Help/Advice - Gunner Charles Hampton 9th Coast Regt Royal Artillery

Discussion in 'Royal Artillery' started by kaylid8, Nov 10, 2015.

  1. kaylid8

    kaylid8 Member

    Hi there

    I hope I'm posting in the right place. I've recently started to do some research on my Great Grand-Uncle Gunner Charles Hampton. Gnner Hampton's sister (my Nan) has never known much about his regiment, what he did in the army, when and where he died etc.

    So far I've found that he was a gunner in the 9th Coast Royal Artillery Regiment, he died in 1942 in Malaya, his name is on the Singapore Memorial and he is on POW records, but I'm not sure what prison camp he was in (if any) and how to find out the circumstances of his death.

    If anyone could give any advice/tips on where to look etc to find out what he did in the army - the regiment's activities etc and how to find out the circumstances of his death/imprisonment etc.

    His details are as follows:

    Born:1907/1908 - Stoke on Trent



    Rank:

    Gunner

    Service No:

    1786730

    Date of Death:

    01/03/1942

    Age:

    34

    Regiment/Service:

    Royal Artillery



    9 Coast Regt.

    Panel Reference:

    Column 19.
    Thanks in advance for any help!


    Kayleigh
     
  2. Lotus7

    Lotus7 Well-Known Member

    Tony56, kaylid8 and CL1 like this.
  3. Guy Hudson

    Guy Hudson Looker-upper

    Kayleigh,
    Charles was posthumously awarded a mention in despatches, gazetted on the 5th December 1946. I have attached his RA attestation from 1941 and casualty card.
    Guy
     

    Attached Files:

  4. kaylid8

    kaylid8 Member

    Guy - that is really helpful! Thank you :)
     
  5. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Hi Kayleigh,

    There is a short (by the looks of it) war diary for the 9th Coast Regiment held at the National Archives. It is for the month of February 1942 and might give you some detail on what was happening around the surrender of Singapore.

    Reference is WO172/189

    You would have to visit the Archives or have this document copied for you.

    Link: http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C944556
     
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  6. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

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  7. graeme

    graeme Senior Member

    Morning

    Twelve coastal batteries were situated on Singapore, Pulau Brani, Blakang Mati and Pulau Tekong. The Changi Fire Command (9th Coast Artillery Regiment) controlled Johore, Beting Kusah, Changi, Sphinx, Tekong and Pengerang Batteries.
    On the evening of Saturday 7 February 1942, the Japanese 5th Imperial Guards made a feint attack on Pulau Ubin where the Sphinx and Tekong batteries were situated. The Changi 6” guns and guns from Pulau Tekong fired on them, but because of being poorly supplied with high explosive ammunition, the effect was not as good as it might have been.
    The main Japanese assault on Singapore began on the Sunday 8 February 1942 with a landing at Sarimbun on the western side of the island.
    Singapore surrendered at 6.10pm on Sunday 15 February 1942.


    Regards,

    Graeme
     
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  8. Helen bedford452

    Helen bedford452 New Member

    Hi all,
    I am currently trying to find John Robert redpath from the 9 coast reg on tekong island, found some great info and also a picture of them sitting on a gun!
    Basically they all fled to Batam south of Singapore, the Japanese followed and 55 bodies were recovered from the island. Disturbing read and links:

