1919/05/29 - Born Gateshead-on-Tyne, Co. Durham
Son of Thomas and Mary Graham
1939/05/12 - Enlisted
In November, 1941 HMS Repulse was ordered to Colombo to be part of Churchill’s defence against a suspected Japanese attack, the force to be known as ‘Z Force’.
Z Force comprised of:
Prince of Wales
The fleet being ordered to Singapore.
On 8th December at 1735 hours it sailed from Singapore to intercept Japanese battle cruisers ‘Kongo’ off the east coast of Malaya, information was that no air support could be given the Z Force.
On 9th December between 1700 and 1800 hours enemy aircraft were spotted by the Prince of Wales. Tenodos was ordered back to Singapore at 1814 hours. The proposed attack by Z Force on a Japanese landing at Singgora was then abandoned as a Japanese air attack was feared and the fleet had no air cover. The fleet was therefore ordered back to Singapore.
At midnight a report was received that the Japanese were landing at Kuantan and as this was on the way back to Singapore and 400 mile from Japanese known airstrips in French Indo-China, Z force was sent to intercept the Japanese landing fleet.
On 10th December at 0800 hours as no enemy craft were sighted off Kuantan, the Express was sent ahead to report on the situation. Z Force had previously passed some barges and turned to investigate further when enemy aircraft attacked.
Nine enemy high level bombers attacked Repulse from ahead dropping one bomb each. Repulse was hit on port hanger, bursting through the deck below the Marines mess deck, no serious damage reported.
Nine torpedo bombers then attacked Prince of Wales on the port side putting both port shafts out of action. The steering gear failed and the ship listed 13 degrees to port. In the attack two enemy aircraft were shot down.
A further attack by high level bombers on Repulse did no damage.
Prince of Wales was then attacked by nine Torpedo bombers and incapable of any defensive manoeuvre was hit three times:- Near Stem, Abreast B Turret and Aft. The speed dropped to 8 knots. One aircraft was shot down.
As Repulse turned to starboard she was attacked by three enemy aircraft, but no hits were reported. Then nine torpedo bombers attacked in various directions, the first hit jammed the rudder, losing control of the ship. Three more bombs found their targets:- Port side aft, Abreast Port Engine Room and Starboard Side Boiler Room. Repulse listing badly capsized and sunk at 1235 hours. Electra and Vampire picked up survivors.
Prince of Wales was further attacked by nine high level bombers and was badly damaged by a bomb exploding on the main deck. Express manoeuvred alongside and took of the crew before the ship sunk at 1320 hours.
A search by the remaining ships for survivors was then abandoned and the ships returned to Singapore.
The Repulse lost 27 officers and 486 men. The Prince of Wales lost 42 officers and 754 men.
Thomas survived the sinking of Repulse and taken to Singapore.
1942/02/15 - Captured Banka Straits, Muntok
PoW No. II 387
1942/03 to Liberation - Palembang, Sumatra
Comdr Read, Royal Navy
New PoW No. II 4933
Japanese Index Card - Side One
Japanese Index Card - Side Two
1945/09/20 - Liberated Palembang by Australians
KEW:- WO 361/1947, WO 345/21