The Manchester Regiment Forum

World War 2 => 1939 - 1945 => Topic started by: Depiazzi1974 on August 18, 2021, 05:36:34 AM

Title: Manchester Regiment 1st bn
Post by: Depiazzi1974 on August 18, 2021, 05:36:34 AM
Hi my name is Marie
I am trying to find some information about my Great uncle who served in the Manchester Regiment 1st Bn.
PRIVATE FRED CROWTHER is his full name.
Service Number: 3528299
Regiment & Unit/Ship
Manchester Regiment
1st Bn.
Born 1915 Glossop.
Date of Death
Died 08 October 1943
Age 28 years old
If anyone can put me in the right direction to where i can find any information i would really appreciate it thank you.

Title: Re: Manchester Regiment 1st bn
Post by: mack on August 19, 2021, 02:43:35 PM
hiya marie
he lived at 79 kershaw st,glossop
died of cholera at takanun POW camp 8-10-43
born 2-1-1915
parents irvine+esther,married whitefield church,glossop 27-6-1914
part of the group of POWs who were known as H.force who left singapore to work on the railway.
prisoner number 3346 then changed to 5267
fred served in palestine in 1938,he sailed from cairo on the troopship dilwara on 4th october 1938 bound for singapore,arriving on 20th october,where he and the 1st manchesters were based in tanglin barracks
as well as his siblings,he also had a half brother edward who was from a relationship his father irvine had with miss may stobbart of clough,little hayfield,edward was born 15th august 1918

