Lionel Bailey's diary on his wartime posting to Singapore

and subsequent events.


I was posted from RAF Uxbridge to Singapore in 1941. This is my diary of the trip, my eventual imprisonment by the Japanese and my return home.

[While a prisoner in Japan Lionel actually saw the atomic bomb go off over Nagasaki - although he didn't know what it was at the time!]

Fortunately for me, I was taken off the first ship from Liverpool as there were too many on board - as it happens this ship later disappeared in the Indian Ocean!

I eventually went out from Liverpool on the Empress of Australia in the convoy which included:

Warships: Battleship Revenge, Cruiser Norfolk, light cruiser, two US destroyers, seven British destroyers.

Other ships included: Durban Castle, Capetown Castle, Winchester Castle, Empress of Australia, Empress of Japan (later renamed Empress of Scotland), Windsor Castle, Athlone Castle, Union Castle, Monarch of Bermuda, Edinburgh Castle, Highland Chieftain and Highland Princess.


January 5th 1941


Went by bus to Wendover, boarded train 11.30pm. We went Sheffield way and didn't arrive at Liverpool 'till 7.30 in the morning.

January 6th

Put on the baggage party and had a morning of unloading kit bags, after which we had a walk round Liverpool. About noon we boarded Empress of Australia and had a meal. Ship being boarded all day.

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January 7th      
Left docks about 9 in the morning and sailed up the Mersey and waited for convoy. Left about 3.30pm and sailed till about midnight. In the morning found ourselves off the Welsh coast, south of Holy Head. We are waiting for a convoy from Glasgow but they haven't arrived yet. Sea is getting much rougher. Its now 9pm and we are still here.
January 9th      
We are still in the same place. It is a fine day but the weather is very cold, too hazy to sight land. Expecting to leave any time. Sea is fairly calm.  
January 11th    
Wrote to mum and Dorothy. Set sail about midnight. In the morning we found ourselves sailing up Belfast Lough l0am. It is a marvellous day and many more boats have joined us. We anchored off Bangor all ready to move in convoy.
January 12th    
In the early hours of the morning we set sail again in convoy with a lots more liners. We got in the Irish Sea and steamed a NW course through the North Channel. We past Ailsa Craig about noon and have steered a west course heading for the Atlantic. Ailsa Craig is an volcanic island, with an elevation of 1,114 ft, situated off Ardwell Point on the Ayrshire coast. About 2pm saw the last of the Irish coast. In the morning I went to church and watched a boxing match in the afternoon. Sea is getting much rougher.
January 13th

An actual photo of some of the ships in the convoy

An actual photo of some of the ships in the convoy



After a fairly rough night we found ourselves heading in a South west direction. It is a stormy day but the sun comes out between storms. As we were going west the sun didn't rise before 10 o'clock and it didn't get dark till about 7 in evening. Sea getting very rough about 20 foot waves, a lot sea sick. It was about this time that a number of Albatross's joined us and stayed flying behind the ship for a week to 10 days. Good to have their company!


January 14th      
Sun didn't rise till 10.45. Heading in a SSW direction now, going down North Atlantic. Enemy aircraft sighted about 1pm. Barrage Balloons went up on all the boats, but no action taken. Lovely day but very rough boat rocks terrible. Didn't get dark till 7.30.
January 15th      
It is a lovely day but the sea is very rough. 5 destroyers have left us with a liner "The Monarch of Bermuda" for Canada. The clocks have been retarded 1 hour. Weather slightly warmer.
January 16th      
Another fine day, just like an English summers day. We are about 1,000 miles west of Spain, sea much rougher. The other 3 destroyers have left us, leaving us only with the battleship Revenge and 2 Cruisers, one the Norfolk. Clocks retarded another hour, weather much warmer.
January 17th      
The battleship has left. It is a stormy day but hot between showers. We are now passing west of the Azores.  
Britannic had engine trouble, delayed us three hours. Going in SSW direction.
January 21st      
Weather much warmer. Saw several shoals of flying fish which fly about 15 ft in the air. 2 Patrol boats have met our convoy and are escorting us to Freetown. Going Easterly direction.
January 22nd      
A very muggy day and very hot. A French destroyer has met us and is escorting us. Saw several sharks heading in E direction.


