Exploding Tank

Discussion in 'Veteran Accounts' started by daisy1942, Jun 15, 2010.

  1. daisy1942

    daisy1942 Junior Member

    Can anyone help? I have posted this elsewhere on this site and on other sites. Would love to find someone else who has heard this story or read this book

    Years ago I read a book on the fall of Singapore whilst researching the story of my fathers' wartime explooits. One incident recounted in the book was of a Japanese tank coming out onto the Causeway to inspect the damage done when the British tried to blow it up. A British gun from a ship blew the tank to pieces. My father saw this happen and told me the story. The only verification I have of it is this book - unfortunately my computer crashed and I have lost all reference to it. Has any else heard this story or can tell me where to find more information about it?

    My father went on to escape (successfully) on one of the very last ships to leave.
     
  2. slaphead

    slaphead very occasional visitor

    Hi Daisy, (and a belated welcome to the forum)

    You are not having much luck with this search are you and I am afraid I cannot help either. Have you tried sending a private message to Von Poop as he is a big tankophile and could shed some light on it?

    [addresses the forum in general...]
    What about you other tank folk? or Far East folk? Any of you folk got any clues?

    Andy

    Andy
     
    daisy1942 likes this.
  3. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    I've looked Andy, and looked again, and this one's more one for the Regimentalist/ & Battle details types.

    Closest I got was that account of Tomforce:
    Tomforce (Thread)
    But it's not really helpful to Daisy's query.

    ~A
     
  4. MyOldDad

    MyOldDad Senior Member

    Hi Daisy, Here is a bibliography on the subject of the fall of Singapore from Wikipedia:

    Bibliography




    Battle of Kranji - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Tom.
     
  5. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Daisy -
    Probably the reason for little action on your query is that to see a Tank exploding was not uncommon - to be hit by a ship's gunnery was not a case where anyone would walk away - and considering the quality of Japanese Tanks - even a 4" shell would finish them off - and most ships had larger calibres than 4" -so it would not be a big deal....but some authors would think so I guess !
    Cheers
     
  6. daisy1942

    daisy1942 Junior Member

    Hi everyone,
    Thanks for the various suggestions and the booklist. I think the most frustrating thing about this particular episode is that the answer is in my brain somewhere!. When Mike ( my husband) read the account, at something like 2.00am, he woke me up and said "we have got to remember this book". My comment was "That's easy - it is the only book that...." If I could finish the sentence I could find the book!

    Also, I have nt a clue what Dad was doing in Singapore - research shows he was not in the Army or RN and it was unlikely he was RAF. He escaped on DAISY, a water boat that operated in Sngapore Harbour, on 13th February 1942, crossed Sumatra to Padang and disappears. Later in the war he serves in the USED, part of the American army that works in tugs. Later still he served on board British Ships in the Merchant Marine!

    Really, there are several things I should like to discover (apart from the book), a birth certificate, what was he doing in Singapore and if there are any lists of escappes/evacuees still surviving from the evacuation of Padang/Emmerhaven.

    Any suggestions?
     
  7. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    Daisy - I don't know if I can help much, but first off can you supply your Dad's name and date of birth. How old would he have been in 1942? (ie would he have been old enough to be in uniform, or could he have been still of school-age??)

    I assume he was British, but I'm wondering he if was with the Aussie forces also on Singapore. I don't know if there is much research on it, but a few Australians are on our Commemorative Roll as having served in various small boat units as civilians (with Aust and US forces)

    Next, I will try some of my books on WW2 from an Aussie point of view to see if they mention any of the clues you have provided so far......

    cheers


    Dave

    Random file entry from our Archives - Civilian refugees from Malaya [embarked at Padang, Sumatra on HMAS HOBART 1 March 1942 and Disembarked Colombo, 5 March 1942]

    Apparently it is spelt EMMAHAVEN - Immigration Act - SS 'Van Heemskerk' from Emmahaven, Sumatra - Japanese internees
     
  8. daisy1942

    daisy1942 Junior Member

    Hi Dave,
    Thanks for that. As you gather Dad's history is a bit complicated! Briefly, He was born on 14.4.1919 in Eire (according to his CRS10, of which I have a part copy), but was brought up in Glasgow and had a strong accent.
    He would have been almost 23 when Singapore fell. DAISY left Singapore on 13th February managed to get to the mouth of the Djambi River where she was scuttled. DAISY had an unknown number of people on board but was "commanded" by a man called Walmsley, who was variously styled as Captain, Sergeant, Master and even Lieutenant Commander. The complement transferred to two launches P10 and P12 - Dutch Patrol boats being run by the RNVR, Dad was on P10 which was commanded by Lieutenant F.E.W. Lammert (there is an account of the escape somewhere in the TNA). Unfortunately at Padang/Emmahaven these two men were separated, Lammert eventually reached Australia, Dad disappears and turns up in the West Indies in about November 1942. Many years ago we managed to get in touch with Lammert and sent him photos of Dad which he recognised.