    Redpath-John-Robert

    Pow release paper from the group:
    Saunders, William James

    Who are the men at rest in 55 Unmarked Graves at Kranji?
    (The little known story of 55 British and Australian unarmed POWs massacred by the Japanese at Pulau Bintan Island, near Singapore, during 21st – 25th February 1942).
    In the files of the Australian National Archives in Melbourne, Australia lies a largely ignored file (item 144/14/118; series B3856) which holds some of the answers to the possible identities of men in 55 graves at Kranji War Cemetery, Singapore ( known locally as Kranji Memorial) inscribed only with the words “Known unto God’.
    These are men of the British Army ( including almost certainly Royal Artillery plus very likely RASC, RAOC and others) classified as “Empire Soldiers” , the Australian AIF and possibly men of the Malayan Volunteer Forces.
    There is nothing to tell the solemn visitors to Kranji War Cemetery as they walk past these immaculately kept graves and headstones (Plot 29 Rows A – D, Plot 30 Row E) either where these men died or, in several cases, even which countries they hailed from. Which is a shame because there is a lot more known of whose last resting place these graves provide.
    We need to turn the clock back to February 1942 and the island of Singapore where tens of thousands of Allied troops had retreated from the Malayan peninsula after seven weeks of battle, only to be trapped in an ever diminishing piece of land focussed on the Singapore CBD. Came the Surrender to the Japanese on the evening of 15 February 1942 and thousands of those men on Singapore Island, Pulau Blakan Mati (now named Sentosa island) and other small islands surrounding Singapore (on which were located men of the Royal Artillery manning large guns and supporting troops) were given the freedom of choice to make an escape across the sea through hundreds of tiny islands towards Sumatra.
    A minority of the troops and some civilians – probably a couple of thousand men in total - chose this high risk gamble for freedom from capture and boarded hundreds of small craft; everything from water tankers, launches, lifeboats, sail boats, canoes, sampans and junks on the evening of the 15th February to escape under cover of darkness and then a continuing trickle of craft during the day and night after the surrender.
    [Hundreds of these men were lost without trace in the journey and were classified as “missing” by the Allied authorities and their names recorded on the Columns of the Kranji War Cemetery in Singapore along with others who were “missing” during the Battle for Malaya and Singapore. About 850 ( out of the almost 4,500 graves at Kranji) of the “Missing” whose remains were located and reinterred after the war were laid to rest in graves at Kranji with the epitaph “ Known unto God” and ,if evidenced were noted as being either British or Australian forces soldiers.]
    The objective of these soldiers, sailors and airmen was the big island land mass of Sumatra which was still held by the Dutch at that point and the possibility of reaching the town of Padang on the western coast where evacuation ships – both naval and merchant were destined to call in and rescue the majority of those who reached the town. The escapees took various routes , mostly either a direct south westerly course with ‘island hopping’ for a week or two to the Sumatran mainland or a more central route firstly via the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesian )territory islands of Pulau Batam and Pulau Bintan which were quite close to Singapore and thence through the archipelago.
    What we know of the awful events involving POWs on the island of Pulau Bintan during the first week after the Allied Surrender of Singapore on 15th February 1942, and specifically within the main town of Tanjong Pinang on the island, comes from the investigation begun in October 1945 following the surrender of Japan and the arrival in Malaya and Singapore by Allied forces.
    1|Page

