To honour those who served their country

“In this their finest hour”



Yeoman of Signals

William Thomas Phillips


Royal Navy Unit

H.M.S. Exeter


Japanese POW

Shipped to Fukaoka No 2 Camp, Japan



Dear Madam,

In confirmation of the telegram sent to you, I am pleased to inform you that your son, William Thomas Phillips, Yeoman of Signals, D/JX.140180, has been reported by the International Red Cross Society to be a prisoner of war in the Fukuoka Camp, Japan.

I would suggest that you either write to the Secretary, British Red Cross Society, Prisoners of War Department, St James’s Palace, London, S.W.1., or apply to your nearest Red Cross branch in your locality to assertain how you can correspond with him.

I assure you that should any further information be received in tis department concerning the welfare of your Son you would be informed immediatly. Please accept my congratulations on your Son’s safety.

          Yours faithfully

          Drafting Commander

          for Commodore




Ref: DNA 3/CDD4722

            Admiralty Bath

            21 FEB 1944


This is to Certify that

According to Admiralty Records

William Thomas Phillips,

Yeoman of Signals

Official No: D/JX140180 Royal Navy

Died on 29th January 1943 - Cranium Fracture whilst a prisoner of war in Japan.


        Director of Navy Accounts






Photo taken looking into bright sunlight Dec 42 in Dutch uniform. Taken from Japanese records after the war


            29, Amersham Road

              High Wycombe



Dear Mrs Phillips

It is my sad duty to tell you all I know of the last days of your son William Thomas Phillips, Yeoman of Signals, R.N. D/JX140180.

After H.M.S. Exeter sank in the battle of the Java Sea, 1st March 1942, your son was picked up by a Japanese destroyer after being in the water (unwounded) three and a half hours. The next day he was transferred to a captured Dutch hospital ship ‘Op Ten Noort, which made a slow voyage to Makassar, Celebes, where your son was kept in a prisoner of war camp, 10th March 1942 until early in October 1942 when he was transferred by ship to Nagasaki, Japan.

Conditions in Makassar were poor for the first month but improved later and the conditions of the journey to Japan were very good compared with many such voyages. Your son arrived at a new P.O.W. camp on a small island in Nagasaki Bay (called Fukouka No 2 P.O.W. camp) on 24th October 1942.

Conditions in the camp were poor during the winter of 1942-3 but your son remained healthy except for some impetigo of the face which was not very serious.

He was cheerful and well and as happy as the circumstances permitted.

His particular friends were S.B.A.P.O. Wilsmore and C.P.O. Riggs, who may have written to you.

Your son worked in the ship building yards on the little island and on 29th March 1943 while crossing a hold the plank on which he was walking broke and he fell, fracturing his skull. He was unconscious immediately and died soon afterwards, 10.00am 29-3-43 without regaining consciousness.

A church of England service was held in camp in the evening and next day 20-3-43 a funeral party under command of Lieut. W.G. Jenkins R.N.V.R. took the coffin to Nagasaki where cremation was carried out. Yeo/Sig Bishop R.N. was present. The ashes in a glazed jar, in a clearly labelled wooden casket, were left in the Roman Catholic Church OURA, Nagasaki, after the war the Imperial War Graves Commission will look after them I expect.

William wrote the following letter 10th March 1942 but as it had not camp it was not sent after his death.

‘My Dearest Mother, I am interned in Japan and in good health. I trust that you are all well. Send photo of family. Do not worry. Hope we may be together again very soon. Please inform Miss F. Davidoor, 48, Seafield Road, Dundee. Fondest love to all’

The typewritten card had not been signed.

I was the only British medical officer in the camp, 72 men died there and the camp usually held about 1200. I hope this letter may help to put your mind at rest. Yours sincerely

                      Dr Cyrel  Curght R.N.V.R.

                      Ex H.M.S. Encounter




Brit. Sec. G. D. 1.



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