Albert William George Reed
1920/09/08 - Born Hayling Island, Hampshire
Son of Albert William Reed
80 Anti Tank Regiment
1942/02/15 - Captured Singapore
PoW No. I 504
Japanese Index Card - Side One
Japanese Index Card - Side Two
1942/06/20 - Overland to Thailand in the June Party. This was the second train from Singapore to Thailand and under the command of Major W.E. Gill, Royal Artillery, 137 Field Regiment.
New PoW No. IV 12931
1944 - Transported back to Singapore
1944/09/04 - Oversea in Japan Party 3 to Japan via East Hainon Island. The Japan Party consisted of 2,250 prisoners, 1,500 were British the remainder Australian, the number who actually sailed with the convoy was 2,217. The Rakuyo Maru held 1317 PoWs and the Kachidoki Maru a further 900 (all British). The two ships joined convoy HI-72 and sailed from Singapore.
The Rakuyo Maru was built by Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Company in Nagasaki. It was 477 feet overall length with a displacement of 9,500 tons. The ship was equipped with 12 lifeboats, most of these being on the boat deck in the midships passenger area, the remainder were on the raised stern or poop deck. The ship was painted battle grey and flew the merchant marine flag, which was a red ball in the centre of a white field. It had no red cross markings.
1942/09/12 - The convoy was attacked by US submarines:- USS Growler, USS Pampanito and USS Sealion near the East Hainon Islands. Both the PoW hell ships were hit. The Rakuyo Maru was the first to be hit by a torpedo from the US submarine Sealion, the Kachidoki Maru was hit by USS Pampanito.
Three steam torpedoes were fired at the Rakuyo Maru at 5.25pm, the target was 1,100yards away, all three hit. The torpedoes struck ten seconds apart, two hitting below the waterline the other exploded into the engine room.
The explosions did not kill any prisoners but the water that covered the deck to a depth of over 6 feet flattened anyone in its way, also making its way into the holds where the prisoners were. The prisoners soon organised the evacuation of the holds and looked for anything that would float, the Japanese taking ten of the twelve lifeboats, abandoned ship. The Japanese that didn’t escape found the prisoners not too sensitive to their pleas of help.
136 PoWs from the Rakuyo Maru were saved by the Japanese and arrived at Hainan Island together with about 360 survivors of the Kachidoka Maru which had also sank. They were transported to Japan in the Kibitsu Maru accompanied by the Asaka Maru and Sincho Maru.
1944/09/15 - The three American submarines returned to the area of their attack on the HI-72 convoy and rescued 149 surviving POWs who were on rafts, some in a very bad condition.
Albert was amongst those saved by the Japanese.
In Japan taken to Tokyo 22B
PoWs worked at the docks and train yards and at the docks. Port of Sakata on west coast of Honshu.
New PoW No. IV 44099
1945/04/14 - Name and control changed to Sendai 9B - Sakata
1945/09/14 - Liberated Sendai 9B, Sakata Shi - Yamagata-Ken, Japan
After the end of the War, Albert migrated to Australia and never returned to England.
About 2002 aged about 82 of natural causes.
Hell Ships - Rakuyo Maru
KEW:- WO 361/1742, WO 361/1970, WO 392/26, WO 345/43, WO 361/734, WO 361/2005, WO 361/1983, WO 361/2169, WO 361/1987, WO 361/2063, WO 361/2068, WO 361/2187,