|Kranji War Cemetery and the Singapore Memorial|
Looking towards the Singapore Memorial
Kranji War Cemetery is 22 kilometres north of the city of Singapore, on the north side of Singapore Island overlooking the Straits of Johore. It is just off the Singapore-Johore road (Woodlands Road) at the milestone 13 1/2, and there is a short approach road from the main road. The Cemetery is known locally as Kranji Memorial and one must be sure of the address before boarding a taxi as most taxi drivers do not know the Cemetery. There are also bus stops on the main road facing the Cemetery. An MRT terminal will be found a short distance from the Cemetery.
Before 1939 the Kranji area was a military camp and at the time of the Japanese invasion of Malaya, it was the site of a large ammunition magazine. On 8 February 1942, the Japanese crossed the Johore Straits in strength, landing at the mouth of the Kranji River within two miles of the place where the war cemetery now stands. On the evening of 9 February, they launched an attack between the river and the causeway. During the next few days fierce fighting ensued, in many cases hand to hand, until their greatly superior numbers and air strength necessitated a withdrawal. After the fall of the island, the Japanese established a prisoner of war camp at Kranji and eventually a hospital was organised nearby at Woodlands. After the reoccupation of Singapore, the small cemetery started by the prisoners at Kranji was developed into a permanent war cemetery by the Army Graves Service when it became evident that a larger cemetery at Changi could not remain undisturbed. Changi had been the site of the main prisoner of war camp in Singapore and a large hospital had been set up there by the Australian Infantry Force. In 1946, the graves were moved from Changi to Kranji, as were those from the Buona Vista prisoner of war camp. Many other graves from all parts of the island were transferred to Kranji together with all Second World War graves from Saigon Military Cemetery in French Indo-China (now Vietnam), another site where permanent maintenance could not be assured. The Commission later brought in graves of both World Wars from Bidadari Christian Cemetery, Singapore, where again permanent maintenance was not possible. There are now 4,461 Commonwealth casualties of the Second World War buried or commemorated at Kranji War Cemetery. More than 850 of the burials are unidentified. The Chinese Memorial in Plot 44 marks a collective grave for 69 Chinese servicemen, all members of the Commonwealth forces, who were killed by the Japanese during the occupation in February 1942. First World War burials and commemorations number 64, including special memorials to three casualties known to have been buried in civil cemeteries in Saigon and Singapore, but whose graves could not be located. Within Kranji War Cemetery stands the Singapore Memorial, bearing the names of over 24,000 casualties of the Commonwealth land and air forces who have no known grave. The land forces commemorated by the memorial died during the campaigns in Malaya and Indonesia or in subsequent captivity, many of them during the construction of the Burma-Thailand railway, or at sea while being transported into imprisonment elsewhere. The memorial also commemorates airmen who died during operations over the whole of southern and eastern Asia and the surrounding seas and oceans.
The Singapore (Unmaintainable Graves) Memorial, which stands at the western end of the Singapore Memorial, commemorates more than 250 casualties who died in campaigns in Singapore and Malaya, whose known graves in civil cemeteries could not be assured maintenance and on religious grounds could not be moved to a war cemetery. The Singapore Cremation Memorial, which stands immediately behind the Singapore Memorial, commemorates almost 800 casualties, mostly of the Indian forces, whose remains were cremated in accordance with their religious beliefs. The Singapore Civil Hospital Grave Memorial stands at the eastern end of the Singapore Memorial. During the last hours of the Battle of Singapore, wounded civilians and servicemen taken prisoner by the Japanese were brought to the hospital in their hundreds. The number of fatalities was such that burial in the normal manner was impossible. Before the war, an emergency water tank had been dug in the grounds of the hospital and this was used as a grave for more than 400 civilians and Commonwealth servicemen. After the war, it was decided that as individual identification of the dead would be impossible, the grave should be left undisturbed. The grave was suitably enclosed, consecrated by the Bishop of Singapore, and a cross in memory of all of those buried there was erected over it by the military authorities. The 107 Commonwealth casualties buried in the grave are commemorated on the Singapore Civil Hospital Grave Memorial. Kranji War Cemetery and the Singapore Memorial were designed by Colin St Clair Oakes. Adjoining Kranji War Cemetery is Kranji Military Cemetery, a substantial non-world war site of 1,378 burials, created in 1975 when it was found necessary to remove the graves of servicemen and their families from Pasir Panjang and Ulu Pandan cemeteries.
WALTER ERNEST BROWN
Rank: Gunner, Service No: NX35492, Date of Death: 28/02/1942, Age: 55, Regiment/Service: Royal Australian Artillery A.I.F. 2/15 Fd. Regt. , Awards: V C, D C M, Panel Reference Column 115, Son of Francis Samuel and Agnes Brown; husband of Maude Brown, of Carlton, New South Wales, Australia.
