John C. Ford
Royal Air Force
Escaped from Singapore to Sumatra
Shipped to Changi, Singapore (Singapore Maru)
Shipped to Fukuoka #2, Japan (Kamakura Maru)
John Ford was born in Port Aux Basques , Newfoundland ,Canada in 1919. He enlisted in the Royal Air Force in 1940 and after training as an aircraft mechanic was assigned to 36 Torpedo Squadron and deployed to Singapore in March 1941. He remained in Singapore until it fell to the Japanese and with a number of his comrades escaped to Sumatra aboard a ferry boat that had been operating between Sumatra and Java.
On March 8, 1942 after three months alluding the Japanese , he and his comrades were captured. After being moved around to several prison camps in Java, he was taken back to Changi Jail in Singapore on board the Singapore Maru leaving Java on the 10th September 1942 and arriving Singapore on the 25th October. He was eventually put aboard the Kamakura Maru on the 28th November 1942, with 1700 other PoWs and sent to Nagasaki, Japan, where he arrived December 1942.
It was in Nagasaki at Camp Fukuoka #2 that he would spend the rest of the war, working at the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries dockyard building ships for the Japanese navy. The majority of his time there was spent operating a guillotine cutting steel plates. He continued doing this until the dropping of the atomic bomb and the surrender of the Japanese.
After the war he retired to Newfoundland and his former job with the Newfoundland Railway, where he stayed employed until his retirement in 1975. After retirement he became heavily involved in the activities of the Royal Canadian Legion and served in several positions dedicated to the cause of veterans welfare. His efforts were acknowledged in 2005 when he received the Department of Veterans Affairs Ministers Commendation for his efforts on behalf of veterans. By far his greatest honour was bestowed on him in May of this year when he received an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Memorial University "for dedicating a significant portion of his life condemning the sheer madness of war and promoting world peace."
His prodigious memory and attention to detail was rewarded last November when his story was published in a book by a local author Jack Fitzgerald . John has been blessed with good health and continues to visit schools, service clubs and university classes speaking of the horrors of war and his experiences. He has received e mails and correspondence form all over the world from individuals that have heard or seen him speak expressing the impact that his comments have had on them.
I continue to be proud and amazed by my father.