HM Motor Launch 310 - Singapore 1942,

Discussion in 'The War at Sea' started by Uncle Jack, Mar 4, 2013.

  1. Uncle Jack

    Uncle Jack Member

     
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  2. ramacal

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

    I've had a look at the first few pages and the story seems to fit well with what is written in later memoirs.

    Do you know who the author was?


    Robin

    The returning POW was completed by Lieutenant Stoner, AS&H.

    Cheers - Rob
     
  3. Rattler

    Rattler Junior Member

    Ramacal,

    The pages you posted of your find, in connection with ML 310, at the NA represent an absolute first class find. Your intuition in recognising that they had relevance and your initiative in photographing and putting them on this Forum cannot pass without this comment from me.

    If the Chief Moderator of this Forum can award a Mention in Despatches to you, via a Forum equivalent, then it should be done.

    As a naval researcher of this particular theatre (S.W. Pacific/I.O) for the period Dec 7 1941 – mid April 1942) I cannot overstress the importance of your find. I never found it in my searches at the NA, and as you state it can be sheer luck as one ploughs through tens of boxes of documentation there.

    Many thanks Rob for your brilliant posting.

    Best regards

    Rattler
     
  4. Uncle Jack

    Uncle Jack Member

    The returning POW was completed by Lieutenant Stoner, AS&H.

    Cheers - Rob

    The list on page 6 of his report is noted by Lt Stoner as "copy, with my corrections, of Petty Officer Fairbanks' list"

    Has anyone found PO Fairbank's list?

    I am cross checking this list with the one in Lt Pool's book and will post soon

    Robin
     
  5. Uncle Jack

    Uncle Jack Member

    Ramacal,

    As a naval researcher of this particular theatre (S.W. Pacific/I.O) for the period Dec 7 1941 – mid April 1942) I cannot overstress the importance of your find. I
    Many thanks Rob for your brilliant posting.
    Rattler

    I agree .. we've been researching for 45 years ( only lately in military records) and appreciate the value of making a find like this.


    Rattler

    Do you know the location of any other reports found about the ML310?
    eg. by FAIRBANKS or ATKINS

    There is a reference in Stoner's report to one by Petty Officer Fairbanks and Wing Commander Atkins is quoted in the book 'The Emperor's Irish Slaves' by Robert Widders. (I have written to Robert Widders asking for help with his sources.)



    Robin
     
  6. Uncle Jack

    Uncle Jack Member

    I have taken the liberty of transcribing the details from the report and getting what details I could.



    ?? ?? of ??. Fate - KIA 01Mar42 / Details - Might be Private DOCHERTY, James Joseph 2885195 - 2nd Battalion Gordon Highlander Regiment
    PO Bail of RN. Fate - KIA 31Mar42 / Details - Petty Officer Stoker BALE, ARTHUR JAMES 780 Royal New Zealand Navy of H.M.S. Sultan
    PO Townsend of RN. Fate - KIA 11Mar42 / Details - Stoker 2nd Class TOWNEND, EDWIN RICHARD C/KX 127382 of H.M.M.L. 310. Royal Navy
    AB Little of RN. Fate - KIA 13May42 / Details - Stoker 2nd Class LITTLE, JOHN D/KX118404 of H.M.M.L.310. Royal Navy
    AB ?odden of RN. Fate - Survivor / Details -
    AB Tucker of RN. Fate - Survivor / Details -
    AB Johncock of RN. Fate - Survivor / Details -
    AB Smethwick of RN. Fate - Survivor / Details -
    AB Tweesdale of RN. Fate - Survivor / Details -
    SGT Hornby of RM. Fate - KIA 31Mar42 / Details - Sergeant HORNBY, EDWARD PLY/X 1301 Royal Marines HMS Repulse - Additional Information: Died of wounds on Tjebia Island
    CPL Sully of RM. Fate - KIA 31Mar42 / Details - Marine SULLY, SAMUEL THOMAS WATKINS PLY/X3775 Royal Marines HMS Repulse - Additional Information: Died from wounds on Tjebia Island
    Pte Robinson of RM. Fate - Survivor / Details -
    Pte Robinson of RM. Fate - Survivor / Details -
    Pte Day of RM. Fate - Survivor / Details -
    Pte Sneddon of RM. Fate - Survivor / Details -
    SSGT Gynn of RE. Fate - Sailed to Batavia / Details -
    SSGT Lockett of RE. Fate - Sailed to Batavia / Details -
    SSGT Davis of RE. Fate - KIA 01Apr42 / Details - Staff Serjeant DAVIES, RICHARD DESMOND 1867338 Royal Engineers
    SGT Wright of CMP. Fate - Survivor / Details -
    CPL Shriff of CMP. Fate - Survivor / Details -
    CPL Shimpton of CMP. Fate - KIA - POW / Details - Most probably Lance Corporal SHRIMPTON, HENRY RONALD 5727489 - Corps of Military Police. 18 Divisional Provost Coy. Date of Death: 03/07/1942 - SINGAPORE MEMORIAL
    CPL ?? of CMP. Fate - Survivor / Details -
    CPL Turner of CMP. Fate - Survivor / Details -
    AC Bethany of RAF. Fate - Survivor / Details -
    AC Smith of RAF. Fate - Survivor / Details -
    Cook Li Teng of Civilian. Fate - Deserted / Details -

