To honour those who served their country

“In this their finest hour”

Royal Engineers-tn



James Mead

Known as Jim

Mead-James -Jim and Agnes Wedding-tn

1912/09/12 - Born Haslingden, Lancashire

Son of Ernest and Margaret Mead

Husband of Agnes Mead

Occupation Concreter

Royal Engineers

288 Field Coy.



James was assigned to 288th  Field Company, Royal Engineers which were attached to 55th Brigade part of the 18th East Anglian Division of the British Army. In April 1941 the 18th Division was moved to Blackburn and underwent training until June. August 13th 18th Division went to Scotland where final route marches were carried out in Ross -on –Wye. Tropical kit was issued. Troops assumed that they were going to Egypt.

Sappers Training

The 18th Division left Britain in convoy CT.5, comprising:- Duchess of Athol, The Warwick Castle, Arcades, Reina-del Pacifico, Oronsay,  plus a Cruiser and 4 Destroyers as escort.

1941/10/30 - The convoy sailed from Liverpool.

1941/10/31 - The M.S. Sobieshi sailed from Gourock and joined the convoy. The convoy sailed to the North, passing within 100 miles of Iceland.

1941/11/02  - An American naval squadron, including two heavy and two light cruisers and destroyers and the air craft carrier Lexington took over as escort. The convoy now headed for Halifax, Nova Scotia.

1941/11/08 - Arrived Halifax where the 18th Division were transferred to American liners:- USS Wakefield (54 Brigade), USS Mount Vernon (53 Brigade) and USS West Point (55 Brigade). The West Point included the 288th Field Company, R.E., plus other ships carrying stores and transport. It was escorted by USS

1941/11/10 - The convoy now became Convoy William Sail 12x and sailed south.

Convoy William Sail 12x

Above Photo supplied by the late Maurice Rooney

Aircraft was a 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

Please Note - USS Orizaba Ap-24 also sailed with Convoy though not pictured in photo

1941/11/17 - Arrived Trinidad for refuelling, with no shore leave

1941/11/20 - Left Trinidad - Water rations were imposed, fresh water was available only during meal times. All the ships of the convoy received a proclamation concerning Thanksgiving Day. Holiday routine was observed by all the crews, all hands indulged in the traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings. Sailed past the coast of Venezuela.

1941/11/24 - Crossed the Equator with crossing the line ceremony.


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

1941/12/09 - Arrived Cape Town and shore leave was granted with a very good welcome from the citizens

1941/12/14 - Left Cape Town. The USS Mount Vernon with 53rd Brigade on board was diverted to Mombassa and then direct to Singapore arriving there on 13th January 1942 with convoy DM.1. The rest of the convoy became Task Force 14.2 and continued on to Bombay.

1941/12/27 - Arrived Bombay

Ballard Pier station, Bombay-1tn

1941/12/29 - The 54th and 55th Brigades landed at Bombay and travelled by train to Ahmednagar near Poona where they were involved in twelve days training, which were followed by route marches to acclimatisation to the heat.

1942/01/19 - Left Bombay - Convoy 14.2 sailed out into the Indian Ocean escorted by the cruiser HMS Exeter and HMS Glasgow plus destroyers, destination Singapore

1942/01/29 - Arrived Singapore - Arrived in an air raid with many buildings on fire, smoke hung over Keppel Harbour

Singapore was already under siege by the Japanese.


In the Battle for Singapore the 288th Field Company R.E. suffered 2 KIA in fighting on Singapore island. Company Sergeant Major (CSM) J. F. Sawyer of the 288th was awarded the Military Medal for his conduct while acting as second-in-command of his company.

1942/02/15 - Singapore surrendered to the Japanese


Japanese PoW

1942/02/15 - Captured Singapore

PoW No. M-415

River Valley Camp

Japanese Index Card - Side One


Japanese Index Card - Side Two


1941/10/27 - Left River Valley Camp for transportation overseas WP with 900 British PoWs, 500 from River Road and 400 from Tanjong Rhu.

Dainichi Maru

Transported in Dainichi Maru

1942/11/14 - Arrived Taiwan

New PoW No. II 2405

Boarded trains and transported to Taichu (which is in the centre of Taiwan). The journey took all night and early the next morning they were taken out to the site of the camp where there were about 300 POWs already there.

