S S Clan Alpine - Plight of the Evacuees

Discussion in 'The War at Sea' started by Venkatesh Kumar, Feb 1, 2024.

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  1. Source: Bombay Chronicle - 6th March 1942!

    An article by R. Joomabhai - President of Indian Chamber of Commerce, Singapore which appeared in 'The Bombay Chronicle' under the title "Plight of Indian Evacuees from Malaya" dated 6th March 1942 narrates a story of a ship S.S Hosang which sailed from Singapore on the 6th February 1942 at 6 p m. The ship carried 991 passengers of which 865: were Indians. As smoke was noticed the ship had to join the convoy. The ship S.S Hosang wrecked and S.S Whangpoo sailed out of Palembang on the 9th February with 851 Indians of which 740 were males, 39 women, 56 boys and 16 girls. The ship was heading towards Batavia. S.S Whangpoo reached Batavia on the 11th of February.


    S.S Clan Alpine sailed from Batavia on the 12th February at 6 p m. The ship was purely a cargo boat with no crockery, no cooking place, no cooking utensils, insufficient life boats, no life belts, no doctor, insufficient fresh water, one lavatory for around 800 males, no canvas to protect from rain and sun. The only rations available were a little bread and biscuits lasting 2 days. Rice, potatoes, dhal, dry fish and third class ghee were sufficient but the travelers owing to insufficient cooking utensils had to be satisfied with one meal and tea per day. The ship reached Colombo on the 21st February after a horrible and dreadful journey. A total of 977 passengers were in the ship of which 851 were Indians. The witty Srilankan government accepted only 31 passengers who were Sinhalese. Later after a short period according to the order of Namsoji, 24 Chinese, one European, and about 40 Indians and a few Jews were allowed to go. A total of 100 non Indians and 56 Indians landed at Colombo port.

    The ship with 822 souls of which 796 dying Indians travelled to Tuticorin port and from there they were redirected to Madras. The ship S.S Clan Alpine reached the Madras port on the 22nd February 1942 under worst conditions. At Madras they were received the "Protector of Emigrants. K Kothandapani Pillai and Rao Sahib J.C. Ryan assistant director of publicity, viceroy house. The travelers who were almost at the verge of death were fed, clothed and later dispatched to their respective places in good mood after a miserable journey.

    It is to be noted that after the negligence of Srilankan government, the officers from Madras actively involved in bringing back all the Indians souls back to their soil.[1]
    [1] The Bombay Chronicle 6th March 1942 Friday p4

    Rao Sahib K Kothandapani Pillai (1896-1979) My Great grandfather.
    Deputy Collector, Protector of Emigrants, Controller of Emigration, Madras ! Tamil Scholar!
     

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  2. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    Welcome Venkatesh,
    In November of that year CLAN ALPINE rescued three lifeboats from CITY OF CAIRO which had been torpedoed by U-68 - in one of the lifeboats was my father.
    Regards
    Hugh
     
  3. These stories are really fascinating! I'm still trying to find some pictures! As far as I understand the ship was carrying 44th Indian Infantry Brigade of the 18th division! 6000 soldiers! The last set of people to reach Madras were only 796! ((
     
  4. And to add majority of the soldiers who reached Madras later were recruited for Subash Chandra Bose's 'INA' (Indian National Army)
     
  5. My great grandfather Rao Sahib K Kothandapani Pillai was involved in the incident that has a mark on the history of World War 2!! The 44th Indian Infantry which was a part of the Malaya Command comprising the Indian 11th infantry division headed by Maj-Gen David Murray-Lyon/Brig Archibald Paris/Maj-Gen Berthold Wells Key and having their headquarters at Sungai Petani!!

    A Ship SS Hosang that sailed from Singapore on 6th February 1942 carrying 862 Indian Soldiers was bombed by the Japanese Army and the passengers of SS Hosang were transferred to SS Whangpoo which sailed from Palemang on 9th February 1942 carrying 851 Indian soldiers and reached Batavia on 11th February 1942!

    They were once again transferred to S S Clan Alpine which sailed out of Batavia on the 12th February 1942 with 977 passengers of which 851 were Indians!!
    The ship SS Clan Alpine after stops at Colombo port and Tuticorin finally reached its destination Madras on the 22nd February 1942 carrying 796 Soldiers belonging to the "Queens Own Madras Snappers and Miners of 13 & 15 Field Company were received at Madras by my great grandfather Rao Sahib K Kothandapani Pillai and Rao Sahib JC Ryan!!

    Source: The Bombay chronicle dated 6th March 1942!

    Well the 11th Indian Infantry surrendered to the Japanese forces on the 15th February 1942 at the fall of Singapore!

    Some of the daring Soldiers of the "Queens Own Madras Snappers and Miners" could reach their homeland and they were the ones who were later recruited for Netajis Indian National Army!
     

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    Rich Payne and Hugh MacLean like this.

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