John George Clifton Prior
Known as Jack
1917/04/24 - Born Eastham, London
Pupil at Newport Primary School
Winning Scholarship to Newport Grammar School
1933/01/10 - As a 16 rear old Air Cadet he joined the RAF as an apprentice training as an Aero Engineer at RAF Halton, Buckinghamshire
Royal Air Force
Stationed overseas with
Flight in Iraq - Pre-war
Vickers Vincent K6349 of A flight 84 Squadron. Jack was the airgunner then. The pilot was Flying Officer Robert Towgood ( who was later killed) and the wireless operator was George Holding.
Certificate of Service
Djawa PoW camp
PoW No. 27231
Japanese Index Card - Side One
Japanese Index Card - Side Two
From ‘Prisoner Docter’:- Examined by Japanese doctors at Surabaya before departure. Senior Officer, Squadron Leader Pitts was badly beaten up by the Japanese in front of his 2075 assembled men by Mori, a Japanese Sergeant.
Map from ‘Prisoner Doctor’
1943/04/17 - The conditions on board were cramped and very unhygienic, even before they sailed 20 PoWs were removed with disease. Eventually set sail in Amagi Maru and Cho Saki Maru.
Nobody died on the 18 day journey but many were very sick.
1943/05/05 - Arrived at Haruku (Herokoe) Island in heavy rain which continued for many days. Although many huts had been built most of these had no atapi roof. The sanitary pits had been used by the natives who had built the huts and were overflowing, a dysentery outbreak quickly followed. their arrival. The Japanese Commander refused the men better latrines and told them each prisoner was to collect 100 flies a day and that would ease the problem. The PoWs died at a rate of 80 a month, a total of 370 deaths in the first four months.
New PoW No. 4789
1944/04 - Allies bombed Huruka very close to the PoW Camp killing many natives in the nearby village.
1944/06 - Transported to Ambon Island (there were 425 deaths on Haruku Island)
1944/08/01 - Transported back to Java in Maros Maru
1944/10 - Arrived Java, 60 days at sea with 307 British deaths on board
1945/08/15 - Batavia District
1945/09/02 - Liberated
Married Barbara and lived Newport.
Occupation - Plumber
1951/05/08 - Rejoined Royal Air Force
1959/07/09 - Chief Technician Prior was one of the small crew, captained by Wing Commander Beetham, to make record breaking history when they flew a Valiant jet nuclear bomber on a non stop flight between Britain and Cape Town, being refuelled in mid air twice.
Jack was Mentioned in Dispatches.
1963/05/07 - Discharged from RAF
Restoring many vintage cars over the years proved his skills as an engineer, his interest in engines never left him.
In 1987 Jack and Barbara left Newport to live at Saffron Walden.
Barbara died in 2000
20th February 2003
In Addenbrookes Hospital
He is survived by three daughters and four grandsons.
His widowed sister living in Suffolk.
Gabrielle Nunn (daughter)
‘Prisoner Doctor’ book by Richard Philips
Death in the Spice Islands
The Valiant years - RAF Marham
KEW:- WO 361/2010, WO 392/25, WO 345/42, WO 361/2008, WO 361/1945