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I think this is more common than you would think. About 8 years ago, I was chatting with one of my Cpls (it was a quiet night shift). He said his grandfather had been killed in the Second war. He was a POW of the Japanese and whilst being transported by ship, it was sunk and "he had no known grave". My Cpl was certain that he was not recorded on any memorial either. I was sure this was wrong so did a quick search on the CWGC site. I found that not only was he recorded but his body was recovered and he is buried in a CWGC cemetery. I showed this to my Cpl who said he wished he had found this out a couple of years earlier, before his grandmother had died, so she could have known.
It's surprising what can still be discovered. My wife's great uncle (WAG 100 Sqn) was captured at the fall of Singapore and eventually lost at sea when the Japanese transport was torpedoed by a USN submarine. (the ship itself had been captured by the Japs in late 1941). Through PPRuNe, National Archives, libraries and the internet, I managed to piece together a huge amount of peviously unconnected material about his flying, capture, internment and, ultimately, his death. Moreover the USN submarine is still around, in San Francisco and the trustees provided me copies of the boat's log and copies of their chart traces. Additionally, they provided photos of the recovery of many allied POWs who survived the unfortuantely attack.
PS I can't see to get the link (OP) to open.
Last edited by Whenurhappy; 18th Jun 2012 at 12:46.
Think the sub to which you refer is in San Diego? Near the USS Midway. Both of which I highly recommend you visit if you happen to be in the area. If it is a different sub, I apologise. The San Diego one also has similar history.
Imagine what the POW's had gone through....then sunk and left adrift in the middle of the Pacific.....to then see a Submarie surface....not knowing if it was friend or foe....knowing the outcome of it being Japanese.
Then to realize it was an American Sub.....
God knows it must have been heart breaking for the sub crews knowing they had sunk a POW ship even if they did not know at the time there were POW's aboard.
One's heart has to go out to all of those Men....POW's and Sub Sailors!
A few years ago now, the British Government announced a 10,000-00 pound award to former prisoners of war of the Japanese, matched here in NZ by the NZ Government. I was approached by a former merchant seaman whom I had known for some years and had never heard him mention the fact that he had spent three years working as a POW in Japan, but wanted advice on how to make a claim.All NZ ships at that time were considered British, so he qualified for the UK payment rather than that from NZ, so I did all the homework and obtained the correct paperwork from the British High Commission in Wellington, and within a matter of days he had his 10,000-00 in the bank.
He then asked if I could help a fellow shipmate living in Auckland, so I repeated the exercise though he sadly died before the payment was made to his widow. I thought no more of it until some weeks later when I received a beautifully hand-written note from the 80-year-old widow and enclosing a $50-00 note "to buy yourself a beer".
If you think that's unlucky, have a read of "The Forgotten Highlander" by Alastair Urquhart who was taken prisoner by the Japanese after the fall of Singapore, survived several years as a PoW on the infamous Burma railway, was then torpedoed by a US sub whilst in a Japanese "Hellship" only to be picked up & taken to ..... Nagasaki (where he narrowly avoided a very big bomb)!