Citation: The citation in the London Gazette for 16th August, 1918, gives the following details:- The company to which Corporal Brown was attached carried out during the night a minor operation, capturing a small system of enemy trenches. Early the next morning the occupants of the newly captured trench were persistently sniped at from an enemy strong-point about 70 yards away. Corporal Brown, on his own initiative made a dash towards that post, which he reached in spite of machine-gun fire. Threatening the occupants with a Mills grenade, he induced them all to come out, and, through further machine-gun fire, brought back prisoner one officer and eleven other ranks
JAMES BRINDLEY NICOLSON
Rank: Wing Commander, Service No: 39329, Date of Death: 02/05/1945, Age: 29, Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force 355 Sqdn. , Awards: V C, D F C, Panel Reference Column 445., Son of Leslie Gibson Nicolson and Dorothea Hilda Nicolson; husband of Muriel Caroline Nicolson, of Kirkby Wharfe, Yorkshire.
Citation: The citation in the London Gazette of 15th November, 1940, gives the following details: On August 16th, 1940, during an air battle near Southampton, four cannon shells hit wing Cdr. Nicolson's aircraft, two wounding him and one setting fire to the gravity tank. When about to abandon his plane he sighted an enemy fighter which, despite the flames in his cockpit, he attacked and brought down. In so doing he incurred serious burns on his hands, face and neck. In continuing to engage the enemy although wounded and with his aircraft on fire, wing Cdr. Nicolson displayed exceptional gallantry and disregard for his own life.
4746298, Lance Bombardier
85 Anti-Tank Regt.
31/07/1945, aged 25.
Son of William and Kathleen Bradley, of Worplesdon, Surrey.
Plot 16. E. 6.
Bernard and his brother
survived evacuation from Dunkirk and shortly after some leave, were drafted
to Singapore. Both became POWs on the fall of Singapore. Harry survived and
continued to serve in the Royal Artillery until he was 55, finishing as Sergeant Major.
Photo Courtesy of Peter Magnall, Cousin of Bernard Bradley
993595 Aircraftman 2nd Class
William Forbes Petrie Brodie
Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
29/11/1943, aged 29.
Column 429, Singapore Memorial,
Kranji War Cemetery
Picture and text courtesy of Heather Johnson (niece to Wm F.P. Brodie)
Son of George Brown Brodie and Margaret Brodie (nee
Petrie) of Rattray,
one of many souls who lost their lives on the Japanese ship 'Suez
James Bryce MacLaren Pryde
2/18th Bn. Australian Infantry
27/01/1942, aged 24.
James Bryce MacLaren Pryde was born in Edinburgh, Scotland 20/1/1918 and emigrated to McMahons Point, New South Wales, Australia with his parents William and Jean Law Keith Pryde in 1937.
James enlisted in the Australian Army at Paddington in the Wahroonga area of Sydney. His service number was NX50220 and he gave his father as next of kin.
James saw fighting in Singapore and died in Changi hospital on 27/1/1942. James is buried/commemorated on Panel 42 at Kranji Military Cemetery.
Son of Scotland buried in a foreign field - remembered by his family
957318 Aircraftman 1st Class Freddie Taylor
84 Sqdn. Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
24/11/1943, aged 24.
Singapore Memorial, column 428.
Son of Ada Taylor and Edward Taylor of Hindhead Surrey
Freddie's family will never forget the sacrifice that he and others made, and would love to hear from anyone who knew of him
Picture courtesy of Pam Perry
3 Sub. Base Post Office
Indian Army Postal Service
William Phillips of the Indian Army was posted to Singapore in July 1941. He was taken Prisoner of War when Singapore fell in February 1942.
He was declared missing presumed dead as at 1st September 1946 and is now commemorated on Column 358 of the Singapore Memorial. He was the husband of Marie Phillips of Bangalore City, India and his children are Noel, Joyce, Kevin and Ian Phillips
Picture courtesy of his son, Kevin Phillips
1st/5th Bn. Sherwood Foresters
12/09/1944, aged 26.
Column 71. Singapore Memorial
Husband of Freda Burch of 40 Chestnut ave Newark Notts.
He worked on the Burma Railway but was to be sent to Singapore on one of 2 Japanese ships The Hachidoki Maru or the Rakuyo Maru both of which where torpedoed by 2 US Submarines, the USS Pampanito and the USS Sealion on the 12/09/1944.
Column 71. Singapore Memorial
Picture courtesy of Pete Stevens
Thomas John French
Royal Artillery 420 Battery
148 (The Bedfordshire Yeomanry) Field Regiment
03/02/1942 aged 26.
Son of Thomas James French and Ethel Jane French of Camelford, Cornwall
Extract taken from the Cornish and Devon Post dated 07/03/1942.
Sergeant Thomas John French aged 26, the eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. T. French, of Lane End, Camelford, has died of wounds received whilst on active service in the Far East. In 1931 at the early age of 15, he enlisted in the Royal Artillery as a trumpeter. Showing signs of great promise, he soon won his 3rd and 2nd class certificates and in 1933 was drafted to Egypt where he served for six years and four months. Whilst in Egypt and in is 17th year he won his first class certificate. Returning to England in 1939 he was promoted to sergeant. Last year he went to the Far East where he died on the 3rd of February. Much sympathy is felt with his parents and the other members of his family in their loss. Three Camelford lads representative of the Navy, Army and Air Force have now made the Supreme Sacrifice for their country.
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