To honour those who served their country

“In this their finest hour”

Royal Artillery-tn



Samuel Kennedy

Full name - Frederick Arthur Samuel Kennedy


1916/10/08 - Born Ayrshire, Scotland

Son of Robert and Isobel Kennedy

Occupation Labourer

Royal Artillery

88 Field Regiment

18th Division



1941/10/30 - Left Liverpool for Halifax in Convoy CT.5.

1941/11/08 - At Halifax transferred to American liners

1941/11/10 - Left Halifax with Convoy William Sail 12X, destination unknown, believed to be Middle East.

Convoy William Sail 12x

Above Photo of Convoy William Sail 12X supplied by the late Maurice Rooney

Vought SB 2U Vindicator Scout Bomber - USS Ranger which was flying an Anti Submarine patrol over the convoy.

Front Line Top to Bottom:-

USS West Point - USS Mount Vernon - USS Wakefield - USS Quincy (Heavy Cruiser)

Back Row Top To Bottom:-

USAT Leonard Wood - USS Vincennes (Heavy Cruiser) - USS Joseph T Dickman

(USS Orizaba Ap-24 also sailed with Convoy though not pictured in photo)

1941/12/08 - Japan entered war by bombing Pearl Harbour and invading Malaya

18th Division diverted from Middle East and sent to Singapore

1942/02/15 - Singapore surrendered to Japanese


1942/04/14 - WO 417/41, Casualty List No. 797. Reported ‘Missing’.

1943/06/ - WO 417/62, Casualty List No.1158. Previously shown on Casualty List No.797 as Missing, 15/02/1942. Now reported a ‘Prisoner of War’.


Japanese PoW

PoW No. IV 1145

Japanese Index Card - Side One


Japanese Index Card - Side Two


1942/10/ - Transported overland to Thailand

In roll of Group 4. 10 (C) Bn


New PoW No. IV 3644


Thailand Camps:-

Tonchan, 138km from Nong Pladuk

Chungkai, 60km from Nong Pladuk


1944 - Transported back to Singapore

New PoW No. IV 42972


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.

Samuel was lost, presumed drowned, in the sinking of the Rakuyo Maru.


1944/12/11 - WO417/86.1, Casualty List No. 1626. Casualty List No. 1158. Previously reported Prisoner of War in Japanese Hands Malaya. Reported ‘Missing at Sea’.

1945/12/31 - WO417/100, Casualty List No. 1947. Previously reported on Casualty List No. 1626 as Missing whilst Prisoner of War 12/09/1944. Presumed Killed in Action whilst Prisoner of War



Age 27


Lost in the sinking of the Rakuyo Maru






1939-1945 Star-tn

Pacific Star

War Medal

1939-1945 Star


Loved Ones

Son of Robert and Isabella Kennedy, of Irvine, Ayrshire.



Singapore memorial - Addenda Panel

Column 22.

Singapore Memorial



Alexander Wilson - Nephew

Andrew Snow - Thailand Burma Railway Centre

Convoy William Sail 12X

Japanese Transports

Thailand Burma Railway

Hell Ships - Rakuyo Maru

Commonwealth War Grave Commission

‘Life on the Railway’ by Stuart Young

KEW Files:- WO 392/25, WO 345/29, WO 361/2061, WO 361/2186, WO 361/734, WO 361/1987, WO 361/733, WO 361/1742, WO 361/734, WO 361/2005,


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




Keeping The Candle Burning


Fepow Family

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


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