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January 25th 1941        


Slept outside owing to intense heat. Got up early and went for a bathe. Sighted Africa about 9.30am. First signs of growth was an island with palm trees. We then went up a river bay about 2 miles where we passed Freetown and anchored in the bay about 10.30 am. The bay is surrounded with very high mountains with orange trees and shrubs growing off the sides. The natives live in little wooden huts on the side of the mountains. No air raid precautions here and reminds me of Weymouth in peacetime with all lights around. A Junkers came over just as we were entering harbour. Guns on our boat opened fire but missed.

The natives came to us in the afternoon and sold bananas, oranges, lemons and coconuts to us, in canoes made out of tree trunks.    
January 26th        
Still anchored. Freetown. Draft have gone ashore. The weather today is very hot and it seems impossible to breath although it's their winter. Negroes today selling baskets, monkeys and fowl. Lord Haw Haw announced on the radio that the Empress of Australia had been sunk! This caused quite some consternation at home as you can imagine.
January 27th        
Still in same place. Have been refuelled and filled with fresh water. Expecting to leave anytime. Its is by far the hottest day we have had.
January 28th        
Still anchored. Weather about the same. German radio announced our boat is sunk, expecting to leave anytime.
January 29th        
We weighed anchor about 6.30am made up convoy and are steaming West. Escorted by 2 cruisers and 3 destroyers.
  One of the escorts One of the escorts      
January 31st  

Another photo of part of the convoy

Another photo of part of the convoy


Still heading south. Crossed the Equator about 2pm. We had a crossing the line ceremony and had a ducking. Suns direct overhead.
February 3rd            
Convoy is speeding up. The submarine chasers have left us. Sea is fairly rough. Put clocks on an hour. Evenings getting darker.
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February 8th 1941            
Sighted land about 6.30am. First land visible were the Table Mountains which was a very pretty sight with clouds around the tops. We stayed in the bay 'till about 10am. Then three tugs came out and pulled us into the docks.
Photo of Adderley Street, Cape TownIt was a lovely day just like an English summers day. About 2pm we were allowed off the boat and it seemed terrible strange to step onto solid ground. Capetown is a very modem town with very wide roads and high buildings. After a quick look round the town we walk up the side of a Table Mountain as its early closing here Saturday afternoons. When we were near the top a gentleman picked us up and treated us to a seven course dinner. After dinner he drove us to a dance at which we had a marvellous time - many American girls there.
February 9th        
We got out of the dock gates about 2pm. Before we had gone far, a lady picked us up and took us for a drive about 50 miles into the centre of Africa. It was very interesting. We passed through many vineyards saw watermelons and oranges growing. At one native village the negroes wore very little clothing like they do in Capetown. I've never seen horses, here its all mules. After travelling about two hours we had tea underneath a very high mountain by a stream. In the evening when it was dark she drove us to the top of Table Mountain to see the lights of the other town and it looked marvellous as there are no blackout precautions. Saw the Southern Cross. Though its summer here the hours of day light are much less than we get in England - it gets light about 5am and dark about 8.30pm.
    An African hut in the bush An African hut in the bush    
February 10th      
We get out about 1.30 and went straight to the gentleman we met on Sunday. He showed us all round his tobacco factory which I found very interesting. They employ nearly all coloured people there and the girls on an average earn £3-10-0 a week wages are very high here and living very cheap. Afterwards we had late dinner with him and in the evening he took us to the pictures. The picture houses here are very modern.
February 11th      
We are confined to the ship today as we are picket boat - it's very annoying to be docked here and can't get out. We had a concert in the evening and went to bed early.
February 12th      
It is a marvellous day. The gang plank was taken away at 2pm and very shortly after the tugs were pulling us out of the harbour. We anchored outside the harbour 'till about 5pm when we left. The last thing we saw of the cape was the Table Mountains towering above the clouds. The sea was very rough as we were going round the Cape. There was dozens of seals round here and it's amusing how they come up and have a look at the boat and down they dive.
February 13th      
When dawn broke all signs of land had disappeared. It is terrible rough - the worst sea we've had all the way. We have passed the Cape of Good Hope now and have entered the Indian Ocean. It is much lighter this evening. Black out time not 'till 8.30.
February 15th        
Going in a northward direction. The weather is much calmer and hotter. It is getting much lighter in the mornings. Going slower as we are expecting to meet rest of convoy.
February 16th        
As soon as dawn broke we found the rest of the convoy waiting for us consisting of 11 ships and a cruiser. They came from Durban, so we are about 50 miles East of Durban. Sea is fairly rough.
February 17th        
Just entering the Mozambique Channel. The weather is much hotter and the sea calmer. A few birds around.
February 18th        
The weather is very hot, the hottest day we have had on the whole voyage. The sea is also very calm as we are well up the Mozambique Channel. Had swimming sports aboard.
February 19th        
Today the weather is still terrible hot. This sea is full of sharks which can be very often seen on the surface. Allowed water for washing clothes, so we must be near a port. Thunder and lightening all night long and very heavy rain.
February 21st        
Heading north till 4pm, when our boat, Empress of Japan, Windsor Castle and a French boat left the rest of the convoy - we are now heading west.


