To honour those who served their country

“In this their finest hour”

Royal Artillery-tn



Thomas Patrick Houghton


1911/05/20 - Born Kildare, Ireland

Son of Elizabeth Houghton



1940/10/19 - Enlisted

Next of kin - Wife, Kathleen Houghton, Southdean Road, Knotty Ash, Liverpool

Royal Artillery

5 Search Light Regiment

14th Battery


Thomas pictured on the right with a mate.



Thomas was a very good amateur football player and played for a wealthy business man’s team in Singapore before it fell to the Japanese.


1942/02/15 - Singapore surrendered to the Japanese


1942/03/19 - WO 417/40, Casualty List No. 775. Reported ‘Missing’.

1942/10/07 - WO 417/52, Casualty List No. 948. (Previously shown on Casualty List No. 775 as Missing, 15/02/1942). Now reported a ‘Prisoner of War’


Japanese PoW

1942/02/15 - Captured Singapore

Changi Camp

PoW No. 676

Commander Major Peacock

Japanese Index Card - Side One


Japanese Index Card - Side Two


Nissyo Maru

1942/04/04 - Transported overseas in Nissyo Maru to Saigon, French Indo-China

With 1125 PoWs

Commander Lt-Col. Frances Edgar Hugonin, 3 H.A.A., Royal Artillery

This was the first PoW transport from Singapore

Nissyo Maru

1942/04/09 - Arrive Saigon

On arrival half of the PoWs had dysentery, which had made the journey in the holds very unpleasant.

New PoW No. IV 13412

100 were sent to Hanoi to build an air strip and the rest were used to on and off load cargo from the ships in Saigon Harbour.

Saigon Camp 10-tn

Escapes:- Baxter & Cassidy. Strong rumours in the camp that they were captured after 36 hours of freedom, brought back to Saigon and executed.


1943/06/22 - Transported overland to Thailand with 700 PoWs under Lt-Col. Hugonin

Steamer from Saigon to Mekong River, where they were barged across to Phnom Penh. There followed a very long 400 mile train journey to Bangkok.

Saigon Battalion to Thailand

1943/07/27 - No. 2 Jungle camp Kinsaiyok

(159km from Nong Pladuk)

PoW No. IV 13412

Camp Commander Lt. Col. Lilley

(Camp Leader Lt-Col. Hugonin)

Lt-Col. Hugonin protested to the Japanese about the shortage of food. They threatened to shoot him if he protested again but he stood firm. He was well respected by the men under him.

 1943/07/26 - Tha Sao


1943/10/17 - Railway lines from Burma to Thailand joined near Konkoita

1944/01/06 - Nakhon Pathom

1944/05 - Tha Muang Hospital (two records)

Commander Col. Sainter


 1944/07/14 - Transported to River Valley Camp, Singapore

Commander Major Seking

Thailand to Singapore

River Valley, Singapore

New PoW No. 5954

 Commander Col. Sainter



Rakuyo Maru

1944/09/04 - Oversea in Japan Party 3 to Japan via East Hainon Island. The Japan Party consisted of 2,250 prisoners, 1,500 were British the remainder Australian, the number who actually sailed with the convoy was 2,217. The Rakuyo Maru held 1317 PoWs and the Kachidoki Maru a further 900 (all British). The two ships joined convoy HI-72 and sailed from Singapore.

The Rakuyo Maru was built by Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Company in Nagasaki. It was 477 feet overall length with a displacement of 9,500 tons. The ship was equipped with 12 lifeboats, most of these being on the boat deck in the amidships passenger area, the remainder were on the raised stern or poop deck. The ship was painted battle grey and flew the merchant marine flag, which was a red ball in the centre of a white field. It had no red cross markings.

1942/09/12 - The convoy was attacked by US submarines:- USS Growler, USS Pampanito and USS Sealion near the East Hainon Islands. Both the PoW hell ships were  hit. The Rakuyo Maru was the first to be hit by a torpedo from the US submarine Sealion, the Kachidoki Maru was hit by USS Pampanito.

USS Sealion

USS Sealion

Three steam torpedoes were fired at the Rakuyo Maru at 5.25pm, the target was 1,100yards  away, all three hit. The torpedoes struck ten seconds apart, two hitting below the waterline the other exploded into the engine room.

The explosions did not kill any prisoners but the water that covered the deck to a depth of over 6 feet flattened anyone in its way, also making its way into the holds where the prisoners were. The prisoners soon organised the evacuation of the holds and looked for anything that would float, the Japanese taking ten of the twelve lifeboats, abandoned ship. The Japanese that didn’t escape found the prisoners not too sensitive to their pleas of help.

136 PoWs from the Rakuyo Maru were saved by the Japanese and arrived at Hainan Island together with about 360 survivors of the Kachidoka Maru which had also sank. They were transported to Japan in the Kibitsu Maru accompanied by the Asaka Maru and Sincho Maru.

1944/09/15 - The three American submarines returned to the area of their attack on the HI-72 convoy and rescued 149 surviving POWs who were on rafts, some in a very bad condition.

Thomas was amongst those saved by the Japanese.

In Japan taken to Tokyo 22B

New PoW No. 3156

The men were used to load and unload trains and ships with military equipment.

1945/04/14 - Jurastriction and name changed to Sendai 9B

1945/08/15 - On Sendai 9B Sakata roll

1945/09/14 - Camp Liberated

Liberation Questionnaire


1946/01/26 - WO417/101, Casualty List No.1970. Previously shown on Casualty List No.948 as Prisoner of War - Malaya. Now reported ‘Not Prisoner of War’.




Thomas was taken to a New Zealand Hospital after liberation.

 The photo above was supplied by a FEPOW Family member of those in the hospital. Thomas is standing behind, and to the left of the nurse standing on the far right.




1939-1945 Star-tn

Pacific Star

War Medal

1939-1945 Star







Andy Houghton - Grandson

Andrew Snow - Thailand Burma Railway Centre

Thailand-Burma Railway

Hell Ships - Rakuyo Maru

Japanese Homeland Sites - Sendai 9B Sakata

Roger Mansell Site - Sendai 9B

Liberation Questionnaire - COFEPOW

KEW Files:- WO 361/1742, WO 361/1970, WO 361/734, WO 361/1983, WO 361/2169, WO 345/26, WO 361/2005, WO 361/2185, WO 361/2068, WO 392/24,


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




Keeping The Candle Burning


Fepow Family

In Memory of FEPOW Family Loved Ones
Designed and Maintained by Ron Taylor.


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