Saturday, 30 March 2013


Jenny Hill writes.....My father was General Wavell and Percivals short hand writer in Singapore and actually wrote the diary of Singapore.  He escaped Singapore on the 13th February and although he was listed missing presumed dead for a long time he (or the 30 men he had in his control) were never captured.

He told the story of the Chinese paddle ship S. S. Wuchang.   They had no guns or ammo so my father got them to upturn a wheel barrow and threw tarpolelin over it and place two broom handles to represent guns.   The paddle ship was torpedoed but as the paddle ship had a flat bottom it went straight underneath and they watched it come out the other side.  They apparently walked across Sumatra 
Enlisted as Clerk R.A.S.C. 1931, to Singapore February 1939
Staff Sergeant Major (W/O 1) No S54084, W.Q. Malaya Command, Chief Clerk Gerneral Staff Operations, Captain 366394 on Staff ROYAL ARMY SERVICE CORSPS, authorised to escape from Singapore on H.M.S. MALLACCA to Sumatra where it was scutted, then via H.M.S.DAME from Padang  to Cilicapl Java. Then to Ceylon on Chinese paddle ship S.S. Wuchang, April 1942.

Further staff postings in Ceylon, and UK 1944 S.T. Directorate, War Office, then OIC Pembroke Dock Barracks, and Chief Instructor Hereford Training School. Retired 1948 and joined T.A. as Captain R.A.(T.A.) 425 Pembs. Coast Regt. Transferred to 302 Pembrokeshire Yeomanry Field Regt. R.A. until disbanded .
Decorations – territorial Decoration.
1939-45 Star: Pacific Star, Defence Medal; War Medal.

details: -
Arrived Singapore March 1939. Attached 52 M.T. Coy R.A.S.C. at Alexandra Barracks. Duty with Transp
 Service ort Office R.A.S.C. Malaya Command and later as Chief Clerk with mixed military responsible for allocation of Military and civilian transport, civilian labour, water transport (held by No.4 Water Transport R.A.S.C. AT Pulan Brani) and all shipping movements and control. (Military).

My father died aged 90 in 2002. 

A great book on the fall of Singapore - "a naked island"

Dr. Nigel Starck, Biographer of Russell Braddon visits Singapore
By Andrew Glynn
In January I had the chance to meet with Nigel Starck and talk about his excellent biography on Australian author Russell Braddon.

Surviving the horrors of the Thai-Burma railway, Russell Braddon aged 21 weighed just 32.7kg.

Drawing on his experience as a Gunner in the 2/15th Field Artillery and the horrid conditions as a Japanese prisoner slave, Braddon wrote a gripping yet critical narrative. The “The Naked Island”, condemned by Australian officers, has sold over 2 million copies and remains in print.

Struggling to re-adjust in post war Australia, Braddon suffered a mental breakdown, attempted suicide and spent five months in a mental institution.  Booking a passage to England with the last of his army pay, what followed was a prolific writing career of 15 fiction and 15 non-fiction books and a distinguished BBC career.

Finally, the fascinating life of Russell Braddon has been immortalized in “Proud Australian Boy”, by Dr. Nigel Starck, of the University of South Australia.

Braddon hoped a biography would never be written. Indeed after a long career in London, he destroyed his personal papers before returning to Australia. Beneath the fa├žade of Russell Braddon, lay a largely concealed personal life at odds with values of that time.

Which makes this biography all the more extraordinary. Building from Braddon’s surviving papers, Nigel Starck embarked on a remarkable journey of discovery that brought him in contact with his former Managers, Accountants, friends and partners. Including Dame Joan Sutherland (who writes the forward), the artist Ronald Searle (creator of St. Trinians and Thai Burma railway veteran) and actress Lesley Hazlitt (formerly Piddington).

This is a remarkably detailed and captivating biography (now an entrant for Australian Biography of the Year), and I thank Dr. Starck for sharing details of his journey of discovery with us.  It’s a little hard to buy, and the best way to get a copy is direct from Australian Scholarly Publishing

Reginald L Nunn

Philip Nunn writes
It is only in the last few weeks that I have been tracing my family history and discovered that my Grandfather's cousin Reginald L Nunn and his wife Gertrude were lost on the SS Roosaboom in 1942. It is essential and indeed encouraging and that these facts are recorded and not forgotten about.
Kind Regards