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February 22nd 1941        
First sighted land about 8am. It was different than the other ports we called at, for instead of mountains, it's all low lying country with marvellous white sand on the beaches. This place is Mombassa in British East Africa. The town itself is on an island, thickly covered with palm trees. We are anchored between Mombassa and the mainland so we have a good view of land on both sides. The mainland is more or less jungle with lots of coloured birds in it. The natives are very much like those at Freetown. This place is terrible hot, though I suppose we must expect it as we are only 4° off the equator.
February 23rd        
Still at the same place. The negroes here wear very highly coloured cloth, red being the chief colour. Our boat has been filled with water. Pocket Battleship reported off Mombassa so we are not likely to leave for a while.
February 24th        
We have now entered the Arabian Sea, which is very blue indeed. The weather is a little cooler. We are going very fast and zig zagging a lot. Past a transfer in the morning.
February 25th        
The day is fairly cloudy and we have had a little rain. Sighted a whale for the first time - quite close.
February 26th        
Today is a lovely day and fairly hot. A General on board gave us a lecture on India.
March 1st            
The sea is still calm. The cruiser Capetown has joined us. At about 1300, smoke was sighted on the horizon. The aircraft took off from the cruiser to investigate what it was.
March 2nd            
The sea is still calm. Saw a shoal of sharks. Past a sailing boat so must be getting near land. We have dropped our power veins so must be mines around.


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March 3rd 1941        
We first sighted land about 6.30. It was a marvellous day and from the entrance of the harbour, Bombay looked a perfect picture with all its domes and white buildings. We anchored in the middle of the harbour about 10.30. At 14.00 we were trans-shipped by gunboat to the Aquitania which is a very large four funnel ship - tonnage being 46,000 tons. We have lovely cabins here and plenty of room, as it is about a quarter of a mile long. It is just over twice the size of the Empress of Australia and the third largest boat in the world. Anchored by us is the Mauritania. There are dozens of canoe boats come to this boat selling fruit and so on. The natives dress very queer in all colours and the men wear sort of skirts and fez's.
March 4th        
It is a lovely day. In the morning dozens of sailing boats went out to sea fishing. From our boat one can see the Gateway of India which is a large arch.
March 5th        
Up to the present the miles we have covered in the Empress are 12,972. She weighed anchor about 2.30pm and with the Empress of Japan and the cruiser Emerald (HM Light Cruiser. Part of Admiral Somerville's Far Eastern Fleet) are steaming south through very calm waters.
March 7th        
Heading in a West direction. Sea is very calm and the weather very hot. A destroyer has picked us up and the cruiser Emerald has left us.
March 8th        
Going down the Malay Straits. We saw several islands today. The weather is very stormy. There is a large cinema on this boat and I go every day.
March 10th      

We are now down the Malacca Straits and there are many islands around. In the evening we anchored off the Island of Singapore.

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  March 11th 1941    
  About 6.30 we entered the harbour. In the entrance was the Queen Mary. We docked about 10 in the dry dock. We were drafted out and my mate was split from me. We left the boat about 12.00 and went by bus to RAF Seletar Aerodrome, which is about 10 miles from the dock. On the way we passed through rubber plantations. Distance Bombay 2,488.
Map of Singapore
  March 12th      

We handed all our English money in and were paid in dollars and cents. Then we were detailed to our block. The blocks are open with verandahs and fans. Very nice and comfortable.





