Frederick Henry Hewerdine
1917/06/06 - Born Wisbech
Fred was the company boxing champion.
1941/10/30 - Transported in Sobieski in Convoy CT.5 to Halifax
1941/11/08 - Reached Halifax and transferred to USS Mount Vernon
1941/11/10 - Sail in Convoy William Sail 12X
1941/12/08 - Japan entered war by Invading Malaya and pearl Harbour
1941/12/14 - Left Cape Town for Kenya
1941/12/21 - Arrived Mouth of Duruma River, Kenya
1941/12/29 - Mount Vernon joined Convoy DM1 left Kenya and sailed for Singapore
1941/01/13 - Reached Singapore
The 2nd Cambridgeshire Battalion was attached to the 15th Indian Brigade and sent to Batu Pahat, Malaya to relieve the British Battalion. Full report here .
Retreated back to Singapore, full report here .
1942/02/15 - Singapore surrendered but Fred escaped to Sumatra
1942/03/17 - Captured Sumatra
Was placed in the British Sumatra Battalion, these were what the Japanese thought were troublemakers.
The British Sumatra Battalion was formed on the 9th May 1942 with 20 officers and 480 other ranks. The service personnel were mostly escapees and considered to be trouble makers.
Leaving Padang, Sumatra by train they travelled to Fort de Kok. The next day a convoy of lorries took them to Uni Kampong Camp, where Dutch civilians were interned. On the 15th May they were packed into the hell ship England Maru bound for Mergui, Burma, to build new runways, the death rate at Mergui was twelve.
The 10th of August saw another move on the hell ship Tatu Maru to Ann Hestletine Home at Tavoy, where the death rate fell to five.
The next move to Thanbyuzayat in November was the start of a hard toil on the Thailand to Burma railway.
PoW Number 3526
As a medic Fred was nicknamed the 'mud doctor of Burma' on account of his many remedies in treating tropical ulcers and the like.
Japanese PoW Card - Side One
Japanese PoW Card - Side Two
New PoW Number 42199
As a medic Fred worked with Australian military doctor Sir Weary Dunlop
The British Sumatra Battalion helped form the 51 Kumi Party bound for Saigon, French Indo China.
With 3 Group Saigon
1945/09/12 - Liberated
Moved to Australia, with Weary's help in the 1950s.
He was heavily involved in the RSL in Bairnsdale Victoria in his later years.
His wife Lucy passed away in late 1979.
Fred and Lucy are survived by three sons
Convoy William Sail 12X
‘British Sumatra Battalion’ book by AA Apthorpe
Jan Hewerdine - Grandson of Fred
Kew:- WO 361/2171, WO 361/2022, WO 345/24, WO 361/2001, WO 361/2177, WO 361/2168, WO 361/2060, WO 361/1987