To honour those who served their country

“In this their finest hour”

Royal Artillery-tn



Thomas John Argust


1916/05/09 - Born Glamorgan

Next of kin:- Father, T Argust, Rhondda, Treherbert, Glamorgan

Royal Artillery

241 Battery, 77 H.A.A. Regiment.



The Territorial Chester area 21st Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment together with the 48th L.A.A Regiment, 77 H.A.A.  and 18 L.A.A. Regiments of the Royal Artillery left the Clyde for the Middle East in Convoy William Sail 14X.

1941/12/08 - Japan attacked Malaya entering the war against Britain.

1942/01/13 - By the time WS 14X had reached Durban, South Africa their destination had changed to the Singapore and they sailed in Convoy DM-2 (Durban Malaya -2).

1942/01/19 - Off Mombassa at 01.05 N, 91.28 E they merged with Convoy Bm-12 (Bombay Malaya -12) and were re-routed to Batavia, Java with their supplies.

Empress of australia-3b

1942/02/03 - Arrived Batavia in Empress of Australia.

The 48 L.A.A Regiment was formed in 1940 and comprised of 49, 95 and 242 Batteries.

48 LAA Regiment, Royal Artillery, on arrival in Batavia, deployed the 49 Battery around Kalidjati airfield, North of Bandoeng. The 95 Battery were deployed at Andir airfield, Bandoeng and HQ together with 242 Battery were in Batavia.

The 77 H.A.A Regiment less 239 Battery, were transported by train to Surabaya setting up their guns to defend Eastern Java against enemy aircraft. The 239 battery stayed in defence of Batavia.

1942/02/06  -  At 0300 hrs a troop train carrying part of 77 HAA Regiment crashed into an ammunition train on a single track bridge just outside Surabaya, 30 were killed and 100 were injured.

1942/02/28 - A strong Japanese force landed  on the North Coast of Java at Eretenwetan. Using tanks they soon reached Kalidjati airfield, destroying the 49th Battery of the 48 L.A.A. Regiment.

1942/03/04 - By this time the Dutch forces in Java were being severely hit by the Japanese advance. The 239 Battery, 77 H.A.A and the 242 Battery, 48 L.A.A were ordered to move and defend the Bandoeng area.

1942/03/08 - Java surrendered to the Japanese.


1943/03/19 - WO 417/58, Casualty List No. 1087. Rank Gunner. Reported ‘Missing’.

1943/04/28 - WO 417/60, Correction to entry on Casualty List No. 1087. Rank should read Acting Lance Serjeant. Reported ‘Missing’.

1943/05/03 - WO 417/60, Casualty List No. 1124. Previously posted Missing, Casualty List No. 1087 (Corrected by 1120), 01/02/1943. Missing believed Prisoner of War

1943/06/024 - WO 417/62, Casualty List No 1169. Previously posted on Casualty List No 1024 as Missing now reported ‘Prisoner of War’.


Japanese PoW

1942/03/09 - Captured Java

PoW No. 32

Japanese Index Card - Side One


Japanese Index Card - Side Two


Before leaving Sarabaya Camp the PoW were examined, well they walked past the doctor in single file, that was the examination, everyone was passed fit.

1943/04/17 - The morning of the transport  Squadron Leader Pitts was without warning badly beaten in front of the assembled PoWs. it went on for about 15 minutes the assailant was Sergeant Mori who was trying to impress the 2,060 British and Dutch awaiting transport.

The holds of the two ships Cho Saki Maru (1,030 PoWs) and Amagi Maru (1,030 PoWs) were very cramped with just enough room for the PoWs to lie down, head to toe with those next to them. The latrines were two buckets with holes in them suspended over the side of the ships. The ships remained in Sarabaya harbour for days and dysentery broke out due to cramped and unhygienic conditions on board. Eventually the ships got under way in convoy.


Transported to the Haruka, Spice Islands, then to Ambon.

New PoW No. III 12284

Suez Maru

In November 1943, the Japanese decided to ship the sick in Ambon back to Java. A total of 640 men, including a number of Japanese sick patients, were taken on board the 4,645-ton passenger-cargo ship Suez Maru. In two holds, 422 sick British (including 221 RAF servicemen) and 127 sick Dutch prisoners, including up to twenty stretcher cases, were accommodated. The Japanese patients filled the other two holds.

Escorted by a minesweeper W-12, the Suez Maru set sail from Port Amboina but while entering the Java Sea and about 327 kilometers east of Surabaya, Java, Netherlands East Indies, the vessel was torpedoed by the American submarine USS Bonefish commanded by Cdr. Tom Hogan. The ship started to list as water poured into the holds drowning hundreds, many managed to escape the holds and swam away from the sinking ship. The Japanese mine sweeper W-12 picked up the Japanese survivors, leaving between 200 and 250 men in the sea. At 14.50, the minesweeper, W-12, under orders from Captain Kawano,  opened fire, using a machine gun and rifles. Rafts and lifeboats were then rammed and sunk by the W-12. The firing did not cease till all the prisoners were killed, the minesweeper then picked up speed and sped off towards Batavia (Jakarta) at 16.30 hours.

 Sixty-nine Japanese had died during the attack,  93 Japanese soldiers and 205 Japanese sick patients were rescued by the Japanese.  Of the 547 British and Dutch prisoners, there is reported to be one survivor, a British soldier, Kenneth Thomas, who was picked up twenty-four hours later by the Australian minesweeper HMAS Ballarat, this has not been confirmed.

Sunk off Kangean Island:-

Lat. S 6.20

Lng E 116.30.



Age 27



1944/02/03 - WO417/71, Casualty List No. 1359. Previously reported Prisoner of War - Netherlands East Indies, Casualty List No. 1169. Killed in Action whilst Prisoner of War in Japanese Hands.



Singapore memorial - Addenda Panel

Column 6.

Singapore Memorial




1939-1945 Star-tn

Pacific Star

War Medal

1939-1945 Star



Neal Argust - Nephew

Suez Maru

Commonwealth War Grave Commission

KEW Files:- WO 392/23, WO 345/2, WO 361/1516, WO 361/1222, WO 361/1222, WO 361/1945,


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