To honour those who served their country

“In this their finest hour”

Royal Engineers-tn



Frederick John Baxter

Known as John


1919/02/19 - Born London

Son of John Ronald and Ethel Maud Baxter

1942/03/21 - Enlisted

Royal Engineers

att. 77th HAA R.A.O.C.


Japanese PoW

1942/03/08 - Captured Garoet, Java

PoW No. 612

Japanese Index Card - Side One

Baxter-Frederick John-01

Japanese Index Card - Side Two

Baxter-Frederick John-02





Priok, Batavia

Col. Lane, 15th Punjab


Batavia Hospital

Capt. Smitt, N.E.I.


Gloduk, Batavia



Tjimahi, Java

Col. Roleofsen, N.E.I.


Transported to Singapore in Java Party 16, Harugiku Maru



Transported Singapore to Japan in Sieshin Maru



Kamo, Kyushu, Japan

Capt. Williams, R.A.


PoW No. 30328


John witnessed the Nagasaki atomic bombings from 40 miles away and describes feeling the scorched wind from the blast.

1945/09/02 - Liberated Japan


Post War


John developed a long-running friendship with Hyato Hirano after the guard showed unusual kindness by smuggling extra food rations made by his wife to the starving prisoners.

The men stayed in touch following his release in 1945, with numerous letters exchanged between the pair, culminating in John visiting the former guard in Japan in 1995 for an emotional VJ-Day anniversary reunion.

Their friendship continued until the death of Mr Hirano in 2009, shortly after he sent a 90th birthday card to his former prisoner from his hometown in southern Japan to the UK.

In 2010 John published a book describing his wartime experiences called ‘Missing, Believed Killed’, in which he describes in detail his time in captivity including his friendship with Mr Hirano.

John explained his friendship with Mr Hirano - "If someone in our gang was not feeling well, Hirano would tell him to go and rest by the warmth of the furnace that was kept going in the workshop, stay there until the end of the shift and be excused from work for the day.'



Age 97

February 2017

Much loved father of John, Vanessa and Michael, Grandad to Lizzie and Charlotte, Great Granddad to George. Sadly missed by family, friends

A funeral and celebration of his life was held at Holy Trinity, Trowbridge on Friday 10th March 2017


Inquest Into John’s Death

A Coroner wrote to Wiltshire Police following the conclusion of an inquest into the death of John, a former Japanese prisoner of war at a Westbury care home.

John, was found dead in a narrow alleyway between two courtyards at the Redland Lane home, which specialised in caring for people living with dementia.

Mr Rheinberg said an unfortunate set of circumstances had conspired to result in Mr Baxter’s tragic death at the home just six days short of his 98th birthday.

John had wandered outside in a confused state through an unlocked door, the care home was severely understaffed on the night he went missing, and two busy night duty staff had failed to make regular checks on all residents.



The Telegraph

Wiltshire Times

Java Index -

KEW:- WO 361/2217, WO 392/23, WO 361/1254, WO 345/4,


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




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