1916/08/11 - Born Berwick-on-Tweed
Son of George and Margaret
Royal Northumberland Fusiliers
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.
1941/12/13 - The convoy left Cape Town and sailed along the coast of East Africa past Madagascar and into the Indian Ocean heading for Bombay.
1941/12/27 - After 17,011 miles at sea Bombay was reached and the troops disembarked for training.
1942/01/17 - 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. Japan had entered the war by attacking Malaya on 8th December 1941, destination was the far East. The Prince of Wales and the Repulse had both been sunk by the Japanese off Malaya. Passing Colombo, (Ceylon), crossing the equator for the third time, the convoy passed through the Sundra Straits between Java and Samatra and then the Banka Straits. The convoy was then bombed by Jap Planes, there was no damage
1942/01/29 - The Convoy reached the safety of Keppel Harbour, Singapore on the 29th January 1942. 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.
1942/02/15 - Singapore surrendered to the Japanese
1942/04/16 - WO 417/41, Casualty List No. 799. Missing.
1943/08/02 - WO 417/65, Casualty List No. 1217. Previously posted Missing, 15/02/1942, Casualty List No. 799. Now reported a Prisoner of War.
1942/02/15 - Captured Singapore
PoW No. M-6679
Japanese Index Card 1 - Side One
Japanese Index Card 1 - Side Two
Japanese PoW Card 2 - Side One
Japanese Index Card 2 - Side Two
1942/03/11 - Transported overland to Thailand with ‘O’ Letter Party
26th Train from Singapore to Thailand
Work Group 4
Commander Lt-Col. F.I.N. McOstrich, R.C.O.S, 18th Division
New PoW No. IV 1334
1943/10/17 - Line from Burma met line from Thailand at Konkoita
New PoW No. IV 15534
Cause of Death Malaria, Quinine Convulsions
Place of Death Tha Soa (Camp 4), Thailand
Grave No. 460, No. 2 Cemetery, Tha Soa
After the war John was moved to a Commonwealth War Grave
1945/10/20 - WO417/98, Casualty List No. 1889. Previously shown on Casualty List No. 1217 as reported Prisoner of War. Previous Theatre of War, Malaya. Now reported Died.
Son of George and Margaret Tait, of Cornhill, Northumberland
John’s brother William is also buried at Kanchanaburi War Cemetery
4. D. 47.
Kanchanaburi War Cemetery
‘ASLEEP WITH JESUS’
Convoy William Sail 12X
Thailand Burma Railway
Commonwealth War Grave Commission
KEW Files:- WO 361/2172, WO 361/1531, WO 361/1529, WO 361/2053, WO 392/26, WO 345/50, WO 361/1956, WO 361/1955, WO 361/2169, WO 361/1987, WO 361/1623, WO 361/2235, WO 361/2064, WO 361/2179, WO 361/2069,