To honour those who served their country

“In this their finest hour”

Royal Engineers-tn

1892127

Corporal

Reginald George Charles Hemmings

Known as Tim

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1919/05/25 - Born Steynes, Middlesex

Son of William and Winifred Hemmings

Occupation Stone Mason

1939/10/19 - Enlisted

Royal Engineers

560th Field Regiment

18th Division

 

Service

En route to Singapore Tim was on the USS Orizaba which was one of the first American ships to carry  British troops before the US entered the war officially. To commemorate this, Tim carved a  plaque for the Captain – Capt.  Clarence Gilbranson  saying:-

 

To Our True and Gallant Friends of the U.S Navy in recognition of a hazardous undertaking ably performed

From British Troops aboard U.S.S. E347

(Capt. C Gilbranson)

 

Japanese PoW

Captured Singapore

Changi Camp

 PoW No. I 5894

Commander Major Harper

To give the PoWs a cross in the newly named St. George’s Chapel, taking its name from the Northumberland Fusiliers badge, which contained St. George. Rev. Eric Cordingly designed a cross and presented the drawings to Harry Stogden who made the Changi Cross out of a 4.5 Howitzer shell. Tim then carved the  four trefoils of the regimental badges  for the Changi Cross, using only an umbrella spoke, and very rudimentary tools.  Tim’s work on the trefoils was then passed onto the central  IHS, who then fixed all of these to the cross, and mounted it on the shell base.  The family  have the original drawings that Tim used to carve the trefoils.  This work was always very important to Tim, and he talked about it extensively to after the war, as it gave the PoWs hope.

Japanese Index Card - Side One

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Japanese index Card - Side Two

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1942/11/03 - Transported to overland to Thailand in ‘O’ Letter Party

26th Train from Singapore to Thailand

 New PoW No. I 12803

Commander Lt-Col. F.I.N. McOstrich

1944/05- Transported back to Singapore

1944/06/29 - Transported to Japan

Tokyo 16D - Kanose

New PoW No. 4801

Commander Captain Janis R.A.S.C

Work in carbide mill owned by Showa Denko Co; manufacture of carbon rods

1945/06/09 Fire accident at carbide mill, three British serious burned; all eventually die from burns

1945/08 - Renamed Tokyo Branch 16-B 

1945/09 Liberated

 

Post War

After Tim was liberated from the Japanese camp, he returned home and took up his previous job as a stonemason with ST Reeve.

Tim married Thelma Phillips on 5th July, 1947  and had one son, also named Tim.

Eventually Tim Snr. became a partner in the stonemason business. He worked on many interesting projects in his career, including restoring the Black Prince Tomb and Frieze of Angels at Canterbury Cathedral, and undertaking  memorial and restoration work for  the Royal Family and  St. George Chapel , Windsor Castle.

  Son Tim married Sally Heffernan in 1983, and they have two children, Lucy and George.

Tim Snr. and Thelma celebrated  67 years of marriage before Thelma’s death in 2014.

 

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With Son Tim

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Tim and Louise Reynolds (Daughter of Rev. Eric Cordingly)

With Spike from Thailand-Burma Railway

 

Died

Age 98

March 2018

Information

Louise Reynolds

Tokyo 16B

KEW:- WO 392/24, WO 361/1970, WO 361/1970, WO 345/24, WO 361/2005, WO 361/1984, WO 361/2166, WO 361/2166, WO 361/2060, WO 361/2191, WO 361/2069,

*

''Our Thanks are for being a Chapter in Life.''

 

 

 

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In Memory of FEPOW Family Loved Ones
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