    These events would also have been known to a select group of European internees and POWs in Changi POW camp and Sime Road Internment camp because three Europeans from Pulau Bintan were sent into Changi and then Sime Road internment camps - an oversight not usually made by the Japanese when covering their tracks after committing atrocities .
    After the war an Intelligence Corps member by the name of Lt. H. W. Wylie related a story told to him by another policeman, by the name of Inspector Freer of the Singapore Police, who met Father Meijer (the Catholic priest in Tanjong Pinang on the island of Pulau Bintan) in Changi when he arrived in Changi in February 1943. Meijer related his story to Freer and Lt Wylie’s assessment was that “... the escapees mentioned formed part of a large number of Royal Artillery personnel who escaped between 13th and 16th Feb. from islands close to Singapore (e.g. Blakan Mati etc) and who are, as far as I am aware, still missing. This opinion is confirmed from records made in Changi, original of which accompanies this statement (See books 1, 2 and 3) ...”
    So far few records have been found of this knowledge by POWs and internees - they may be in the relatively recent surfacing of’ Bureau of Record and Enquiry’ papers compiled in Changi POW camp under the leadership of Captain David Nelson and now held in the Imperial War Museum, London, but the researcher has not had the opportunity to cross check the NAA files against this source.
    The atrocities committed by the Japanese in the massacre of allied POWs on Pulau Bintan immediately after the surrender began to unfold to the “HQ 2 Australian PW Reception Group (SEAC)” in October 1945 after it had sent Lt. Col. J. Buchanan, 2/14 Australian Hospital Group together with Lt. L.G. Palmer RANR and some thirty troops to Pulau Bintan to disarm the Japanese garrison and also ascertain whether there existed, or had existed, any POWs on the island .It was soon clear that there were no POWs on the island, which is situated some 40 miles across the water in a south easterly direction from Singapore , and the natives were positive that “ ... no white men have been reported as living on the main island for the past three years...”.However a few local Chinese and Malay living in Tanjong Pinang began to relate their accounts of the atrocities carried out in February 1942.
    As the investigation probed deeper the “3rd Australian Prisoner of War Contact & Enquiry Unit “ made contact with several Europeans who had been living on Pulau Bintan at the time the Japanese arrived and the full horror of the killings of unarmed POWs was revealed.
    Key to the investigation was Father Augustine Meijer, Parish Priest of Tanjong Pinang with corroborating evidence on some of the events from Mr. L. Parlevliet, Acting Dutch Controller for Tanjong Pinang. There were also valuable witnesses amongst the local Chinese and Malay population although their statements are relatively brief – not surprising since they were taken almost four years after the events.
    Using all the accounts in the file the events occurred along the following line;
     During the period 10th – 20th February 1942 small parties of Australian and British troops who had escaped by boat from Singapore arrived at Tanjong Pinang to obtain food and small sea craft to continue their journey. The troops usually obtained the necessary assistance from local inhabitants and then moved further south to other islands.
     Specifically (according to Father Meijer) on 18th Feb. 1942 a British officer named Lieut Bateman and a small party of other ranks landed at Tandjong Pinang.”... The last time I saw Lt Bateman was on the evening of 19th February 1942. I cannot say
    2|Page

    whether he was successful in leaving the island safely ... At about 6.30 pm on the evening of 19 Feb. 1942, I met three British captains at the SOCIETEIT SEMPERTENE Club in Tanjong Pinang. At about 8 pm I accompanied the three British Captains to the house of Mr. L. Parlevliet where they partook of a meal. I left them there and went to the house where I was living at the time, to prepare sleeping quarters for them. I went back to the house of Mr. L. Parlevliet and escorted the British captains back to my residence, where they stayed the night... When I left my house early in the morning of the 20th 1942, the officers were still there; but when I returned from church they had gone. As far as I remember the name of the senior captain was Brandon. I do not remember the names of the other two captains...”
     Mr. Parlevliet adds “ in addition to the three British captains there were “ ... one Indian Army Officer and a party of British other ranks ...”who arrived on the afternoon of 19th February
     Between the time of 2.00 pm and 3.00 pm on the 20th February the Japanese landed at Tanjong Pinang with a body of troops under two officers by the name of ‘Tomiwo Oka’ and ‘Shiraishi’. This body of troops were responsible for the initial killings but left the island around the 24/24 February 1942. The Allied investigation team concluded in 1946 that at the time of the Japanese landing on 20th February there were on Pulau Bintan “... a party of approximately 35 British and Australian soldiers preparing for their journey south ...“– this proved to be understated against the actual remains of men disinterred by a War Graves party later in 1946 when the total reached 55 men for reinterment in Singapore.
     Other witnesses amplify on the arriving servicemen on the island;
    o
    o
    from a servant boy, by the name of Djongos, at the house of a Mr Stuk who was the inspector of Police in Tanjong Pinang “ ... In the latter part of February 18 Australian soldiers came to the house, Mr Stuk ordered me to feed them. I fed them for a day or two, then the Japanese soldiers came to TP on 20 Feb. 1942 and captured these 18 Australian soldiers... “
    One Charlie Chew Eng Hock, Asst. on the motor boat ‘Senggarang’ , “ ...on 19 February European soldiers landed at TP. As the soldiers were looking for food and as I could speak English, I spoke with them and supplied them with food. During my association with them, they all claimed to be Australians; one stated he was a shipbuilder in civilian life, another, an engineer, and another that his father was a farmer in Queensland. These soldiers were trying to obtain a boat so that they could escape to islands further away. Before a boat could be made available to them the Japanese landed, this was in the afternoon of 20 Feb. 42. These soldiers were captured by the Japanese and were concentrated on the public tennis court...”
     Both Father Meijer and Mr Parlevliet were arrested down at the beach at Tanjong Pinang and interrogated soon after the Japanese landed in the early afternoon of 20th February. Father Meijer recorded “... whilst I was sitting on the beach waiting to be questioned. I noticed a party of about 20 British soldiers being marched under Japanese escort along the pier. The soldiers had their hands tied behind their backs ...”. Mr Parlevliet adds that this party of soldiers was marched into the public tennis courts which were located in front of his house“ ... later I noticed that they were all sitting down, and they were still in this position at about 1900 hrs ... “ . Father Meijer recorded that at about 8.00 am on 21st February the party of British soldiers were still on the public tennis court.
    3|Page