As Singapore only had grass runways, long haul planes used the sea! This Clipper provided a service with the USA. US Clipper seaplane

  March 13th      
  We had a lecture by the CO in charge of the station. In the evening we went to the pictures and in the afternoon went for a swim in a wonderful pool they had here.
  March 14th 1941
  Detailed to Flights - I am in 'A Flight', 36 Squadron, which consist of Vickers Vildabeasts - old biplanes - Torpedo Bombers. Went to the village in the afternoon.


Vickers Vildabeest of 36 Squadron, Singapore

Vickers Vildabeest of 36 Squadron, Singapore

Lionel in uniform

Lionel in uniform with the Straits of Jahore in the background


Our 'flights' were moved around the country to avoid detection and were often using a short grass airstrip to operate from in the middle of the jungle. The photo below is of our group when out on one of these locations near Quanton - the hut was built on stilts to keep the wildlife at bay! In the day, it was very quiet, but at night the air was filled with roars & howls of animals which took some getting used to! We had to shoot wild boar if they got too close. The natives were naked pigmy's with blow pipes.

Sometimes we flew sorties at night and could only very briefly use flares to guide the planes back. We lined up each side with a flare in our hands. As the strip was so small (and narrow), we literally had to duck as the planes landed, to avoid the wings!

Group photo at Quanton Photo of our group in the hut


December 7th 1941

On the same day that the Japs attacked Pearl Harbor, they bombed the airfield at RAF Seletar! Woken from a deep sleep when the first bombs fell! The 24 Jap aircraft flew too high for the Bofors guns and escaped undamaged from this infamous raid. They destroyed the compressor sheds which meant that the two squadrons of aircraft could not go out with torpedoes!

  December 8th 1941                  
Beautiful pic near Butterworth
  Beautiful photo by Lionel of palm trees near Butterworth, a small landing strip in the jungle. The island of Penang is nearby.

Japanese declared war. RAF Seletar bombed at 3am.



The salute to the dead from one of the air raidsThe salute to the dead from one of the air raids



Saw Repulse and Prince of Wales sail out of Jahor Straits - impressive sight - bristling with guns! Some time later, a Walrus (an amphibious aircraft) flew in with the news that both had been sunk!

  February 9th 1942  
  Japanese crossed the causeway and landed in Singapore  


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  February 10th                        
  Small group of RAF groundcrew including me were selected with the aim of escaping to Australia. Sailed in small boat called Perch from Singapore harbour.
  February 12th                        
  Arrived at Palembang (Sumatra) Went up river for refuelling, water etc. About to leave but Japs parachuted on river mouth blocking the exit. We sank ship.
  Batak House, Sumatra Batak House, Sumatra  
  February 16th                        
  Left by train for Hasthawen, a port south of Samatra - terrible thunderstorms!
  February 17th                        
  Arrived at Hasthawen in the morning, boarded a ship and sailed to Meraih (Java). From there travelled by train to Batavia.

Had just two Vildabeests with two 50lb bombs each from a small grass airfield about 20 miles from Botavia. Pilots managed to hit an infantry column to some effect!

  March 8th 1942                      

DUTCH IN JAVA & SUMATRA CAPITULATED - part of the terms of surrender was to hand over British Troops and sink every ship in harbour to prevent escape. So we were on the run from the Dutch!

We took to the mountains, spent a day in tea factory at Pamegaton. Dutch caught us up and put us into camp.
March 9th                  
Ordered by the Dutch to move to Giriawas, had to hand all arms in.
March 12th                
Moved to Dyajasama, a village about 4 miles up in the tea plantation.

While here, my Flight Sergeant and I were asked by the Dutch to go to an airfield in the jungle some 100 miles away to blow up their aircraft before the Japanese got there. This we did including taking all the stored detonators (so the Japanese couldn't use any bombs that survived) back to base. On the way, in the dark, we saw something on the road ahead and fortunately stopped to find a Dutch Howitzer pointing at us. They said it was lucky they hadn't fired at us! (If it had been fired, the detonators would have done the rest!!) So we managed to get back to base safely so as to revert to POW status.

March 20th                
We moved to Garvet and were handed over to the Japanese!


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March 27th 1942                
500 of us moved to Kalichjati an aerodrome in the centre of Java. This was our first POW camp.
August 17th                
Moved by train to Batavia and had to march 8 miles with kit to a coconut plantation which was converted into POW camp Mahasaru.
October 17th              
Marched from Mahasaru to Batura with full kit in middle of day. Boarded Japanese cargo ship at Janjony Prioh & put in hold. No air, no sanitation etc.!
October 23rd              
Put to sea.                  
October 23rd              
Back to Singapore!              
Arrived back at Singapore Harbour. Marched from docks to Changi Camp - distance being 11 miles.