Title: Re: Manchester Regiment 1st bn
Post by: rafboy on August 20, 2021, 08:58:13 PM
Hi Marie
Put his service number in the search box too right of the page.
My father came from Glossop.
I am away from home at the moment, you could search on his number as well. It’s 3525679.
When I get home I should be able to send you his grave photo.
Mack has given you the relevant information on him.
Title: Re: Manchester Regiment 1st bn
Post by: Depiazzi1974 on August 22, 2021, 03:50:24 AM
Wow this is incredible. i knew about his parents but not much about his regiment and his service. i was shocked to hear he had a half sibling .
thank you for the leads.
Title: Re: Manchester Regiment 1st bn
Post by: Depiazzi1974 on August 22, 2021, 07:43:51 AM
 I would love to share a letter i got from a man who wrote to us about him and many other men who were with them.
THE Japanese told us we were going to a health resort. We were delighted. They told us to take pianos and gramophone records. They would supply the gramophones. We were overjoyed and we took them. Dwindling rations and a heavy toll of sickness were beginning to play on our fraying nerves and emaciated bodies. It all seemed like a bolt from the tedium of life behind barbed wire in Changi, Singapore. They said: “Send the sick, it will do them good.” And we believed them, and so we took them all.||The first stage of the journey to this new found Japanese Paradise was not quite so promising. Yes, they took our kit and they took our bodies, — the whole lot — in metal goods wagons, 35 men per truck through Malaya’s beating, relentless sun for 5 days and 5 nights to Thailand, the land of the free. For food, we had a small amount of rice and some “hogwash” called stew. We sat and sweated, fainted and hoped. Then at Bam pong station in Thailand they said: “All men go.” “Marche, Marche !“ We said:||“What! We’re coming for a holiday.” They just laughed and in that spiteful, derisive, scornful laugh which only a prisoner of war in Japanese hands can understand, we knew that here was another piece of Japanese bushido — deceit.||Our party marched, or rather dragged themselves for 17 weary nights, 220 miles through the jungles of Thailand. Sodden to the skin, up to our middles in mud, broken in body, helping each other as best we could, we were still undefeated in spirit. Night after night, each man nursed in his heart the bitter anger of resentment. As we lay down in the open camps — clearings in the jungle, nothing more — we slept, dreaming of home and better things. As we eat boiled rice and drank onion water, we thought of -eggs and bacon.||We arrived, 1680 strong at No.2 Camp, Songkran, Thailand, which will stand out as the horror hell of Prison Camps. From this 1680 less than 250 survive today to tell its tale. Our accommodation consisted of bamboo huts without roofs. The monsoon had begun, and the rain beat down. Work — slave work — piling earth and stones in little skips on to a railway embankment began imme¬diately. It began at 5 o’clock in the morning and finished at 9 o’clock at night and even later than that. Exhausted, starved and benumbed in spirit we toiled because if we did not, we and our sick would starve. As it was the sick had half rations because the Japanese said ‘No work, no food.”||Then came cholera. This turns a full-grown man into an emaciated skeleton overnight. 20, 30, 40, and 50 deaths were the order of the day. The medical ‘kit we had brought could not come with us. We were told it would come on. It never did. We improvised bamboo holders for saline transfusions, and used boiled river water and common salt to put into the veins of the victims. Cholera raged. The Japanese still laughed and asked “How many dead men? “ We still had to work, and work harder. Presently, come dysentery and Beri - Beri — that dreaded disease bred of malnutrition and starvation. Tropical ulcers, diphtheria, mumps, small-pox, all added to the misery and squalor of the camp on the hillside where water flowed unceasingly through the huts at the bottom. A rising feeling of resentment against the Japanese, the- weather and general living conditions coupled with the knowledge that their officers could do little or nothing about it, made life in the camp full of dread that each day would bring something worse. The lowest daily death rate came down to 17 only as late as September 1943, when the weather improved and things began to get a little better. Yet we had to work, there was no way out of it. Escape through the jungle as many gallant parties attempted, would only end in starvation and disease, and if the party survived and were eventually captured, the torture which followed was worse than death itself.||We were dragged out by the hair to go to work, beaten with bamboo poles and mocked at. We toiled, half-naked in the cold, unfriendly rain of Upper Thailand. We had no time to wash and if we. Did it mean Cholera? By day we never saw our bed spaces (on long platforms of those bleak hundred meters -huts). Our comrades died, we could not honour them even at the graveside because we were still working.||The spirit of the jungle hovered over this Valley of the Shadow of Death and my boys used to ask me constantly: “How long now Padre? What’s the news?” We had the news. Capt. James Mudie, who now broad¬casts from here, by an amazing piece of skill and resource, got it and gave it to us. And we lay and starved, suffered, hoped and prayed.||Never in my life have 1 seen such tragic gallantry as was shown by those men who lay on the bamboo slats and I speak now as a priest who ministered the last riles to all of them. Yet they died happy. Yes, happy to be released from pain, happy because our cause would not be suffered to fail among the nations of the earth.||No Medical Officers or orderlies ever had to contend with such fantastic, sickening, soul destroying conditions of human ailment. No body of men could have done better. We sank low in spirit, in sickness and in human conduct, but over that dark valley there rose the sun of hope which warned shrunken frames and wearied souls.||Here I would like to pay tribute to the Stirling work and worth of some Officers amongst many to whom many men now living may owe their lives — Lt. Cal. Andy Dillon, RIASC, Lt. Cal. John Huston, RAMC, and to Lt. Cal. Hutchison, MC, known affectionately to us as “Hutch” also to Capt. E.J. Emery, who tended the sick even from his bedside and to Major Bruce Hunt of the Australian Imperial Forces. One cheering result comes from this dismal epoch in our lives, the coming close together in friend¬ship and mutual understanding between the men of the United Kingdom and the men of Australia.||A new understanding has been born and will endure amongst those who think over the things which are of good report. Those of us that came out of that hell, thank God for deliverance and for the memory of just men made perfect, whose examples as martyrs at the hands of the Japanese blaze yet another trail in the annals of human perseverance.|| ||Singapore,||12th September 1945.|| ||Printed on board M.S. SOBIESKI — in the Mediterranean Sea. 18th October 1945.|| ||This is a scanned copy of the original || ||Of the 500 men who arrived, 200 died on the way, 25 survived, your uncle was among them, however he was sick with dysentery, malnutrition and general disability and along with several others was sent back down the line to Kanchanaburi for onward transportation to Singapore and on to Japan. Unfortunately, your Fred Crowther died on the 8th October 1943. He was one of the 3000 men I had been honored to sound the last post at his funeral.

Title: Re: Manchester Regiment 1st bn
Post by: mack on August 22, 2021, 03:20:38 PM
hiya marie
thanks for posting the letter extracts,it sounds like it was written by bugler 3528633 arthur lane who lived at 264 greg st,reddish,he sounded the last post to 3000 men,but the letter seems to indicate it was written by a padre ???,the MS sobieski was a polish passenger ship that evacuated the surviving POWs from singapore in september 1945.

these are the names of the officers mentioned in the letter

captain james,francis mudie,royal signals
Lt/colonel francis,joseph dillon[andy]indian army service corps,awarded a OBE for his services as a POW
Lt/colonel john huston,196th field ambulance,18th division
Lt/ colonel cecil tate hutchinson,military cross,18th division HQs
captain edward,joseph emery,royal army medical corps
major bruce,atlee hunt australian army

Title: Re: Manchester Regiment 1st bn
Post by: rafboy on August 24, 2021, 05:11:57 PM
Hi again Marie

Here is Fred's Grave photo for you.

I don't have his POW Record Card, they are kept in the National Archive at Kew. If you contact TBRC they will provide you with all the information that is on his. See:
Use the contact us link.