    ?? ?? of ??. Fate - ?? / Details - SCAMMELL, Stoker 2nd Class, LEONARD STANLEY, D/KX 126814. H.M.S. Sultan. Royal Navy. 31st March 1942. Age 28. Son of Herbert and Sarah Ann Scammellj of Bedminster, Bristol; husband of Edith M. Scammell, of Bedminster. Coll. grave 31. D. 1-17.


    Comparing the list with that in Lt Richard Pool's book 'Course for disaster'
    I have found the following additional details
    Mr Richardson Warrant Boatswain RN POW
    L/S Brough Coxswain
    HAWARD in instead of Haywood
    Johnstone instead of Johnson ( understandable but JOHNSON is correct .. he was my uncle Ronald Arthur Johnson )
    Pte DOCHERTY (page 194 died on Tjebia) but named as DONELLY on P129 and 134)

    PADDON for the stoker
    Johncock is PO Motor Mechanic
    TWEEDALE for Tweesdale
    L/Corp SCHIEF M.P for Schriff
    the other L/Corp MP is STRIDE

    This is only a comparison of the lists ... apart from personal information about my uncle.

    Hope this helps a little

    The crew of ML310 are listed as
    Lieut. J Bull RNZVR Commanding Officer
    Lieut. Henderson RANVR Executive Officer
    Lieut. Sea Brough Coxswain
    AB Hill
    AB Oldnall
    AB Johnstone (sic)
    AB Gibson
    AB Flower
    AB Haward
    Ab Russell
    Tel Tweedale
    PO Motor Mech. Johncock
    Sto. Tucker
    Sto. Podden
    Sto. Townend
    St. (sic) Little
    Cook Charlie



    Regards

    Robin
     
  7. ramacal

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

    Rattler,

    Many thanks for your kind words.

    Robin, I had a look see at the POW questionnaires and could not find one for A/B Ronnie Johnson. Lots of Johnsons, but sadly not he. Not all individuals completed them and if they did, most did not write comments to most questions anyway. Luckily, Lt. Stoner happened to write more detail about their journey than you could hope for.

    Kind regards - Rob
     
  8. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    Again in Pool's book (page 129) the third man was "a civilian dockyard employee named DIMMITT who was an Australian" he died on Tjebia.

    Thanks for the extra bit of info - from a newspaper personal column in October 1945:

    Mr James A. Dimmitt, M.L.C, has received advice that his son Aubyn, who remained in Singapore at the request of the Admiralty to undertake demolition, died on an unnamed Island on which he was shipwrecked with Rear Admiral Spooner and Air Vice-Marshal Pullford, both of whom also died there.

    Mr Dimmitt who was a Bachelor of Engineering of the W.A. University, was for 3 1/2 years employed by Fogden, Brisbane and Co as a civil engineer in Singapore, mainly in oil storage construction at the naval base. His wife and young daughter escaped from Singapore and are resident in Perth.
     
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  9. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA) / The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW) Monday 17 September 1945


    MYSTERY OF LOSS OF OFFICERS
    Deaths on Lonely Island confirmed from T. L. GOODMAN SINGAPORE, September 15

    One of the great mysteries of the war in the East has been solved as the result of investigations into the disappearance of R-Adml. Spooner, Naval Commander-in- Chief and Air Vice-Marshal C. H. Pulford, Air Commander, in the dark days of February, 1942.