The Anderson Bridge, Singapore from which the Japanes hung executed prisoners' heads!

The Anderson Bridge, Singapore from which the Japanese hung executed prisoners' heads!


The Japs issued their own currency when in occupation

The Japs issued their own currency when in occupation

November 27th            
Taken by lorry to Naval Base where we boarded MS Kamo Kura Mara. This ship was made in Scotland years before! We were put on deck in the bow of the ship with no facilities - as human shields to prevent allied attack.
November 28th            
Put to sea.                  
Anchored outside the harbour at Jai How, Formosa ( now Taiwan).
December 4th 1942                

Arrived at Nagasaki, Japan. Tug boat took 300 of us to an island (Kyagi Island) about 5 miles from Nagasaki.


Started work building ships - putting plates in place before riveting. After six months managed to get a job corking - using a pneumatic gun sealing the joins.

While in camp, we were under the Japanese army while in the docks, we were controlled by the navy. The Navy were much worse!

The Japs never gave us clothes, soap, hot water etc., except a Japanese uniform to wear when the Red Cross came to inspect (only twice!). In this camp we had three seasons: flea season - the bug season and the lice season! We were never free of company!

During this time - never saw any US air raids.

Some Japanese money brought back by LionelSome Japanese money that Lionel brought back
June 21st 1945                
Great day we moved from Devils Island (Kyagi Island). Travelled by ferry boat to Nagasaki. Marched to railway station & travelled by train to Fukuoka 26. This was an Australian POW camp with 1,500 infantry and five of us RAF.
July 13th                        
Started working down a coal mine! About four or five days a month we were sent out to plant sweet potatoes for the prisoners. One day when we were out there, we suddenly saw this large white mushroom in the sky - had no idea at the time what we were seeing!
August 8th                      
350 American aircraft flew over (Great hopes).
August 15th 1945              
Today I was having a rest from the mine and was working on the garden. About 2pm a Japanese soldier came to the gardens with the news that all POW's could stop work as it was a Japanese holiday. We all thought it was very strange. When we returned to the camp there was rumours that war had finished, nobody could really believe it. In the evening the camp CO told us the mine was having a holiday the next day, so we would have a holiday. There was no air raid tonight - hopes still high - no sleep.
August 16th                  
Camp CO told us Peace talks were in progress. Great hopes.
August 17th                    
Japs gave us Red Cross supply Parcels. Everybody has good idea its over, as they have hung onto it for months.
August 18th                  
More Red Cross supplies and comforts issued. It must be over.    
August 24th                    
Great announcement that hostilities have ceased, peace in the world. Free man! Guards will be disarmed. Our officers are in full charge. In a day or so American aircraft will be over. Camp is to be marked.
In the evening some Aussies brought into our camp a water buffalo and slaughtered it in the bathroom. Our first meat meal in three and a half years! Great joke. Good concert in evening everybody happy.
Next day a group of Aussies commandeered a train and went into town. Came back with truck load of money and drink! They'd raided the bank and the brewery!
August 25th                    
We all had our photos taken in groups. Filled in air raid shelters.
August 26th    
Nothing to report. We have had an increase in rice and an issue of sugar. Typhoon warning, very heavy rains.
August 27th    
Had a letter from Fukaska HQ stating that the war finished on 18th August. They said they were very pleased with the work we'd done in the port and they were sorry they could not have done more for us. Lisbon report that we are going to Manila.
August 28th    
About 11 o'clock four Red Cross representatives visited the camp. They told us how the war finished OK. Also it was the first time they were allowed to visit POW camps and they had nothing to do with Red Cross parcels.
About 1.30 a large four engine bomber flew over with POW supplies written underneath. They dropped leaflets with a list of goodies they were going to drop for us. Later seven appear and dropped food and cigs to us, what a day everybody excited seen nothing like this for 3'/2 years. They dropped everything we wanted, what a dinner we had tonight M&W stew with fruit after. Makes me realise I really am a free man. They dropped about 20 large drums full of tin foods, cloths, boot and everything, good old yanks. No sleep tonight, far too excited.
August 29th    
We had a very quiet day, but everybody is contented with big eats. One aircraft flew over but dropped nothing.
August 30th    
Oh boy, what a day, pennies from heaven. About midday over came the good old yanks with about a dozen four engine bombers and dropped us tons of food, papers etc. more than we'd seen in 3'/2 years. Our room is full with tins of food and cigs enough to last a month and they have dropped a message saying they will be over again the day after tomorrow, eating all day and night. I've just realised that life's worth living after all, thank God. I have more chewing gum than I've eaten in my life and fags, well there's thousands, roll on the 1st.
August 31st    
Very little sleep, smoking and eating all night. Some yank prisoners from Camp 23 visited us.


