Heroes Return Blog – Stories from Second World War veterans’ trips

Mrs J M Wainwright visits the Far East by The National Lottery Community Fund
July 23, 2010, 2:00 pm
Filed under: Army, Singapore | Tags: ,

My husband served with the 125th Anti-Tank Regiment, or “Sunderland’s Own”, and was sent to Singapore after the Japanese entered the war. His ship, Empress of Asia, was sunk in Singapore harbour and the men had to swim ashore. They had no equipment and were split up to join other regiments wherever there was a spare gun. My husband was sent to Bukit Timah Ridge where he found himself pinned down and unable to move because of sniper fire. He was rescued by the swift and brave actions of a Gurkha soldier and was able to return to his comrades. When Singapore was taken over my husband was captured by the Japanese and set to work building the Burma-Siam railway. This railway is sometimes referred to as the Railway of Death as conditions were so harsh. Many men died, and are buried at Chung Kai cemetery. In 1984 my husband and I joined a trip to Singapore, Thailand and Hong Kong – this also included a visit to Chung Kai cemetery and a trip down the River Kwai on the River Boat Hotel. We celebrated my husband’s 64th birthday on that trip and he died a few weeks later. His ashes were interred at Chung Kai and what was to have been a “once in a lifetime trip” for me has become an almost yearly visit to say hello and leave some flowers.

2 Comments so far
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Hello, would your husband of known my grandfather, his name was Sgt William J Maton 786200 of the 125th anti-tank regt? Regards Trev

Comment by trevor cutler

hi my grandad’s name is samuel hartley sharples he died on 11th february 1942 on the invasion of singapore he was on the empress of asia and could not swim and was helped to shore unfortunatley in died pinned down by the japenese we have just recieved his medals jan 2016 by his youngest daughter ann and we will treasure them as a family i think these soldiers are forgotten and the only ones that are remembered are in france they are like what the usa did to thier soldiers in vietnam because they didn’t win

Comment by sheila greaves

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