Stanley John Day
1916/03/20 - Born Roxwell, Near Chelmsford, Essex
Son of Frederick and Frances Susan Day
1941/10/30 - The 18th Division made ready at Liverpool to embark in Convoy CT.5
The 4th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment sailed on the Andes, destination unknown.
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.
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.
1942/02/15 - Singapore surrendered
PoW No. 1647
1942/02/15 - Captured Singapore
Japanese Index Card - Side One
Japanese Index Card - Side Two
No. 4 Group Thailand
1942/10/31 - Transported overland to Thailand in Letter Party ‘R’ with 650 PoWs in Work Group 4
Commander Lt-Col. Alec Albert Johnson
New PoW No. 2062
1942 November - Tochan
1943 May - Hintok
1943 August to November - Upper Konkoita
Work included Bridge Building
1944 - Transported back to Singapore
1944/09/04 - Convoy HI-72 sailed from Singapore. Two of these ships, Rakuyo Maru and the Kachidoki Maru carried PoWs. The Rakuyo Maru carried 1317 Pows and the Kachidoki Maru a further 900.
The Yakuto Maru is also known as Rokyo Maru or Rokyu Maru, (9,418 tons, built 1921).
The Rakuyo Maru was part of Japan Party 3, the ship sailed with 1318 POW’s, consisting of 600 British, 718 Australian and a few Americans, all coming from the Thailand-Birma Rrailway.
The holds of the Rakuyo Maru also contained bauxite and the ash of Japanese soldiers. The transport took place in convoy of 13 ships, among others the POW ships AsakaMaru, Kachidoka Maru, Shincho Maru.
1944/09/11 - Joined another convoy from Manila.
1944/09/12 - At 2:00 am the convoy was attacked near Haanan Island by the submarine US Growler and an escort ship was sunk.
The PoW’s were kept in their hold.
At 5:30 am the convoy was attacked again, by submarine US Sealion torpedoed a tanker, a freighter and the Rakuyo Maru. The tanker and freighter sank but Rakuyo Maru did not sink with one torpedo in the fore and one in the engine room (mid-ship). The PoW’s left their holds and some jumped over the side into the sea, but the Japanese, who had evacuated the ship took the life boats.
At 6:15 am the US Growler attacked the convoy again at Lat 18.0 N Lon 114.0E, a frigate was hit, depth-bombs were jumped in the water, nearby the drowning men of the Rakuyo Maru.
At 7:10 am the Rakuyo Maru was still afloat, some of the oil soaked PoWs who had jumped over the side returned to the ship.
At 5:30 pm the ship was near sinking and all the PoW’s left the ship. Two frigates and a freighter saved only the Japanese, the PoW’s were left behind with only two lifeboats between them, the Duncan-group (136 men) and the Varley-group.
1944/09/14 - The Duncan-group were rescued by a Japanese ship but the Varley-group had disappeared. The Duncan-group were taken to Hainan Island.
1944/09/15 - 5:00 pm the submarine US Pampanito arrived at the site of the sinking looking for more Japanese ships and found the survivors in the water clinging to wreckage, they save 63 PoWs. Relaying a message, the US Sealion saved another 44 POW’s, but there were many more left in the sea.
The 136 who were saved by the Japanese arrived at Hainan Island together with about 360 survivors of the Kachidoka Maru which was also sunk. They were transported to Japan in the Kibitsu Maru accompanied by the Asaka Maru and Sincho Maru.
1944/09/17 - At 5:30 pm the US submarines US Barb and US Queenfish saved another 32 men.
1944/09/18 - The weather was bad and no more PoWs were found.
1944/09/20 - US Sealion and US Pampanito arrived at Saipon with 127 survivors, 5 deaths had occurred.
1944/09/21 - US Barb and US Queenfish arrived in Saipan with 32 survivors, 2 deaths had occurred.
It is estimated that 1159 PoWs died with the sinking of the Rakuyo Maru
Cause of Death - the sinking of the Rakuyo Maru
Son of Frederick and Francis Susan Day
Husband of Marjorie Mabel Day, of Good Easter, Essex
Convoy William Sail 12X
My Home Town
Kew:- WO 361/1742, WO 361/2057, WO 345/14, WO 392/23, WO 361/2169, WO 361/733, WO 361/1623, WO 361/2059, WO 361/1987, WO 361/734, WO 361/2176,