    It is revealed that both died on lonely Praging Island, in Bank Strait. 50 miles south of Singapore, as the result of illness, heightened by exhaustion and shortage of food, less than two months after the fall of Singapore.

    They escaped from stricken Singapore on February 14, but their launch grounded on a reef a few miles from Singapore through faulty steering gear, and was delayed several hours. Next day they were sighted by two Japanese cruisers and five destroyers, which opened fire.

    Adml. Spooner ordered the launch to be speeded to the nearest beach on Praging, Island, and then told all except the crew to wade ashore. A Japanese boarding party destroyed the launch and took the crew prisoner, but apparently accepted their story that only 12 ratings had escaped.

    Some of the castaway party died of malaria and dysentery, exposure and malnutrition. Among victims were the admiral himself, who died of malignant malaria, and Air Vice-Marshal Pulford who had been ill for some time.

    The tragic news of their deaths was told by Wg-Cmdr. Purcell Atkins, who, with the survivors, escaped in a native craft, but was caught by the Japanese and spent more than three years in Singapore prisons
     
  10. Uncle Jack

    Uncle Jack Member

    Rattler,

    Many thanks for your kind words.

    Robin, I had a look see at the POW questionnaires and could not find one for A/B Ronnie Johnson. Lots of Johnsons, but sadly not he.

    Kind regards - Rob

    Rob, Thanks for checking

    I have a reply from Robert Widders (author of The Emperor's Slaves)

    With respect to your request for sources: Wing Commander Atkins and Lt Stoner's reports are filed amongst the liberation questionnaires (WO344) at the PRO, Kew. If I remember correctly, it is Wing Commander Atkins' report that mentions your uncle by name.

    I've had a look at TNA website and see that his report should be under WO344/362 but did not figure out how to check if it is there.

    Regards

    Robin

    ps Robert Widders can be contacted via his website Robert Widders
    he replied to me very promptly
     
  11. ramacal

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

    Rob, Thanks for checking

    I have a reply from Robert Widders (author of The Emperor's Slaves)

    With respect to your request for sources: Wing Commander Atkins and Lt Stoner's reports are filed amongst the liberation questionnaires (WO344) at the PRO, Kew. If I remember correctly, it is Wing Commander Atkins' report that mentions your uncle by name.

    I've had a look at TNA website and see that his report should be under WO344/362 but did not figure out how to check if it is there.

    Regards

    Robin

    ps Robert Widders can be contacted via his website Robert Widders
    he replied to me very promptly
    Hi Robin,

    The only way to find any questionnaires is to look through the file at the National Archives. Pity I did not know before my visit yesterday, as I would have looked it up. I don't have any reason to go to Kew for a long while, otherwise I'd have a peek. It is Lt Stoner's report which I came across and copied by chance and posted here.

    Cheers - Rob
     
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  12. Rattler

    Rattler Junior Member

    I agree .. we've been researching for 45 years ( only lately in military records) and appreciate the value of making a find like this.


    Rattler

    Do you know the location of any other reports found about the ML310?
    eg. by FAIRBANKS or ATKINS

    There is a reference in Stoner's report to one by Petty Officer Fairbanks and Wing Commander Atkins is quoted in the book 'The Emperor's Irish Slaves' by Robert Widders. (I have written to Robert Widders asking for help with his sources.)



    Robin



    Hi Robin,
    I don’t know the location of reports by Fairbanks or Atkins but I looked through some notes I made some years ago.
    I have a list of 47 names which had been posted on the net by a David Hope. This was in connection with (his I presume) some research on Captain George Mulock RN who had been senior naval officer under R. Adm Spooner and, in his capacity as Head of Defences of the island in Feb. 1942, had organised the escape of many naval and merchant vessels from Singapore prior to its surrender.
    The listing, now referred to as B, is clearly similar to the one in the 6-page document (list A) posted by Ramacal. There are some differences in that:
    i) Addition of several names ie Stoker Scammell, Private Docherty of the Gordon Highlanders and a Mr Dimmert. Now these extra names have been covered by DaveB in posts #14 and 28 of this thread.

    ii) Referring to the document unearthed (list A) Stoker Odden is Stoker Paddon on list B; L/C Schieff on list B is Schriff on list A; Chinese Cook ‘Charlie’ on list B is Li Teng of List A.

    iii) There is an AB Seaman called Gibson on list A, but not on list B.

    iv) On list A two Marine Robinson’s are noted but there is just one on list B ie a probable duplication on the former.
    I did see a short (not clear to the eye) newspaper report from the Sydney Herald dated 15 September 1945 and I am assuming that this is the same one reproduced in the Adelaide Advertiser of 17 September 1945.