    Dad said he had been in some kind of trouble in Glasgow and his brother (name unKnown but possibly John or Jack) got him away. His birth certificate does not appear in the English, Scottish or Irish records - we have searched long and hard without success. As soon as Dad married Bridgetown Barbados 31.1.1943) he always gave his next of kin as his wife. This means although we can track im for much of the later years of WW2 we cannot get back past the Trinidad/Barbados connection.

    This gives you a very brief outline. Any other questions please just ask!
    Thanks for your time
    Daisy
     
  9. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    Daisy,

    Thank you for sharing such a good and intriguing story.

    I hope that you will eventually be able to put all the pieces together from your research.

    Regards
    Tom
     
  10. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    Thanks for that Daisy - I will use that info to have a bit more of a search around, but your Dad's name would still be useful....
     
  11. daisy1942

    daisy1942 Junior Member

    Sorry Dave,
    Obviously a "senior moment" Dad's full name was Dominic Michael Stringer.
     
  12. daisy1942

    daisy1942 Junior Member

    Daisy -
    - to be hit by a ship's gunnery was not a case where anyone would walk away - and considering the quality of Japanese Tanks - even a 4" shell would finish them off - and most ships had larger calibres than 4" -so it would not be a big deal....but some authors would think so I guess !
    Cheers

    Hi Tom,
    Yes, I can see the possibility for it not being a big deal, however it was certainly an event which stuck in several peopls minds. Dad recalled vividly "cogs and bits of metal flying everywhere". When I first read the book I mention, I was in touoch with another author Louis Allen (Singapore 1941-42). He had come across the incident and had discussed it with one of the Japanese Commanders who had been at Singapore. Unfortunately, Louis could not remember all the details and the officer in question had died some months previously.

    Sometimes research goes that way!
     
  13. daisy1942

    daisy1942 Junior Member

    I've looked Andy, and looked again, and this one's more one for the Regimentalist/ & Battle details types.

    Closest I got was that account of Tomforce:
    Tomforce (Thread)
    But it's not really helpful to Daisy's query.

    ~A
    Hi Von Poop,

    The Tomforce Account is fascinateing and although I have read some of the accounts mentioned others are new to me. It all helps to get a feel of what was going on!
     
  14. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    Possibly there are no records as the ship firing so accurately might have itself been sunk shortly thereafter and the record lost. It was a time of great confusion and many units and ships were being harried by the Japanese so not possible to accurately record all what was happening or for those records to survive.
    Many of those who escaped from the Fall of Singapore did so in just what they stood up in, nothing else.
     
  15. daisy1942

    daisy1942 Junior Member

    Possibly there are no records as the ship firing so accurately might have itself been sunk shortly thereafter and the record lost. It was a time of great confusion and many units and ships were being harried by the Japanese so not possible to accurately record all what was happening or for those records to survive.
    Many of those who escaped from the Fall of Singapore did so in just what they stood up in, nothing else.

    Hi Kevin,
    I agree this was undoubtedly the case for the most part. Those who successfully escaped as far as Sumatra or Java and were evacuated from there must have been registered in some way or another. My mother's aunt received a telegram from the British Government saying her son Tommy was a POW. Others received telegrams "missing in action" or missing believed killed". To do this the Government must have known who had escaped and who had not. Granted they made mistakes occasionally, but British bureaucracy being what it is someone somewhere was almost certainly taking notes and several books do make reference. The only question being where did those notes go?
     
  16. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    The destroyed records issue could also be what affected your search for a birth certificate - a lot of public records were destroyed when being moved to the North in 1921/22 IIRC, and even more destroyed that had been recovered and sequestered in the Four Courts for safety - when the nascent Irish Army shelled it and and set it on fire!
     
  17. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    My mother's aunt received a telegram from the British Government saying her son Tommy was a POW. Others received telegrams "missing in action" or missing believed killed". To do this the Government must have known who had escaped and who had not.


    It worked the other way round; the government was told via the International Red Cross who the enemy had taken prisoner, and it could take some time for everything to settle down. Coming at it from the side of the british trying to collate what had happened - Peter Fleming in his Operation Sealion notes for instance that after Dunkirk there were months of lists of "information wanted" ads in national newspapers from relatives wanting to try to find out what had happened to their sons and husbands. It took quite a few months through the rest of 1940 for that to settle down and fade away...

    Does anyone know - did the Japanese work with the ICRC on this in the Pacific Theatre??? It certainly worked that way in the ETO...
     
  18. daisy1942

    daisy1942 Junior Member

    Hi Phylo,
    "The Government must have known who had escaped... "
    Sorry, I phrased that badly. I was not only referring to the telegrams but also other records that are available. For example, documents at TNA listing those that survived the sinking of The Prince Of Wales and Repulse, the destruction of various parts and equipment of the Naval Dockyard Singapore and also ships records. In the last instance I refer you to www.malayanvolunteersgroup.org.uk where they have published lists of evacuees with the help of members and original documents.

    With regard to the destroyed records - Dad got a state pension. When he supplied proof of age, we know he did not use his merchant marine records but some other recognised documentation.
     

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