Work was mainly to divert the monsoon rain which flooded the river, it was heavy work as it involved shifting large boulders on the river bed.


1943/11 - Moved to Heito Camp

The work included deepening a river channel to drain neighbouring land so crops of sugar can could be planted.

The camp was closed in March 1945 after an American bombing raid on February 7th, killed 1 Japanese Guard, many Thai Guards and more than 20 PoWs, leaving about 80 PoWs injured.

1945/02 - Transported to Shirakawa

1943/2/27 - Transported to Moji, Japan in Taiko from Keeling with 700 PoWs.

The holds contained sugar and Japanese soldiers.

1943/03/05 - Arrived Moji, Japan

1945/03/6 - Arrived at Fukuoka 12D (Miyata Machi, Kurate Gun Fukuoka Ken)

New PoW No. 734

Work was coal mining

1945/08 - Renamed Fukouka 9B

1945/08/15 - Radio announcement by Emperor  that war is over.

Liberated Fukuoka Ken 9B, Japan

1945/08/16 - POWs receive more food than usual including Red Cross parcels

1945/08/19 - American plane seen dropping leaflets (over the town). Japanese Camp commander gives the POWs a slaughtered pig to cook. Japanese guards beg the prisoners to share the meat with them which the POWs refuse. Suddenly the POW officers are told to put their work clothes on and report for duty. This throws the prisoners into a state of confusion during which time the guards stole the pig (it was returned later with the best cuts missing. All prisoners are then told to report for work. Many are now convinced that the war has re started and become depressed

1945/08/20 - Bye this day there had been no sounds of air raid sirens since before 15th August and the POWs are finally convinced that the war is over. 

1945/08/29 - International Red Cross and Protective Powers representatives from Sweden and Switzerland visited the camp. They told the POWs that Allied forces were expected to land on 3rd September. They agreed to address the prisoners’ complaint that they hadn’t received air drops of supplies whilst other camps in the area received drops daily.

1945/08/30 - A B -29 drops supplies to the camp

1945/09/02 - The Japanese leave the camp and hand over control to the prisoners

1945/09/13 - 4 P-51 Mustangs arrive over the camp and treat the prisoners to a 30 minute display of aerobatics and low flying. One plane got so low that the draught knocked roof tiles off prison buildings.

1945/09/19 - Planned date for departure of the POWs. Departure delayed due to typhoon

1945/09/20 - Travel by train to Nagasaki where they pass through the area devastated by the A Bomb before arriving at the docks where they are met by the sound of the US Marines band playing. Given new uniforms and supplies, documented, and then taken by landing craft to board LST 795. The ship sails to Okinawa that evening

1945/09/22 - LST 795 arrives in Okinawa

1945/10/19 - Embarked on the troopship USS General Brewster. Sailed from Manila at 7:00 AM.

1945/11/03 - Docked at San Francisco. When they arrived in San Francisco there was a big air balloon with ‘WELCOME HOME BOYS’ written on it. At the arrival birth a brass band played music to welcome them. 

1945/11/09 - Taken by train to New York

Queen Mary

1945/11/13 - James left New York on the Queen Mary , Voyage No: 56E with 4,540 passengers and 836 crew and sailed to Southampton

1945/11/18 - Arrived back in Britain over four years from leaving.


Mystery Solved

By Steve Merrill

10 centavos Japanese occupation money

I thought you might find the attached of interest. It is a scan of some Japanese occupation money from the Philippines. The connection is that when Jim arrived home in 1945 my Mum ( who was 7 at the time) went to meet him at the railway station and when he saw her he put his hand in his coat pocket and pulled out a wad of these notes and gave them to her. For years I have been wondering how he could have got hold of such money then I got lucky and found a reference on the internet that mentioned that staff at US Replacement camp No 5 in the Philippines (which Jim passed through) were handing out these notes as souvenirs to the ex-POWs. Mystery solved!



Steve Merrill

James Mead’s Army discharge Certificate

James Mead’s  POW record card from File WO345/35 kept in the Public Records Office

Convoy William Sail 12X

Japanese Transport

Never Forgotten

KEW:- WO 392/25, WO 345/35, WO 361/1968, WO 361/1254, WO 361/2062, WO 361/2068, WO 361/2191,


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