Hofuku Maru

Discussion in 'Prisoners of War' started by Redcap, Mar 5, 2010.

  1. jacksun

    jacksun Senior Member

  2. jacksun

    jacksun Senior Member

    British War Graves shows the Kranji War Cemetery as one they have pictures from, which is where your late Uncle is memorialized.
    The cemetery is on this page BRITISH WAR GRAVES - Far East & Australasia (scroll down almost to the bottom)

    Send them a request via their contact form, and if they have a picture of his Headstone or his name on the memorial they will send it to you for free.
    They will also supply any other info they have.

    I found out my great Uncle's remains had never been found in Belgium from WW1, but he was commemorated on the Memorial Column (which I now have a photo of).

  3. Wills

    Wills Very Senior Member

  4. Bernard85

    Bernard85 WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    good day red cap.a happy new year to you and your family.i am sedding this mesage out of curiosity.does your avitar stand for milatary police? i asck because i had a brother in the red caps.have a good day.bernard85
  5. kittykatkent

    kittykatkent New Member


    Sergeant A W Burgess was my Granddad. He survived the sinking and wrote a report on his captivity, which papiermache has transcribed above. I have read this before and I know we have recordings that he made for Radio Norfolk. I went to Changi whilst I was on a visit to Singapore. The replica chapel at the museum is one of the most peaceful places I have ever come across and it had a very unexpected effect on me.

    I, like others, came across this site quite by accident. My Granddad served with 5 Beds and Herts 18 Division and was captured in February. My Granny had no news of him until the Canadian family who hosted him wrote to her to tell her was alive.
  6. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member


    A belated welcome to the forum. I am glad you found the thread and thanks for posting about your grandfather. Apologies for the delay in acknowledging but have been away from computers for a spell.

  7. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    The latest edition of "Magna": The Friends of The National Archives Magazine has the strapline: " From the River Kwai to Kew" and a five page article by Ann Bennett about her father's records of army service.

    Her father survived the sinking of the Hofuku Maru. He was Sub-Conductor Richard Bennett 6342326 H.Q. 3rd Indian Corps. He died in 1970.

    There are photos of the Burma Thailand railway, Bennett's IJA card and his Liberation Questionnaire.

    The author has a website and has published a book about her father's experiences called "Bamboo Heart." See www.bambooheart.co.uk.

    In the "courageous acts" bit of his LQ her father wrote something which I had not seen until recently.

    " Lieut. Cox: Royal Norfolk Regiment.

    On 21st September 44, when a Jap ship containing prisoners of war was sinking he, with complete disregard for his own safety, and under MG fire from American aircraft, helped men out of the hold while the boat was sinking, and by so doing lost his own life ( consult CSM Kerr - 2 Cambridgeshire for corroboration, as Lieut. Cox helped him out of the hold."

    What a brave man.
  8. Ccaroline

    Ccaroline New Member

    Hello Papiermache
    I just wanted to say how much I appreciate the tremendous amount of work you seem to have done researching this subject. My uncle, William Harold Walter Arlett died on 21st September 1944 on the Hofuku Maru. I came to this forum by chance, and although a lot of the information is pretty harrowing and upsetting, I am glad to have found it and learnt so much about what his last few months must have been like. He was a private in 2nd Battalion East Surrey Regiment.
    BFBSM and dbf like this.
  9. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    Ccaroline, Welcome to the forum, and thank you for your kind thoughts. I am sorry to hear that we have something in common, having an uncle who perished when the HM sank. Your uncle's birthday was in February, as was my uncle's, who was just two years younger. It was all such a waste.
    I am still working on transcriptions of material found in the National Archives and elsewhere, including a 1946 book written in Dutch which I only discovered because of a post to this forum. There is rather slow progress on that one!
    I will send you a "pm" or personal message with the few details I know about your uncle. Thanks again, John.
    Ccaroline likes this.
  10. Ccaroline

    Ccaroline New Member

    Hello Wayne,
    I just want to say thanks so much for this info. I sent a request and got a picture of my uncle's Name on the memorial.
  11. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    The vessel sank 73 years ago today. I am very sorry to see the requests for information published in the Bedfordshire Times in December 1945 on the "Remembering Today" thread of today's date.
    A survivor of the Thailand camps and probably also of the ship visited my grandparents in or about July 1945 and told them what had happened to their eldest son.
    On a slightly more cheerful note a survivor was still alive in 2014 and almost certainly last autumn.
    Letters home from US personnel who were POWs in Germany and the Philippines were released at the Library of Congress in 2015. Letters written by inmates of camps in the Philippines may contain references to an influx of British and Dutch POWs following the sinking.
    Char76 and Tricky Dicky like this.
  12. Char76

    Char76 New Member

    papiermache you have done amazing work here! I have been in search of my great-uncle, Willem van Vliet, who we were told died on the Hofuku Maru. I have found his name listed among the dutch that died aboard it but we have reason to believe after looking at his POW card that perhaps he did not die at that time and that a Willem van der Vliet (very similar name but different birthdays, addresses, parent names, etc.) actually died aboard it. Some websites list that the Hofuku maru and Toyofuku maru were separate ships and some say that is the same ship. One website we found says that van der Vliet died on the Toyofuku and there are several that say van Vliet died on the Hofuku. So that has added to the confusion as well! If you have any suggestions on where else we can search to try and get more definite answers for both of these men we would greatly appreciate it! We found the letter from my great-grandparents that was given to my grandmother letting her know that her brother had died during the war last month on September 21, exactly 73 years to the day of the sinking of the ship. Coincidence? I think these men want to be found and have their stories known by their families. Any help you can give would be appreciated!
  13. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member


    Welcome to the forum, and thank you for your kind words.

