Cyril John Wyatt
Also known as Albert
1918/04/16 - Born Chetwode, Buckingham
Son of Cyril and Annie Wyatt
Occupation Rabbit Catcher
54th Infantry Brigade
Pictured with his mother and brother Ronald William Wyatt
Reno Del Pacifico
The 5th Battalion was then made ready to embark in the Reno Del Pacifico, with 18th Division HQ.
Arriving at Halifax 8th November the men were then moved across to the transport ship tied along side, the 27,000 ton Wakefield.
On November 10th the voyage continued with six American troopships, two cruisers, eight destroyers and the aircraft carrier Ranger, the Convoy William Sail 12X was under way, destination still unknown.
The convoy passed through the Mona Passage between Puerto Rico and St Domingo, arriving at Trinidad on 17th November in glorious sunshine so our tropical kit came out, but unfortunately no shore-leave, we left after two days of taking on supplies. On 24th we crossed the equator, there was a crossing the line ceremony.
Crossing the Line Ceremony Certificate
After a month the convoy arrived at Cape Town, South Africa. By this time the Americans were in the war as the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbour and attacked Malaya and the rumours were that they were heading for the Far East and not the Middle East as first thought.
On December 13th the convoy left Cape Town and sailed along the coast of East Africa past Madagascar and into the Indian Ocean heading for Bombay. After 17,011 miles at sea Bombay was reached December 27th 1941.
Embarked on 17th January back onto the Wakefield. The convoy sailed the next day with a British escort, the H.M.S. Exeter and H.M.S. Glasgow with British and Australian destroyers. Japan had entered the war by attacking Malaya on 8th December 1941, destination was the far East. The Prince of Wales and the Repulse had both been sunk by the Japanese off Malaya. Passing Colombo, (Ceylon), crossing the equator for the third time, the convoy passed through the Sundra Straits between Java and Sumatra and then the Banka Straits. The convoy was then bombed by Jap Planes, there was no damage, the Wakefield was the first of our convoy to reach the safety of Keppel Harbour, Singapore on the 29th January 1942. Ships were ablaze in the harbour, clouds of smoke drifted across the sky and the smell of fumes was overpowering, this was not the best of greetings. The Japanese had taken most of Malaya in the last three weeks and were only thirty miles away from Singapore.
The 18th Division was moved to hold the north-eastern part of the island near the Changi Peninsula.
On the 5th February the Empress of Asia bringing military supplies, including ammunition for the 18th Division, was hit by bombs and went aground on the Sultan Shoal, this did not help the now desperate situation the battalion was in. The following days saw heavy bombing and bombardment from the Japanese. On Sunday the 8th February, using makeshift rafts, the Japanese 18th Division and 5th Division began the movement across the Straits separating Malaya and north-western end of Singapore. The Australian troops who faced them didn't get the artillery support they needed, and shielded by the dense smoke, the Japanese soon got a foothold, the fighting was soon hand to hand.
The enemy were making ground quickly by infiltrated the allied lines and they were by the 9th February about two miles behind the defences. They then began to spread out putting the Peice and MacRitchie Reservoirs and the Seletar Aerodrome at risk.
Defences of the position in Adam Road were quickly put into place these included a barbed wire fence and that night some sleep was gained. The next day started with a heavy shell and mortar attack, allied artillery returned fire but there were many casualties during the day. That evening the battalion were relieved by 1/5 Sherwood Foresters, withdrawing to the east side of the road, however with the shelling very little rest was gained. The same pattern of shelling and bombing carried on into the 14th February causing heavy casualties, this later was followed by a prolonged attack to the north of the positions and with a second attack the Sherwood Foresters were forced back.
The situation on the island was now very critical with many troops over run and the enemy threatening to take control of the water supply. The end came very quickly, at noon on the 15th a car travelled down the Bukit Timah road with a white flag above a Union Jack, Singapore had capitulated.
1942/02/15 - Became a Japanese PoW
Japanese Index Card - Side One
Japanese Index Card - Side Two
1943/04 - Transported overland to Thailand in ‘F’ Force
Marched to destination through jungle 178 mile to Songkurai
These men were sick before they were transported and as they were kept under Singapore Juristiction they had no very little help in Thailand.
1943/07/02 - Went sick at Songkurai
25th August 1943
Cause of death given as Diptheria and Diarrhoea
Block ‘B’, Row 1, Grave 3
Songkurai No. 2 Camp, Thailand
Cyril’s ashes were buried in a communal grave with 7 other PoWs
Son of Emmanuel Cyril and Annie Louisa Wyatt, of Chetwode. Buckinghamshire
B4. H. 12
THANBYUZAYAT WAR CEMETERY
Convoy William Sail 12X
Commonwealth War Grave Commission
KEW:- WO 361/2065, WO 361/1344, WO 361/1623, WO 361/1623, WO 361/2234, WO 361/2201, WO 361/1153, WO 361/2025, WO 361/2179