View Full Version : RAF Singapore 1941

10th Nov 2012, 16:21
According to my father's (Pink) Form 543A, he disembarked in Singapore ex UK on the 7th November1941. The next entry has him in Dum Dum, Calcutta on the 25th April 1942 with 146 Squadron (probably Mowhawks / Curtiss P36).
I would dearly love to know which ship he was on from the UK and then how he got from Singapore to Calcutta. My father died in Dum Dum a month later according to Air Historical Branch of heat stroke. So far I haven't been able to get anything from Google.
Any help would be appreciated.

11th Nov 2012, 02:00
Slight thread drift, wasn't aware that RAF bases in Singapore were ever known as RAF Singapore, per se. RAF Seletar went back to 1928, and subsequently RAF Changi and RAF Tengah came into being. Note: all with their own private golf courses, as was the custom then.

11th Nov 2012, 03:47

The convoy WS11X/WS11AX arrived at Singapore on 6 November 1941. It had departed Colombo on or about 31 October 1941. It seems likely that your father's ship was part of this convoy. Unfortunately, I don't have a listing of what ships were included in it. The IWM might have some form of record.

However, even with a listing of those vessels, it could prove very difficult to place your father on one of them. Is there any form of movement order or draft number on any of the documentation that you have?

I obtained the information above from this link:

HMS Mauritius, British light cruiser, WW2 (http://www.naval-history.net/xGM-Chrono-06CL-Mauritius.htm)

Are you aware of which unit your father served with in Singapore? Without that starting point, it is difficult to answer how, and when, he might have got from Singapore to Calcutta

Hope that helps.

12th Nov 2012, 03:45
My ex Father-in-law spent some time at Kallang on flying boats, was that known as RAF Kallang?

12th Nov 2012, 07:10
Kallang was joint use; civil and RAF.

Interesting blog here:

Kallang – Airport, Aerodrome, RAF joyloh.com (http://joyloh.com/blog/?p=4184)

12th Nov 2012, 19:45
Messrs laurriebe, parabellum and alisoncc,

Many thanks for your responses:
Further to the above, I agree it's likely that he was in the convoy WS 11X from Colombo (excluding KINA II and plus RANGITIKI) escorted by the cruiser Maurittus, which sailed on 31.10 and arrived in Singapore 6.11.41. ELLENGA joined from Madras as an independent ship 1.11.
I also have a letter which was written on-board ship (10th Oct 1941) with APO 435 in the address; APO is Army Post Office. I assume the letter must have got back to the UK by the same unknown ship.
It's still a mystery how he got from Singapore to Calcutta; as a child I believe I was told that he was shot down in the Indian Ocean and was picked up by an Australia ship - which is all quite possible. As you know Singapore fell to the Japanese in March 1942.

Below a picture of the Burial Ceremony in Dum Dum May 1942 - according to the Air History Dept my father died from heatstroke; there is no mention of this in 146 Squadron daily record.
(http://www.flickr.com/photos/jxkspics/8179805480/)http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8343/8179805480_1c12cd1d70_z.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jxkspics/8179805480/)

http://www.pprune.org/&quot;<a href=http://www.flickr.com/photos/jxkspics/8179805480/&quot; target=_blank>http://www.flickr.com/photos/jxkspics/8179805480/&quot;</a> title=&quot;King 19 Dec001 by John Cee Kay, on Flickr&quot;><img src=&quot;<a href=http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8343/8179805480_1c12cd1d70.jpg&quot; target=_blank>http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8343/8179805480_1c12cd1d70.jpg&quot;</a> width=&quot;500&quot; height=&quot;370&quot; alt=&quot;King 19 Dec001&quot; http://www.pprune.org/<a href=http://www.flickr.com/photos/jxkspics/8179805480/ target=_blank>[img]http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8343/8179805480_1c12cd1d70_z.jpg

15th Nov 2012, 15:45
Would love to post an interview and photos of my Dad and colleague on their experiences of being shot down in Malaya in DEC 1941 by the Japs whilst on No.453 Sqn RAAF flying Brewster Buffalo's.
Unfortunately I can't see how to attach it to my reply in Prune.
Can anyone give me some tips as it is quite interesting and would be part of this thead?
Appreciate any help.


Should have added that my Dad was evacuated from Batavia (Jakarta) ( flew out from Singapore! ) via Colombo on the SS Kanimbla, I think, in MAR 1942. Will check.

15th Nov 2012, 16:23
Hello - look towards the top of this Forum and read ' Image Posting on PPrune' it takes a bit of time but you will get there in the end!