    The websites about the Hofuku Maru do contain false information, it is what makes researching the truth more interesting, but sometimes it is very frustrating.

    Simple things such as the name of the ship, as you refer to, cause confusion to researchers.

    Go to this website Plimsoll ship data - the Lloyds Register searchable database and search for "Hofuku Maru": this gives you the entries in Lloyds Register for the vessel. If you search for "Toyofuku Maru" there are no results. ( By the way, "Hohuku Maru" is referred to as a change of name but this is misleading.)

    Go to this website gahetNA | gahetNA is een samenwerking van Het Genootschap voor het Nationaal Archief, het Nationaal Archief en Spaarnestad Photo, click on Japanse interneringskaarten, search for the following:

    1. "Toyofuku Maru" gives 116 names of Dutch men.

    2. "Hofuku Maru" gives 64 names of Dutch men.

    3. "KA27" gives 193 names of Dutch men.

    Reason: the way the Japanese Prisoner of War Information Bureau in Tokyo dealt with the information was probably because the information came to them at different times. Some men from the ship went to the Philippines ( a few escaped after the sinking) some to Taiwan, and some to Japan. They had to check as to who was alive.

    "KA27" is the code for the sinking of the Hofuku Maru on 21st September 1944. By searching all of the POW cards you will see how the same event used two different names for the ship, sometimes on the same card. As a general rule the Japanese use "Toyofuku Maru" and the British "Hofuku Maru."

    The POW cards for the British on board are at the UK national archives but have not been analysed in the same way. They can also be seen on "Find My Past" on payment of a fee.

    The records of the Japanese Prisoner of War information bureau are in the United States in Maryland ( I have not been to see them.)

    I will send you a personal message.

  14. Char76

    Char76 New Member

    Thank you very much! You are a great asset and have given me a lot of help and clarification. I will keep digging into this. It’s amazing how addicting it is, hard to describe. I never knew about my great-uncle. I thought his older sister was the youngest in their family. When my father told me about having an uncle that died in WWII I immediately connected with him and felt a pull to find him and his story.
  15. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    Above the last resting place of the Hofuku Maru It is now about 3 a.m. on the 21st September 2019, some 75 years after the day when the ship sank.

  16. Grumbledore

    Grumbledore New Member

    Hi papiermache - Very late to this thread - I'd even forgotten I was a member of the site until just now. I've just read through all th information you have posted about the Hofuku Maru.
    I hd two great uncles killed in WW2, neither of them have a known grave as such . One is buried in an unmarked grave in Norway after being killed on the Curacoa (before it was later sunk by the Queen Mary) and the other, who until the other day we only knew that as "Uncle Jack", and that he was lost at sea towards the end of the War somewhere in the far east - family history had always been that he was killed when the americans attacked and sunk the ship he was on.

    Only recently I discovered that Uncle Jack was actually L/Cpl Charles John Martin of the the Royal Corps of Signals Singapore Fortress Brigade was captured on 15th February 1942. I then found his name on the list of POWs being transported on the Hofuku Maru and that his date of death is given as 21st September 1944. Still only starting to piece together details about him. My mother is in her 80s and whilst she doesn't remember hime really she does have some recollection of his widow. Jack was her mum's elder brother.

    Once again thanks for pulling together this information - it's tough reading at times - but good to know these guys aren't being forgotten.
    papiermache likes this.
  17. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    Thanks. I have sent a personal message with the details I have for your relative on the Hofuku Maru.
    vitellino likes this.
  18. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    On the anniversary, the recent tale of a survivor from the sinking of the Hofuku Maru ( and the virus.)

  19. ltdan

    ltdan Nietenzähler

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  20. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    Thanks. I am pleased that you are interested. There are versions at Kew but the complete roster of all on board is not available online and I've never seen it. That would include the Dutch on board, also a large number of Japanese.

    You have to be very careful with the lists because they can include "casualties" who survived. Also see thread about KA files returned to the Japanese just posted.

    Added by edit: also see Professor Erickson's site because I know he has worked long and hard on Hofuku Maru lists. The Mansell site is very useful and reference his work.

    POWs of the Japanese

    I can get close to a complete list but doubt whether I ever will without seeing the Japanese archives ( a translator required ! )
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2020
    ltdan likes this.

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