The 9th Battalion, Royal Northumberland Fusiliers were formed in 1939 as an offshoot of the 7th Battalion. In August of that year they were amalgamated into the 18th Division and transported to Norfolk, defending the coast between Wells-on-Sea and Great Yarmouth.
In January 1941 they moved to the Scottish Boarders for training with their HQ at Bowhill House.
1941/10/30 - Equipped for Middle East the 9th Royal Northumberland Fusiliers left Liverpool in the Warwick Castle, Convoy CT.5.
1941/11/08 - Arrived Halifax and after much debate amongst the troop at Halifax the 9th Battalion eventually boarded the USS. Orizaba, which was not a luxurious ship.
1941/11/10 - The 18th Division left Halifax in Convoy William Sail 12X and was escorted by the US Navy.
Convoy Willam Sail 12X
(USS Ranger was flying on antisubmarine patrol for the convoy)
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, the convoy left after two days of taking on supplies. On 24th the equator was crossed and there was a crossing the line ceremony.
1941/12/02 - USS Orizaba was refuelled at sea
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.
Japan had entered the war by attacking Malaya on 8th December 1941, destination was now the Far East.
1941/12/13 - The convoy left Cape Town and sailed along the coast of East Africa past Madagascar and arrived Mombassa where the troops disembarked and trained with route marches.
From Mombassa they changed ships to the West Point across the Indian Ocean heading for Bombay.
1941/12/27 - After 17,011 miles at sea Bombay was reached and the troops disembarked for training.
1942/01/22 - Embarked Felix Rousell and 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.
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
1942/02/05 - The Convoy reached the safety of Keppel Harbour, Singapore. 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 City.
1942/02/15 - Singapore surrendered to the Japanese
1942/04/16 - WO 417/41, Casualty List No. 799. Missing
1943/07/28 - WO 417/64, Casualty List No. 1198. Previously reported Missing on Casualty List No. 799, 15/02/1942 now reported Prisoner of War.
1942/02/15 - Captured Singapore
PoW No. II 7961
Japanese PoW Card - Side One
Japanese PoW Card - Side Two
1942/11/07 - Transported overland to Thailand, train 30, ‘GW Party’
New PoW No. II 13368
1943/02/29 - Escaped from Tha Kilen Camp
1943/03/22 - Brought back into Camp
1943/03/23 - Killed by Japanese, Shot with three other PoW escapees
Tha Kilen Camp
Shot by Japanese
Son of Foster and Gertrude Reay; husband of Lily Reay, of Ashington, Northumberland
8. K. 31.
KANCHANABURI WAR CEMETERY
KEW:- WO 361/2172, WO 392/26, WO 361/1623, WO 361/2167, WO 361/1116, WO 361/2178,
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