British Sumatra Battalion

Discussion in 'Allied Units - Others' started by Warlord, May 10, 2011.

  1. Warlord

    Warlord Veteran wannabe

    While googling around for the distribution date of P.C. Boer's "The Loss of Java", I found several references to an outfit called British Sumatra Battalion, but havenĀ“t exactly been able to find a lot about it, beyond its mention as a unit supposedly formed by the Japanese to hold together particularly difficult POWs.

    Does any of you, lads, know if it ever saw service as a combat unit, provisional or not, during the last desperate days in the NEI? Or maybe its whereabouts once its members were finally captured.
     
  2. wtid45

    wtid45 Very Senior Member

    Some links for you Alberto me old mate :D Roll COFEPOW - Books - The British Sumatra Battalion And from this link, About us Apparently Bill became part of the British Sumatra Battalion formed after the surrender to the Japanese in Padang, Sumatra, I have copied part of a further email Keith sent me with dates etc of their movements:

    'You are correct that your Uncle Bill died before being put to work on the Railway, and something struck a cord. Before I go any further, you will notice I have copied this message to Carol Cooper, the founder of COFEPOW. Carol I believe knows how to obtain a copy of the book in which I found your Uncle's name, and I hope can supply you with the details of where to obtain a copy. The book in question is "Sunset over Saigon" by Ken Maguire. This covers the story of the British Sumatra Battalion, from its time of formation after the surrender to the Japanese at Padang, to the Japanese surrender in 1945. The term book is a little incorrect as it is only 64 pages, but very informative. The commander of this force was Captain (later Major) Dudley Apthorp, and I believe that a copy of the British Sumatra Battalion history and maybe his diary are with the Imperial War Museum. Next time I visit, I will have a good look, but I do know he has records there, as I have seen them.
     
  3. Warlord

    Warlord Veteran wannabe

    So it was mainly a POW formation, right?
     
  4. wtid45

    wtid45 Very Senior Member

    Yes mate looks like it and ignore my VM ;)
     
  5. Car_Commander

    Car_Commander Junior Member

    I have a typed manuscript which appears to be a history of the British Sumatra Battalion. I haven't read though it properly as yet. I purchased it as it listed a number of 18 Recce ORs as POWs.
    I will dig it out and copy it, if anyone is interested.

    Les.
     
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  6. Cresent

    Cresent Junior Member

    'The British Sumatra Battalion' by A.A. Apthorp gives a good account and there should be a few used copies available on Amazon at a reasonable price.

    The appendices are quite detailed, including what looks to be a fairly comprehensive nominal roll.
     
  7. Warlord

    Warlord Veteran wannabe

    I have a typed manuscript which appears to be a history of the British Sumatra Battalion. I haven't read though it properly as yet. I purchased it as it listed a number of 18 Recce ORs as POWs.
    I will dig it out and copy it, if anyone is interested.

    Les.

    Please do, mate! :D
     
  8. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

  9. Warlord

    Warlord Veteran wannabe

  10. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Sorry mate, you can't search into the file headings. I just wondered if there was a relevant file title for the battalion amongst the list?

    If there is let me know which reference number.:)
     
  11. ramacal

    ramacal 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA Patron

    For those looking for details, I think I've struck gold, in that whilst looking through the "A"'s of the Japanese POW forms for a specific unit, I found a typed nominal roll of the British "Sumatra" Battalion. No date when it was made, although the last page mentions men who joined after March 1944. Thought it an unusual place to be as it can hardly be classifed as something under the letter A, so I photographed all the pages.

    A goldmine of information, in that it amounts to 25 pages with approximately 500 names. Lists service number, rank, name, unit, home address and if died whilst in captivity, how and where they died.

    Not sure whether to post the pages, as the cause of death could be distressing to anyone looking into how relatives died.

    If anyone wants a copy, be happy to forward one. Any thoughts as to whether I should post it would be appreciated too.

    Cheers - Rob

    PS - If anyone else wants to view it at Kew themselves, I found it in one of the following files

    WO344/361-1
    WO344/361-2
    WO344/362-1
    WO344/362-2

    Sorry I can't be more specific.
     
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  12. Warlord

    Warlord Veteran wannabe

    Not sure whether to post the pages, as the cause of death could be distressing to anyone looking into how relatives died.

    If anyone wants a copy, be happy to forward one. Any thoughts as to whether I should post it would be appreciated too.

    Cheers - Rob

    Mate, can't you edit the images, so as to hide the column stating cause of death?

    Now, if entries are horizontal, (as paragraphs, that is) instead of vertical, that's another matter... :unsure: Maybe posting them with a warning.

    By the way, I would appreciate if you can send me a copy, please. Guatemala City is a long way from Kew, you know... :(
     
  13. ramacal

    ramacal 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA Patron

  14. Warlord

    Warlord Veteran wannabe

    Thanks to the superb information Ramacal gave us access to, I now have a couple of questions:

    1.- Does anyone know who Gunner J. Kerr, from the Royal Artillery, 9 Coastal, was, or if he survived the war after being left behind at Maden (?), North Sumatra, on May 1942? Unfortunately, the record does not show his serial number.

    2.- Which unit/s attacked Thanbyuzayat on the 15 of July, 1943? Several POWs died during air raids that day.
     
  15. Just found out that my uncle Mick (Bertie) Richards was a member of the British Sumatra Battalion. He was RAF and survived the war. just ordered A.A. Apthorp's book for his granddaughter.
     
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