To honour those who served their country

“In this their finest hour”

East Surrey-tn



Frederick Thomas Craig


1920/02/03 - Born London

Son of George and Lily Craig

East Surrey Regiment

2nd Battalion

Southern Area



In September 1939, the 1st Battalion was in India and remained there until February 1941 when it was moved to Penang. In May it moved to stationed at Sungei Patani, Malaya. When Japan entered the war attacking Malaya, the 1st Battalion was position at Jitra.


By the 11th of December the battalion was confronted by the Japanese commanded by Saeki who decided to attack the troops at Jitra during the night of the 11th and in doing so suffered heavy losses by the allied positioning of their machine guns. Saeki then decided to throw everything he had at the centre of the British defences and succeeded in driving a deep wedge into their positions before he came up against the Leicesters and the 2/2nd Gurkhas who stopped the Japanese attack, the 2nd East Surreys then counterattacked to help the Leicesters. By the 12th December Major-general Kawamura commanding the 9th Infantry arrived at Jitra and sent his 41st Regiment down the eastern side of the main road and the 40th Regiment down the western side to assist Saeki who was still being held by the Leicesters. Murray-Lyons ordered the Leicesters to withdraw behind a stream called the Sungei Jitra, the Leicesters had fought bravely and their good positions were argued but they had to obey the order.

At a meeting just south of Gurun on the 14th December, Murray-Lyon told General Heath that his troops were not in condition to withstand another retreat but if they had to a strong defensive position should be chosen  and a concentrated defines should be planned, with transportation for his troops. General Heath agreed that the 11th Division should hold Gurun and the 12th Brigade would hold the Japanese to the east at Kroh and Grik. After a conversation on the phone that night with Percival, Heath got his way and it was agreed that the 11th would retreat a further sixty mile to a defensive position beyond the Perak River delaying the Japanese as long as possible so Penang could be evacuated.

That night the Japanese attacked in numbers and drove a gap in the Punjabi defences and reached the 2nd East Surrey headquarters and then the 6th Brigade headquarters, killing everyone there, when Murray-Lyon saw the damage he immediately ordered a seven mile withdrawal, but finding the numbers of troops left, sent more orders to withdraw behind the Muda River. The remaining troops had some luck as the Japanese had been hit hard as well and they did not follow up on the action giving the remains of the 11th Division time to fall back, giving the British time to evacuate Penang.

The British started evacuating on the 13th but the orders included only British born personnel and civilians, this caused a feeling of despair among the Asiatic population, and anger towards the British for leaving them to fend for themselves at a time when they wanted leadership.


On the 17th December the Kobayashi Battalion of the Japanese 5th Division landed on Penang from small boats and the island was theirs.

Fearing his troops would be cut off by the Japanese troops from Kroh, Percival tried to use the natural obstacle of the Perak River as a defines against the Japanese tanks.


The 2nd Battalion, East Surrey Regiment and 1st Battalion, Leicestershire Regiment were amalgamated to form the ‘British Battalion’ . The two battalions suffered had heavy losses and were amalgamated on 20th December 1941 as the ‘British Battalion’ under the command of Lieut. Col. C.E. Morrison, D.S.O., M.C., of The Royal Leicestershire Regiment.

Yamashita read the situation well and on the 26th December the 4th Guards Regiment crossed the Perak River to the north of Kuala Kangsar through thick jungle and then headed south for Ipoh, trying to outflank the British, they would then proceed to Kuala Lumpur. The British front had now been joined by the 12th Indian Brigade and the badly cut up 6th Brigade had merged into the 15th Brigade, they had now retreated by the 31st December to a strong defensible sight at Kampar where the artillery for once had a clear sighting of the ground between them and the advancing Japanese.

1942/01/01 - Frederick was captured


Japanese PoW

1942/01/01 - Captured

PoW No. I 2177

Japanese Index Card - Side One


Japanese Index Card - Side Two


1943/04/29 - Transported overland with ‘F’ Force, train 12 to Thailand

Southern Area

75th Train to Thailand

The route in cattle trucks to Thailand:-

Day 1 - Kuala Lumpur (0300 hrs), had rice and dried fish at Ipoh (1600 hrs)

Day 3 - Reached Pai (0200 hrs), arrived Haadyi (1700 hrs)

Day 4 - Water in cattle trucks very short, heat stifling in trucks all day..

Day 5 - reached Ban Pong

The PoWs were ordered off the Cattle trucks on arrival and after a walk of nearly a mile to a transit camp where they were then informed they would be marching North West  along the railway route in 14 mile stages. Many of the PoWs tried to sell their possessions to the Thais but not at a good price as the Thais knew the the PoWs from ‘F’ Force were already in bad shape and could not carry their baggage for long.

 After two days of walking through the night, as it was too hot in the daylight sun, they reached the small town of Kanchanaburi. Many who tried to carry their possessions left them at this staging camp.

Walking at night caused many problems as the track was uneven with bamboo shots cutting into their feet, in time tropical ulcers would form.

 Reached Kami Songkurai, many of the PoWs had dropped out along the route

Kami Songkurai, in Roll at Camp 1

New PoW No. IV 3354

Transported to Kanchanaburi ‘F’ and ‘H’ Force Hospital



Age 30


Cause of death Beri Beri

Buried Grave 399, No. 2 Cemetery

Kanchanaburi Hospital

After the war the bodies were reburied in Commonwealth War Graves


Loved Ones

Son of Lily Elizabeth Craig, of Collier's Wood, Surrey




2. C. 16.

Craig-Frederick-Kanchanaburi War Cemetery Site Plan

Kanchanaburi War Cemetery




1939-1945 Star-tn

Pacific Star

War Medal

1939-1945 Star





Japanese Transports

Thailand-Burma Railway

Commonwealth War Grave Commission

KEW Files:- WO 345/12, WO 367/2, WO 361/1946, WO 392/23, WO 361/2058, WO 361/2200, WO 361/2234, WO 361/2201, WO 361/2025,


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