To honour those who served their country

“In this their finest hour”

Royal Artillery-tn

1467158

Driver (Gunner)

Albert William George Reed

jcross

1920/09/08 - Born Hayling Island, Hampshire

Son of Albert William Reed

Royal Artillery

80 Anti Tank Regiment

 

Japanese PoW

1942/02/15 - Captured Singapore

PoW No. I 504

Japanese Index Card - Side One

Reed-Albert-William-George-01

Japanese Index Card - Side Two

Reed-Albert-William-George-02

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

Rakuyo_maru

Rakuyo Maru

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.

USS Sealion

USS Sealion

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

 

Post War

After the end of the War, Albert migrated to Australia and never returned to England.

 

Died

About 2002 aged about 82 of natural causes. 

 

Information

Judy Penfound

Hell Ships - Rakuyo Maru

Sendai 9B

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,

*

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