    The Dutch witnesses related how the Japanese troops included a unit of the military secret police ‘Kempetai’ under the command of a 2nd Lt. Hasegawa / Hashegawa who commandeered the priests house as an interrogation centre. The Kempetai unit remained on Pulau Bintan for about ten days. An Indian soldier, a Captain in the motor transport division from Singapore was detailed by the Japanese to assist their interrogations.
     At 10.00am on the 21st February a ‘young British soldier’ appears to have arrived on the island walked up the hill from the beach to the priest’s house and surrendered to the Kempetai. He was detained at the house and then 2nd Lt. Hashigawa told Father Meijer that he had to send the young British soldier to Singapore. Father Meijer ‘recorded in his post war statement “ ... but I believe he was taken to the beach near the pier and shot. His body was left where he was shot. .. the soldier told me he had been a gunner on Blakan Mati island...”
     Meijer then records “... the party of British soldiers on the Public tennis Court were still sitting on the ground at 5 pm [21st February]. Shortly after this they were marched away in parties of four, with their hands tied behind their backs, and a Japanese sentry in charge of each party. I never again saw any of the British soldiers. My servant told me that the British soldiers had all been murdered, but I did not see the massacre myself ...’. Witness Charlie Chew Eng Hock stated “... from the tennis court they were taken to the Fort. I heard later they were taken from the tennis court and were executed at kampong Jawa...”.
     Djongos ,another witness .stated that he thought this group of soldiers were Australian [Researcher note :by then the soldiers on the tennis court holding area could very likely have been an intermingled group of both British and AIF troops from the accounts in the file] “ ... these soldiers were taken to the fortress and then Kampong Djawa. On the afternoon of the third day after the Japanese arrived I opened the door of my house and saw one of the soldiers kneeling, with his hands tied behind his back, a Japanese soldier drew his sword and beheaded the soldier. The Japanese soldier then pushed the body into an air raid shelter with his foot. I was so horrified that I closed the door and remained inside the house. While in the house I heard shots. After the Japanese soldiers left I looked into the air-raid shelter and saw the bodies partly covered with soil. Later the shelter was filled in by my friends. My house is in Kampong Djawa...”
     Meijer further recorded “... Early on the morning of 25th February 1942 another party of six British soldiers arrived at my house i.e. Kempetai HQ. The same day the Kempetai moved from my house to the house of a native doctoring Goldman Straat... I went to the Kempetai HQ that evening and I saw the six British soldiers sitting outside the house. The last time that I saw the soldiers was at about 6 pm on the evening of 26 February 1942... On the morning of 27th Feb. 1942, when I again visited the Kempetai HQ, I saw the helmets and luggage belonging to the soldiers; but the soldiers I could not locate. Later I was told by Chinese that the soldiers had been murdered on the beach ...’
    The investigating report of February 1946 also notes that at around this time one European woman was executed and thrown in a ditch along with two European men believed to be civilians – this is corroborated by the eye witness statement of one Mrs Rose Jumeni who lived at 886 Kampong Jawa at the time.
    Local Malay witnesses also stated that some of the soldiers had two identity discs around their necks – one red and one white. Later exhumation also found that a group of the soldiers wore the same two identity discs made of a fibre compound issued to Australian Soldiers - but these disintegrate in
    4|Page

