water, awaiting rescue by ‘Electra’ and ‘Vampire’.
1942/02/15 - Captured Banka Straits
PoW No. 331
1942/02/22 - Palembang PoW Camp, Commander Capt. Corrie S.V.F
1942/05/03 to 1942/06/06 - Charitas PoW Camp
1942/11 to 1942/12 - Charitas PoW Camp
Japanese Index card - Side One
Japanese Index Card - Side two
New PoW No. 1447
1945/09/02 - Liberated
John (Johnnie) MacMillan
KEW:- WO 392/23, WO 361/1946, WO 345/2,