To honour those who served their country

“In this their finest hour”

Royal Engineers-tn



William Turkentine


1913/02/04 - Born Cambridge

1913/04/13 - Baptised St Luke (Chesterton)

Son of Arthur Crisp and Ester (nee Howard) Turkentine

(Father was a blacksmith)

William’s Occupation French Cellulose Worker

1938 - Married Elsie S. Sharpe in Cambridge

1939/04/01 - Enlisted

Next of Kin, Wife, 120 Fallowfields, Chesterton, Cambridgeshire

Royal Engineers

287 Field Company

18th Division





USS Mount Vernon-2

1941/11/08 - Transferred to USS Mount Vernon at Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Contained the 53 Infantry Brigade. 18th Division sailed from Halifax in Convoy William Sail 12X

1941/10/30 - Left Liverpool for Halifax in Convoy CT.5.

1941/11/08 - At Halifax transferred to American liners

1941/11/10 - Left Halifax with Convoy William Sail 12X, destination unknown, believed to be Middle East.

Convoy William Sail 12x

Above Photo of Convoy William Sail 12X supplied by the late Maurice Rooney

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

(USS Orizaba Ap-24 also sailed with Convoy though not pictured in photo)

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

After a brief visit to Trinidad to refuel, Cape Town was reached on December 9th. Shore leave was granted before sailing on the 13th December for Bombay only to be then ordered on the 23rd to sail for Mombassa and then finally Singapore. She was escorted by the H.M.S. Emerald in convoy DM.1.



1942/01/13 - Arrived Singapore Harbour, disembarked in heavy rain and moved to Tyersall Park Camp by truck.

1942/02/15 - Singapore surrendered to Japanese


1942/04/06 - WO 417/41, Casualty List No. 790. Reported ‘Missing’.

1943/06/16 - WO 417/62, Casualty List No. 1162. Previously shown on Casualty List No. 790 as Missing, 15/02/1942. Now reported a ‘Prisoner of War’.


Japanese PoW

1942/02/15 - Captured Singapore


Commander Col. Craven

Japanese Index Card - Side One


Japanese Index Card - Side Two


1943/09/ - Selarang

Commander Lt-Col. Collins

1944/05/ - Kranji

Commander Lt-Col. Collins

New PoW No. 101730

1945/11/02 - Liberated Singapore

General Seishiro Itagaki, Japanese Commander of Singapore, would not accept the surrender. Plus it gave him time to cover up all Japanese Atrocities in Singapore. The allied naval landing force 'Operation Tiderace' were delayed as it was still understood the Japanese would dispose of all the PoWs in Singapore if they landed. Mountbatten ordered British paratroopers into Singapore to protect the camps. To many of the PoWs in Singapore, those red berets of the paratroopers were the first signs that the war had ended. All this delayed organising the PoWs. It wasn't till the 12th September that Lord Mountbatten accepted the Japanese surrender at the Municipal Building. Hospital cases were the first to leave Singapore 1945/09/10 on the HMHS Koroa. They were soon followed by Repatriation ships which started reaching the UK about the 15th of October 1945. Why many of the liberated PoWs on these ships had November on their Japanese Index cards, I don't know as in other areas of the Far East, PoWs were marked as Liberated at their PoW camps with the correct date. Unless General Seishiro Itagaki did not make the cards available when the camps were liberated.

Liberation Questionnaire


1945/12/12 - WO417/100, Casualty List No. 1934. Previously shown on Casualty List No. 1162 as reported Prisoner of War now Not Prisoner of War. Previous Theatre of War, Malaya.




1939-1945 Star-tn

Pacific Star

War Medal

1939-1945 Star


Letter to MP for Cambridgeshire

7th February 1944


                      120, Fallowfield,


                            7th February 1944

Captain R.G. Bristowe, M.C., LL.D.,

The Hall


Dear Sir,

            The wives, mothers and sweethearts of the Prisoners of War in the far East protest against the statement recently made in the House by Anthony Eden on the subject of the all-treatment of British and Colonial Prisoners of War in Japanese hands.

           Why was such a statement made?  Made after many months of anxious waiting on the part of us women for news of our dear ones. How are we expected to feel after reading such a statement; and how are we expected to keep working and helping with the war effort when nothing apparently is being done or has been done to help our boys in distress?

          We know and have been told hundreds of time that the war with Germany must be finished first, but surely something can be done to Japan to make them treat our dear ones properly. If not then why don’t we set about them and liberate our boys; not let them stay there and die, even worse than dogs. Surely our Government has some feeling for them.

         What we, the relatives, want to know is why our boys were sent on to Singapore at such a time when the Authorities must have known that the Japs were already overrunning the Base and its surrounding country?

         We think we have been patient long enough and it is time something was done about it. Se we are writing to you, as our Member of Parliament, who has great interest in the Cambridgeshires and all the other men from Cambridge and the surrounding districts who are Prisoners of War in the Far East, to see if you will ask our Government to help our boys before it is too late


      Thanking you in anticipation,

                                  Yours faithfully,




Post War

Poem written by William




16th September 1997



Patricia Curry

Convoy William Sail 12X

Liberation Questionnaire

KEW Files:- WO 367/3, WO 392/26, WO 345/52, WO 361/2064, WO 361/2191,


''Our Thanks are for being a Chapter in Life.''




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