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September 1st 1945                
20 of us visited Camp 23, an American camp about 3 miles from ours. This was my first freedom walk it did seem strange. I was paid $62 85c back pay.
9.15 PEACE..... POW no more!!          
September 2nd                
All Japanese guards have left camp and our chaps have started guard. We went for a long walk in the afternoon. Not able to buy a thing. What a poverty stricken dump.
September 3rd                
Pelted with rain all day. Chinese camp visited. In the afternoon went to village, got my watch repaired and brought some potatoes. Had fried chips for supper.
September 4th                
Another very wet day, several fellows came here from other camps. Stayed in all day.
September 5th              
Lovely day, we went for a long walk in the afternoon. I weighed my weight being 60 kilos. I have put on 8 kilos since I've been free. Heard over radio 1,000 POW's have left.
September 6th                
Weather not so good so stayed in camp all day. Some Aussie friends visited me.
September 7th                
It was a grand day, so we decided to visit 21 camp where all the RAF chaps are. Left by train at 9.30 and arrived about 11, what a welcome I had, they have done well for food supplies. Came over the radio that 7,000 POW's had left Japan.
September 8th              
Our CO sent telegraph for food as we're running short. Went to a garden and dug sweet potatoes, boiled them for supper.
7,000 POW's have left.            
September 9th                
Visited the Chinese camp which is about 2 miles from ours. Had a good feed of bread. 11,000 POWs have left.
September 11th              
Very wet day so stayed in camp. Had hair cut back and sides.
September 12th          
Visited 21 camp had a very good meal. Red Cross supplies, very lucky camp.
September 13th          
Wet day - stayed in camp - went for a walk, returned and heard good news. We leave on the 20th September. What we've been waiting to hear.
September 14th          
Went to camp 21 to see Prosser. Had a swim in a pool. Had a very enjoyable day. Big eats in that camp.
September 15th          
Went to camp 10 Yank camp had good time saw US Army expecting visit. Had bottle of beer.
September 16th          
Our sick have moved by train to Fukusha from there by plane to Manila. 2 bottles of beer tonight. Won't be long now.
September 17th          
At least the US Army has arrived. Sent a cablegram home. Filled form of details, moving soon.
September 18th          
Big news on the move tomorrow 7 o'clock.


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September 19th 1945          
I think this is the greatest day of my life. We left camp at 8 am and went by train to Nagasaki. What a sight, the atom bomb had just flattened the place. We went straight to the docks and there saw a big Yank fleet. Here we started living again, coffee and doughnuts OK. After that we were taken through showers and deloused. Given new clothes, toilet and cigs and away we went to the jetty had some cheese sandwiches and got on a small boat that took us to a Yank transport this was about 8pm. Had some supper and went to a picture show first for 3'/2 years. I did enjoy it. We turned in about 10 o'clock.
September 20th        
This morning we had a good breakfast and set sail at 10am. What a happy moment when I saw Japan fading out of sight. Good-bye Japan for ever. It's a grand day and we passed many small islands.
September 21st        
Heading south until 3pm when we passed round the island and then sighted about 200 ships and aircraft in the air, like flies, it is Barkner Bay. At 5pm dropped anchor. Went to pictures in evening.
September 22nd        
We stayed here overnight, what a sight, all the ships lights. In the morning we were met by invasion barges that took us ashore. We landed at a makeshift jetty as this was where the invasion took place. From here we went to a camp made up of tents. Plenty of everything, thanks to Yanks and Red Cross.

September 24th        
On the move again. About 7.30 we left by truck for Chinowa Airport. Here we boarded a B24 Liberator and after a very enjoyable trip of 5 hours we landed at Charlesfield Aerodrome, north of Luzon, an Island situated in the Philippines. Here we spent the night.



