Reginald George Charles Hemmings
Known as Tim
1919/05/25 - Born Steynes, Middlesex
Son of William and Winifred Hemmings
Occupation Stone Mason
1939/10/19 - Enlisted
560th Field Regiment
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)
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
Japanese index Card - Side Two
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
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.
With Son Tim
Tim and Louise Reynolds (Daughter of Rev. Eric Cordingly)
With Spike from Thailand-Burma Railway
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,