    Also, I do know that Lt. R.A.W. Pool, one of the survivors, sent some correspondence, in respect of R. Adm Spooner and AVM Pulford when on the malaria-ridden island, to the American Naval Historian Arthur Marder in the mid 1970s. The latter died in 1980 and I am unaware if he utilised this information in a publication.

    Regards

    Rattler
     
  13. Uncle Jack

    Uncle Jack Member

    I have taken the liberty of transcribing the details from the report and getting what details I could.


    WGCDR Atkins of RAF. Fate - Survivor / Details - OBE in LG 01Oct46 - Acting Wing Commander George Purcell ATKINS (72775), R.A.F.V.R.



    Following up on reports about ML310 Atkins is quoted by several others.
    Where did you find the additional details?

    Robin
     
  14. Uncle Jack

    Uncle Jack Member

    I have taken the liberty of transcribing the details from the report and getting what details I could.


    AB Oldnoll of RN. Fate - Survivor / Details - Able Seaman H. R. Oldnall, RNZNVR




    Found his service No - RNZN 1724
    Robin
     

    Attached Files:

  15. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    Following up on reports about ML310 Atkins is quoted by several others. Where did you find the additional details? Robin

    Cheers Robin - nothing really clever from me. The Aussie newspapers that reported on the loss of Pulford & Spooner after the war mostly used info from Atkins. Some of them provided his first name and I used that to search the London Gazette which yielded his full name, his service number and details on his receiving an OBE.

    I wouldn't be surprised if a few of the others (casualties & survivors) showed up in the gazette as receiving an award for their efforts in 1942 - his is the only OBE I saw but there may be some Mentions in Despatches (Pulford received an MiD) or MM / MC etc


    Dave
     
  16. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    Found his service No - RNZN 1724 - Robin


    Well found Robin - did you have to join famnet to get the info??


    It looks like an interesting resource
     
  17. Uncle Jack

    Uncle Jack Member

    Well found Robin - did you have to join famnet to get the info??


    It looks like an interesting resource
    No need to join .. came up on a google search with URL for a and Excel spreadsheet download... I'll try to capture the link

    Robin
     
  18. Uncle Jack

    Uncle Jack Member

    Well found Robin - did you have to join famnet to get the info??


    Could not get the url but did a google search for
    Able Seaman, Herbert, Oldnall ml310 famnet
    and it came up as only offering


    The spreadsheet has three parts
    Japanese POW's
    Column headings are Rank, First Name, Surname, blank (mostly RNZNVR), ID No (officer) or Service No., Declared Missing (date), Located as POW (date), Fate (notes on what happened to him or is 'most likely')

    Naval Personnel Missing
    similar

    German POW's
    similar to above with POW No

    Looks like an NZ list mainly RNZNVR

    Regards

    Robin
     
  19. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    Could not get the url but did a google search for
    Able Seaman, Herbert, Oldnall ml310 famnet - and it came up as only offering

    Looks like an NZ list mainly RNZNVR

    Regards

    Robin


    Cheers Robin - possibly a useful source of info for NZ POWs
     
  20. Uncle Jack

    Uncle Jack Member

    I have taken the liberty of transcribing the details from the report and getting what details I could.


    PO Fairbanks of RN. Fate - Survivor / Details -



    Found him on the CoFEPOW Website
    Children & Families of the Far East Prisoners of War

    Surname: FAIRBANKS
    First Name(s): Herbert H.
    Rank: Br.
    Service No: 940633
    Service: A
    Date of Capture:15/02/1942

    Robin


    ****** Apologies *****
    Very useful site BUT this is NOT the man on ML310 .... wrong rank and captured in Singapore on day of fall ... our man would be captured later

    R
     

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