September 25th        
About 7.30 we left camp and went to aerodrome. Here we boarded a transport aircraft and flew to Manila. We then travelled by bus to a large camp for each nationality. Plenty of everything, met first RAF officers.
September 27th        
Boarded US transport at Manila harbour about 2pm and at 3.30 set sail. The first stop is Leyte.
September 28th        
Headed south till about noon when we changed direction to East. We are now passing south of Luzon.
September 29th        
About l0am we sighted large number of ships, this is Leyte. We stayed here for an hour and then hit the trail in an easterly direction.
October 3rd              
Another stormy day, sea fairly calm. Noon we passed 180 miles N of Fruck in the Carolinas.
October 5th              
Heading NE. A fine day for change. At midnight tonight we pass 200 miles SE Wake Island.
October 7th            
We have gone back a day as we have crossed the 180 meridian. Little calmer.
October 8th            
We are now 200 mile E of Midway Islands and 2,600 miles from San Francisco. Weather fair, sea calm.
October 9th              
Weather much cooler. Position is now 750 miles NE Honolulu. Sea still calm.
October 13th              
Weather quite chilly. Had disembarkation drill. Wont be long.


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October 15th              

San Francisco





The Golden Gate Bridge

San Francisco
At 8am we passed 'Frisco lightship, picked up a pilot and passed through the Golden Gates at 9.30. There was a big sign hanging on the bridge - it said "Howdy folks, welcome home!" A little foggy. We went ashore about noon, were welcomed by British Red Cross, had coffee and doughnuts and boarded ferry. After half hour trip landed at Angel Island, this island overlooks San Francisco.
October 16th              
Had busy day eating real food.
October 17th              
Paid $14. Eating ice cream all day.
October 18th              
Boarded ferry at Angel Island pier at 8pm, had an hours trip across San Francisco Bay. Here we boarded Pullman train, 1st class, what a grand train.
October 19th              
Lovely beds and sheets, passed through Sacramento about l0am and Maryville in the afternoon. For 6 hours we passed through Feather River Canyon, nothing but mountain passes. State Nevada.
October 20th              
All morning were been crossing Bonnerville Salt Flats. Arrived at Wendover, State Utah at noon. More salt flats, arrived Salt Lake City 4pm.
October 21st              
Woke up to find 6 inches of snow. l0am Laramie 7,150ft. Nochijc Mountain, Cheyenne, Wyoming. Sidney 4,010 ft Nebraska. 2.15pm Omaha midnight crossed Missouri.
October 22nd              
Waterloo 12, Freeport 2.30. Crossed Mississippi River 1.30. Arrived Chicago 8pm. Changed trains, boarded National Canadian train.

October 23rd              
Crossed border into Canada 6.30am. Arrived Sarnia, Province of Ontario, Canada. Toronto noon. Red Cross good. Montreal 8.30. Wonderful time.
October 24th              

Passed St. Lawrence River, Mount Joh 9am. Eventually arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Came back home on the Queen Elizabeth! A fairly empty ship as most troops were going the other way!


Arrived at Southampton - no welcoming party! Not like San Francisco with the banners, bands etc. Typical British!!

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Distance Travelled

Pacific run   7,130

Across USA   2,443

Across Canada   1,691    

Okinawa to Manila 922

Nagasaki to Okinawa 450

Died at Kalichjati

Paddy Gratton   F/Sgt


Men from 36 and 100 Squadron who died at Kawanami Island



W C   Chatfield   36 Sqd

Taff   Morgan   F/Sgt 100 Sqd


Joe   Sladden   LAC   36 Sqd


Bert   Leach   AC   36 Sqd


Jock   Duffy   LAC   36 Sqd


Sharrocho   AC   36 Sqd


Jock   Fisher   AC   36 Sqd


Jock   Smith   AC   36 Sqd


Jock   Jones   AC   36 Sqd


F    Heslop   Cpl   36 Sqd


Sam   Compton   LAC   100 Sqd

Died en route to Kawanami Island  

P    Lilmore   F/Sgt 100Sgd


Artis   WO   36 Sqd


A   Hateral   36 Sqd


Simpson   36 Sqd   Nagasaki


Brooker   36 Sqd


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