    the tropics and it was not possible for the post war grave parties to make individual identifications amongst the Australian remains. The eye witnesses to the killings at Kampong Djawa were shown articles of Australian uniform [in 1946] and they said that the victims had been wearing identical clothing. They believed that most of the victims were Australians
    The “3rd Australian PW Contact & Enquiry Unit” in February 1946 made an early assessment of the location of the following graves in Tanjong Pinang;
    o Three mass graves in Kampong Java[ NB: this kampong still exists today as a close cluster of houses in Tanjong Pinang with what look like its original kampong layout]
    o One double grave at Kampong Java
    o Two single graves at Kampong Java
    o One mass grave on the seaward side of the Wireless Station in Tanjong
    Pinang [ NB: still located today on the hill above the kampong ]
    o One single grave on the beach (near rest house) – this appears to be a
    reference to either the “young British soldier from Blakan Mati “ or a British officer amongst the troops who was taken down to the beach and shot on 23rd February 1942
    o One single grave outside the wall of Tanjong Pinang cemetery
    o Also recorded is that “... the natives believe that two bodies were cast down
    the well in the Hospital grounds, the well is now [i.e.1946] filled with rubbish...”
    The War Graves cards which are held in the Melbourne National Archives show that 45 of the men disinterred were British and at least 11 were AIF.
    Based on the eyewitness accounts from locals of Allied troops arriving on Pulau Bintan it is probably realistic to assume that there were an even higher proportion of Australian soldiers (AIF) in the overall group buried now at Kranji, but they could not be identified beyond being “Empire Soldiers” (which means simply that they were not Japanese, but could be any of British, Australian, Malayan Volunteer or Indian troops).
    The fifty six men now lay at rest in Kranji War Cemetery in the following graves;
     Identified only as ‘Empire soldiers’,
    o Plot 29 , Row b.4 to B.9 – six men found in the well at the Hospital grounds at
    Tanjong Pinang
    o Plot 29 ,B.10 to 20 and C.1 to C.12 – twenty five men found in the garden of 796
    Kampong Djawa
    o Plot 29, C.15 to C.16 – two men from near “ ...the house of Venneker ...” Kampong
    Djawa
    o Plot 29, C.17 to C.20 and also D.1 to D.6 – twelve men “ ... from the garden of the
    house of Sapon, Kampong Djawa ...”  Indentified as Australian (AIF),
    o Plot 30, Row E.10 and 11 – two men “ ... from the garden of the house of Sapon, Kampong Djawa ...”
    o Plot 30, Row E.1 to E. 9 – nine men “ ... from near the Military barracks at Tanloeng Oeban, Pulau Bintan ...”
    5|Page

    Today in the town of Tanjong Pinang the sites referred to in the 1945/46 investigation are remarkably well preserved – the beach near the rest house remains as it was in 1942 , the Public Tennis Court slightly up the hill past the old official Dutch Controller’s residence remains exactly as it was when the soldiers sat in the tropical sun during 20th /21st February 1942 and the priests house (commandeered by the ‘Kempetai’) still exists as a shabby grey weatherboard house on the corner of a road near kampong Djawa with the steps down to the road where the soldiers sat and waited for their fate.
    Further up the hill is the Hospital where the locals now have a vague legend that it the area of the old well is haunted by the spirits of people killed during the war. Even the wireless station with its transmission tower (no doubt a new one) remains on the top of the hill above kampong Djawa.
    The researcher of this document has travelled to Tanjong Pinang on Pulau Bintan in search of the truth, but also to gain an understanding of these events and seen for himself the incredibly peaceful little area of the town where so much cold blooded murder took place in February 1942.
    The locals know almost nothing of these events anymore according to the gentle, elderly French Catholic priest – leading the same church as the original Father Meijer - who made extensive enquiry on behalf of the researcher.
    History and the world move on.
    This document has been written to assist anyone who may be searching for a family member listed by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission as ‘Missing’ after the fall of Singapore – it certainly has meaning for this researcher who found during the course of research that his family members who were incarcerated in Changi and Sime Road internment camps would have been mingling with Father Meijer, Mr Parlevliet and a British electrical engineer from Pulau Bintan, who were all interned progressively during 1942 and 1943. The researcher’s New Zealand grandfather and British father in Changi were at the time searching for their missing son / brother-in - law ; ‘Jack’ a nineteen year old Private from New Zealand serving as a machine gunner in the Selangor Battalion, Federated Malay States Volunteer Forces and last seen escaping from Blakan Mati with other FMSVF and Royal Artillery. The Changi internees came home only with the understanding that ‘Jack’ was listed as ‘Missing’ and they had learned he had been “... captured on an island near Singapore and taken down to the beach and shot in the back...”. Nothing more than this brief comment was ever related within the wider family it seems.
    The search for the truth of the fate of ‘Jack’ continues.
    Researched by;
    Michael Pether
    2/23 Sanders Avenue, Takapuna,
    Auckland.
    New Zealand.
    mncpether@xtra.co.nz

