To honour those who served their country

“In this their finest hour”

Royal Artillery-tn

1492562

Gunner

John Kenneth Walker

Known as Ken

Walker-John-Kenneth-3tn

1918/07/22 - Born Willesdon

Son of Florence Walker

Occupation Commercial Traveller

Royal Artillery

Walker-John-Kenneth-4tn

7 Coast Regiment

7th HKS Battery

Walker-John-Kenneth-5tn

Ken is front row far right

 

Japanese PoW

1942/02/15 - Captured Singapore

Japanese Index Card - Side One

Walker-John-Kenneth-1

Japanese Index Card - Side Two

Walker-John-Kenneth-2

1942/10/18 - Transported in Kenkon Maru to Rabaul with the Gunners 600 Party

In October 1942 there was a lot of activity in the Singapore PoW camps. The Japanese had decided to use the prisoners for labour parties. This began with Java Parties 1 and 2 being taken by rail to Bam Pong, Thailand, with other parties being transported to Taiwan and Japan. One party was made up of 600 Ak. Ak. Gunners from Southern Area under the command of Lt-Col. J. Bassett, R.A. (35th L.A.A. Regt.). This party, now known here as Gunner 600 Party, sailed eastwards from Singapore on 18th October, being written in the Changi register as “Destination New Guinea”. The Bureau of Records and Enquiry at Changi later were led to believe the ship was torpedoed and all on board lost.

The Gunners 600 Party included 126 officers and men from the 35th’s 144 Battery, 7 Coast Regt., 9 Coast Regt., 11 Coast Regt., 3 Heavy Ak. Ak., 5th Searchlights and the Hong Kong Singapore Artillery. There was also a few from Royal Army Medical and Service Corps.

The ship used to transport them was an ex-Liverpool coaler. In “What Price Bushido” it is noted as being the Eige Maru or the Masta Maru, we now think it was the  Kenkon Maru. 400 men were put into the first hold and the remainder into the smaller aft hold.

Under miserable conditions with only a thin layer of straw on the floor the prisoners found it hard to breath and also the the stench from sweating bodies. The ship called at Timor, Bali and the Halmarhera Islands, the on the first casualty  was when Battery Sergeant Major Tommy Lamborne of 11 Coast Regt. dying on his way to the benjo (toilet), he was buried at sea during that afternoon.

On the 5th November the ship arrived at Simpson Harbour, Rabaul on the island of New Britain, which the Japanese had captured from the Australians in January 1942. The local villages were known as Kanakas and they lived under the constant threat from volcanoes, one of which was very active.

1945/09/02 - Liberated

 

Died

Age 98

April 2017

 

Information

Gunners 600 Party

‘What Price Bushido’ by Alf ‘Blackie’ Baker

KEW:- WO 392/26, WO 361/773, WO 361/773, WO 361/774, WO 361/2188,

*

''Our Thanks are for being a Chapter in Life.''

 

 

 

Keeping The Candle Burning

 

Fepow Family

In Memory of FEPOW Family Loved Ones
Designed and Maintained by Ron Taylor.

 

[FEPOW Family] [Roll of Honour] [W]

 

Honorary Life Member-1tn

Honorary Life Member of COFEPOW

 

Email Ron Taylor 

 

Copyright © FEPOW Family