On This Day…

On the 29th November, the Suez Maru was sunk

The ‘Hell ship’ the Suez Maru was a Japanese passenger-cargo ship and on its final journey. It was being used to transport 414 British and 133 Dutch mostly-sick prisoners of war from Ambon in the Maluku Islands to Surabaya in East Java, also on board were 200 or so wounded and sick Japanese troops when it sunk in the Java Sea claiming the lives of 548 prisoners of war, including 17 Royal Signals soldiers.

On 28 November, the Suez Maru was sighted by the Unites States Navy submarine USS Bonefish. About half of the prisoners of war were drowned in the aft hold but the others managed to jump into the water. Several hours later after its attack on the Bonefish, the escort ship—minesweeper No.12—returned to the site of the sinking and its crew shot and killed all of the surviving prisoners of war in the water. After the war an extensive investigation was conducted but the suspension of the Japanese war crime trials prevented the perpetrators being brought to Justice.

Royal Signals soldiers killed

Amongst those who were killed were 17 Royal Signals soldiers, all but one of whom were from 77th Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment Royal Artillery Signal Section. All are commemorated on the Singapore Memorial and by the Suez Maru Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum. Today we remember them:

2323853 Driver William Arnold
2359179 Signalman Ronald Brooks
2578462 Corporal William Arthur Clarke
2357678 Signalman John James Digsby
2351273 Signalman Robert Edmondson
2366953 Signalman Alexander Frederick Fullarton
2370913 Driver Robert Henry Glover
2351640 Signalman George Hyde, 6th Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment Royal Artillery Signal Section
2367018 Signalman Ernest Jones
2370030 Signalman Cyril Lund
2346442 Lance Corporal Patrick Joseph McHugh
2326759 Signalman James McManus
5886739 Signalman Jack Mold
2354843 Driver Horace Oldfield
2366447 Signalman Hubert Morris Reynolds
2579558 Signalman Jimmy Ivor Griffen Sharpe
2352277 Lance Corporal Ewart Gladstone Waring

Photo: Suez Maru Memorial, National Memorial Arboretum (Photo: Imperial War Museum © Mark Newton 19.09.2017 (WMR-72922))

Roger So Far

The illustrated Corps Centenary book

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