    Hope this helps
    And apologies for the leingth my iPhone won’t allow to put it on as a document.
     
  9. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    A lot of different place names to search for, with a variety of spellings, but here are a couple of trails followed.

    Extracts from Japanese war diaries can be found on the "Legal Tools" website of the International Criminal Court. Searching for "Bintan" restricted to the UNWCC found this document which was Exhibit 476 at the International Military Tribunal for the Far East ( "IMTFE"). This seems to identify the Japanese unit sent to Bintan, although the events described above are not referred to in the diaries, unsurprisingly.

    The reason for presenting Exhibit 476 was the narrative concerning the massacre of Chinese after the capitulation of Singapore.
    https://www.legal-tools.org/doc/47cd73/pdf/

    The same site carries the transcript of the trial and searching for exhibit 476 does return a volume of the transcript.

    Searching for "Bintan" at Trove Digital Newspapers returns only two brief newspaper reports. Often stories such as this one were repeated in many more Australian newspapers. Australian newspapers can be a useful source of war crimes investigations in progress.

    from "Western Star and Roma Advertiser" Friday 26 October 1945


    "GRAVES ON LONELY ISLAND
    Twenty-seven graves have been
    faund on Bintan Island, just south of
    Singapore. Natives say they contain
    the bodies of soldiers who escaped
    from Singapore in February, 1942, and
    were captured aud executed by the
    Japanese. The nationality of the vic-
    tims has not yet been determined.
    A thorough search will be made by
    Army authorities of all the small is-
    lands immediately to the south in case
    any Allied Servicemen who escaped
    from Malaya are still there awaiting
    rescue. The search may take a year."
     
  10. Helen bedford452

    Helen bedford452 New Member

    Hi,
    I have been wrighting up documents to help people in the same position with missing personnel 9 coast gunners, the documents I have found explain what happened to Charles, I have attached a photo of my research, the full document I available on request and will be published online at some point.
     

    Attached Files:

    nicks and dbf like this.
  11. CB22

    CB22 New Member

    This was fascinating. My Grandad was also in the 9 th coast regiment and we knew my Nan got sent to telegram to say he was missing. Fortunately, he was lucky enough to escape in a rowing boat and survived to serve later on in NW Europe. Is it possible for you to share the photo that you have of them as I’d be interested to see if he’s on it. Thanks
     
  12. Helen bedford452

    Helen bedford452 New Member

    See below I got it from a video screenshot on fepow site he said this was 9 coast gunners. Below that is a picture of one of the shells they would of fired. F8205EA5-83E1-496B-86B6-39DE036DEDF2.png C2614BE2-4679-4165-9516-FADB3931A7A1.png
     
  13. Helen bedford452

    Helen bedford452 New Member

    Hello all,
    I took the time in lockdown to finish off a dedecated 9Coast Gunners webpage. I know there are a few bugs, you can find writen transcripts on what happend to this regiment, I also uploaded the word doccument its a bit easyer to read and it is avalable to download. the website is

    https://9coastgunners1942.wixsite.com/website

    I hope this helps somone find out what happend to loved ones.

    Thanks,
    Helen
     

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