Royal Army Service Corps
Secondary Regiment: Royal Artillery
Secondary Unit Text: attd. 48 Lt. A.A. Regt.
29th November 1943
When the Suez Maru was sunk by U.S. submarine Bonefish
Son of Elizabeth Thorpe, of Atherton, Lancashire
Albert was Bill's best friend,he was the son of Elizabeth Thorpe and lived on Gloucester street Atherton.They joined the army together,they attended school together,two lads from Lancashire looking for a bit of excitment. When war broke out they were sent to different units and didn't see each other again. Bill was on a short leave home and went to see Albert's mam Lizzie, she told Bill that Albert was taken prisoner but she didnt know where he was. Now Bill being the man he was made it his business to find out once he was back out East. Two months later our Bill did find out that Albert was in a camp at Ambon.The Japs started to move the prisoners out and onto the 'hell ships'. Albert was put aboard the 'Suez Maru'. He was ill and starving and being taken to Java to be part of a slave force. At 8am on November 29th 1943 the U.S. submarine Bonefish fired 4 torpedoes at the 'Suez Maru'. The boat was hit and started to sink. By 9-40 am the boat had sunk. 250 P.O.Ws were in the water clinging to rafts and bits of wood. At 14-00 hrs the minesweeper W12 came back to pick up Japanese and Korean survivors. The captain was a man called Kawano and he gave the order to shoot all allied survivors. Some POWs actually stood up on the rafts so that the Japs could shoot them as they knew what their fate would be. The minesweeper W12 had a machine gun mounted and the crew were all armed, they started to fire and didnt stop until the sea turned red.
Only 1 man survived out of 250.
The truth never came out until 1949
After the war crime trials of the Japanese no further action was taken against Captain Kawano.
It was Japanese practice to put the red cross on their ammunition ships not the ships carrying POWs.
May you rest in peace always
And when he got to heaven, St Peter he did tell, "just another soldier sir, I've done my time in hell"