15th Nov 2012, 16:29
Thanks OAOQ.

16th Nov 2012, 15:51
Re Post 5, I thought Singapore surrendered in mid-February 1942 not March.

Ships were leaving Singapore in all directions until very close to the actual surrender date and thereafter others attempted to sneak past the Japanese blockade but many were attacked and sunk. Others left via Sumatra and Java and there is one very good book about some guys who travelled to the west coast of Sumatra, salvaged a ship and set sail for Ceylon - the book is called Alarm Starboard and is written by Geoffrey Brooke, who survived the sinking of Repulse and PofW. Another book is called something like; 'Singapore's Dunkirk'. Many RAF guys made their escape from Java and the book; 'You'll Die In Singapore' is about a chap who escaped from a prison camp after the surrender and got away through Sumatra and Java and was eventually flown out by Catalina

The AOC Singapore was ship wrecked and died of starvation on one of the many islands off Singapore.

Unless a name comes up in one account or another, it will be very difficult to find the true story of this man as the records were mostly lost or never kept during the last chaotic weeks and subsequently.

Old Duffer

16th Nov 2012, 17:02
Thanks OD.
Yes, my Dad flew out of Sembawang in a hurry in FEB 42 ( I think there were only 5 or 6 No.453 Sqn RAAF Buffs left ), and including some RNAF Buffalo's, flew to Batavia, as it was then.
He then departed Batavia for UK, MAR42 via Colombo but only got as far as there, as the Australian Prime Minister, Mr.John Curtin, insisted on all evacuated Australians from Singers return to Australia ( thank God for that otherwise I would have been born a Pom, no only joking !). 453 Sqn went on to have an illustrious fame in the UK with Spitfires. My Dad went on to fly P40 Kittyhawks with No.82 and 84 Sqn's in the Pacific where he got another one!
I should put all this down on thread some time really, but having had a slight heart problem and now in recovery, not too bad really, ( retired with 23,000 hours, and 14,000 on 74's ) am enjoying these threads.
I feel very privileged.
Regards to all.
Sorry, but I still can't sort the attach out. Cut n Paste?

16th Nov 2012, 17:05
Old Duffer,

Many thanks for the information about the books (next stop Amazon). You're right about the evacuation from Singapore. And of course it's very understandable that records were not the top priority in those terrible circumstances.


16th Nov 2012, 17:11

You really must get all Dad's history written down; it's such a fascinating thing to do although it appears that there are many dead-ends.

16th Nov 2012, 17:46
Thanks JSK.
Yes, just wanted to get this interview posted (1992) though, as it dealt with the evacuation, and I don't seem to be able to do it. I know , I am a nerd!
Some of my Dad's exploits are in the book, 'Buffaloes Over Singapore' by Brian Cull, Paul Sortehaug and Mark Haselden ( Hi Mark if you're watching!)
This is a very interesting read, as all the Singapore WII history is now.
A very sad part of our history if I may say so. Army, Navy and Air Forces, and deserves much more recognition, as does the Burma campaign.

India Four Two
17th Nov 2012, 01:44

I've sent you a PM about posting. Click on Private Messages at the top right of the page.


17th Nov 2012, 05:22
Have confirmed the book referred to above is called: 'Singapore's Dunkirk'. It's author is the same Geoffrey Brooke also mentioned and I've ordered it from the big river - which, if the press is to be believed, is about to make me a social outcast and oppressor of the downtrodden masses.


17th Nov 2012, 09:45
Many thanks for that.

17th Nov 2012, 13:05

Book on the way from the home of the piranha:)
Have confirmed the book referred to above is called: 'Singapore's Dunkirk'. It's author is the same Geoffrey Brooke also mentioned and I've ordered it from the big river - which, if the press is to be believed, is about to make me a social outcast and oppressor of the downtrodden masses.http://www.flickr.com/photos/jxkspics/8193456074/
Out of interest only:
From back of photograph: Corporal Paton - Fl Sergeant Renshaw
BLACKPOOL 5th December 1940
9 RC. 8th Squadron J. Flight 154 Squad

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8346/8193456074_db971d5aeb_z.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jxkspics/8193456074/)

My father middle of front row.


6th Dec 2012, 08:37
I did purchase the book from the unmentionable river in S American. It makes you realise what a lot suffering the people trying to escape the onslaught of the Japanese evasion went through.

I'm still left wondering about my father's path from Singapore to Calcutta. From reading the book it makes you realise just how difficult it might have been.