To honour those who served their country

“In this their finest hour”

Royal Engineers-tn



Peter Henry Gay Allen

Peter Henry Gay Allen

1920/04/03 - Born Great Hallingbury, Essex

1920/06/04 - Baptised

Son of Wilfred Gay and Hannah Catherine Allen

(Father’s occupation Bankers Clerk)

Peter’s Occupation Actuarial assistant


1939/06/26 - Enlisted

Next of kin - Parents, W G & A Allen, 4 Chantry Road, Bishops Stortford

Royal Engineers

288 Field Company

18th Division

55 Infantry Brigade



1941/10/30 - Transported with 18th Division in Convoy CT.5 from Liverpool to Halifax as part of the 55th Infantry Brigade

Final Destination Unknown

1941/11/08 - Arrived Halifax

USS West Point

1941/11/10 - Transferred to USS West Point with 55 Infantry Brigade and departed Halifax in Convoy William Sail 12X

Convoy William Sail 12X 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.

Convoy William Sail 12x

(Above Photo supplied by the late Maurice Rooney)

Vought SB 2U Vindicator Scout Bomber - USS Ranger which was flying an Anti Submarine patrol over the convoy.

Ships Front Line Top to Bottom

USS West Point - USS Mount Vernon - USS Wakefield - USS Quincy (Heavy Cruiser)

The convoy passed through the Mona Passage between Puerto Rico and St Domingo.

1941/11/17 - Arrived at Trinidad in glorious sunshine so troops changed to tropical kit, but no shore-leave, left Trinidad after two days of taking on supplies.

1941/11/24 -  The equator was crossed, there was a crossing the line ceremony.

After a month the convoy arrived at Cape Town, South Africa. By this time the 1941/12/08 - 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.

1941/12/13 - The convoy left Cape Town and sailed along the coast of East Africa past Madagascar and into the Indian Ocean heading for Bombay.

1941/12/27 - After 17,011 miles at sea Bombay was reached.

1942/01/18 - The convoy sailed with a British escort, the H.M.S. Exeter and H.M.S. Glasgow with British and Australian destroyers. Destination was the far East. 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 Japanese Planes, there was no damage.

1942/01/29 - The convoy reached the safety of Keppel Harbour, Singapore.  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.

1942/02/15 - Singapore Surrendered


1942/03/28 - WO 417/40, Casualty List No. 783. Reported ‘Missing’.

1943/08/13 - WO 417/64, Casualty List No. 1211. Previously shown on Casualty List No. 783 as Missing, now reported Prisoner of War.


Japanese PoW

1942/02/15 - Captured Singapore

1942/02/15 - Changi Camp

Commander Lt-Gen. Percival

PoW No. M-5925

1942/03/13 - River Valley Camp

Commander Lt-Col. Preston

1942/07/17 - Changi Camp

Commander Lt-Gen. Percival

Japanese Index Card - Side One


Japanese Index Card - Side Two


1942/11/03 - Transported overland to Thailand with ‘O’ Letter Party

Commander Lt-Col F.I.N. McOstrich

New PoW No. IV 1359

Group 4 07 (M) Work Battalion

Thailand Camps:-

1942/11/15 - Tha Sao, 125km from Nong Pladuk, RCOS, 18th Division.

Commander Lt-Col. Knights, Royal Norfolk Regiment

1943/04/29 - Kinsaiyok, 162km from Nong Pladuk

Commander Lt-Col. Carpenter

1943/09/ - Returned to Tha Sa

1944/04/25 - Tha Muang

New PoW No. 1954

1945/06/ - Takuri Camp, in Nakhon Sawan

Commander R,S,M, Henry James Osborne 1st Indian H.A.A. Regiment, RA

1945/08/30 - Liberated Takuri, Thailand (Takhli is North of Bangkok)

Liberation Questionnaire



Flown from Bangkok to Rangoon

SS Chitral

1945/10/02 - Sailed from Rangoon in SS Chitral

1945/10/06 - Colombo

Suez Canal

1945/10/18 - Gibraltar - First post from home

1945/10/28 - Arrived Southampton



1945/10/17 - WO417/98, Casualty List No. 1886. Previously shown on Casualty List No. 1211 as reported Prisoner of War now Not Prisoner of War. Previous Theatre of War, Malaya.




1939-1945 Star-tn

Pacific Star

War Medal

1939-1945 Star


Peter’s 1994 Interview

This is what Peter said to the Singaporean Fort Canning historian in 1994, about his trip back:-

Well we were flown out on the 21st September and we went to Mingaladon where we were made very welcome by a load of lovely white ladies but I'm afraid I found white ladies a bit insipid after all that time. They were very charming to us.

We then went into I think the Second Indian General Hospital which was established in Rangoon University. They examined us very cursorily and if we were really poorly we were kept in hospital. If we weren't too bad we were sent to a holding camp which Tom Dryberg, the journalist, described as like Belsen but not so well organised; but that was a really gross exaggeration - it wasn't too bad a camp it just so happened we only had water two hours a day and we were kept there waiting for a boat.

Eventually our boat came, I think it was only a week later because on the 28th September, just four years after we left England, we left Rangoon on a boat called the SS Chitral. The Chitral was a trouper better suited to the tropics than in American because it was a Far Eastern boat.

We went home on the Chitral calling in at Colombo, where we had two or three days ashore, everyone had a nice experience. We were with Signals and one of my Signals pals found... Colombo was full of most delightful Wrens. Found a Wren who came from Norwich, a Miss Hudson, and instead of keeping Miss Hudson to himself, he raced around Colombia with Miss Hudson in tow looking for me! That was kind of him, introducing me to Miss Hudson.  She sent a cable home to my mother to say she met me and I was alive and well. That was very kind.

We then called in at a place, called I think Adabiya, just at the Southern end of the Suez Canal where we were fitted up with European kit, and then we sailed through the Mediterranean, past Gibraltar. We had a very bad passage across the Bay of Biscay, where we good sailors ate the rations of the bad sailors and then went downstairs to tell the bad sailors about it - which was very unkind. Very unkind of us.

We landed in England, I suppose October, November - I can't remember when, at Southampton. Went in for the night at Southampton Common Camp and then was sent home by train the next day. Very little attention was paid to our health, very little attention - nothing like the Australians. In Southampton they were just pleased to be rid of us. I was graded A1, passed to the Z Reserve into which I didn’t get called up for the time to Korea because I was in a reserved occupation. I'd taken good care to go into a reserve occupation, which my parents would never let me do. So that was that! I was home.



Caroline Wolfe

Andrew Snow - Thailand Burma Railway Centre

Convoy William Sail 12X

Japanese Transports

Thailand-Burma Railway

Liberation Questionnaire - COFEPOW

KEW Files:- WO 345/1, WO 392/23, WO 361/2172, WO 361/1954, WO 361/1979, WO 361/2196, WO 361/1987, WO 361/2169, WO 361/2191, WO 361/2058,


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




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