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The Rescue of Australian and British Prisoners of War by Four USS Submarines September 1944

by Eugene A. Mazza, ROSUB@AOL.COM, 1 NOV 2001 (photo to right)

I tried to gather, in one place, all of the names and any other information about the Australian and British Prisoners of War that were rescued by the four United States Submarines during the period of 15 September to 17 September 1944. These submarines were the USS Pampanito SS383, USS Sealion SS 315, USS Queenfish SS393 and the USS Barb SS220.

I have very little about the rescue and tender care that each prisoner received by the respective corpsmen and their assistants. The details are fully covered in the books “Return From The River Kwai “, “Thunder Below” and the war patrol report of each submarine. The few details in this article were taken, in some cases word for word, from the above sources.

On the night of 9 September 1944, the "Busters", a wolfpack, under the command of Cdr. Oakley was ordered to rendezvous on September 11, and to intercept a convoy that left Singapore and was headed for Japan. The Busters consisted of the USS Growler SS 215, [Cdr. T. B. Oakley], USS Sealion SS315, [Cdr. Eli T. Reich] and the USS Pampanito SS383, [LtCdr. Paul E.Summers]. Later that night, the "Eradicators", another wolfpack, including the USS Queenfish SS 393, [LtCdr. Paul E. Summers and the USS Barb SS 220, [Cdr. Eugene B. Fluckey] were ordered to act as backstop and to move in on the convoy, as well.

Growler, first to arrive at the meeting point on the night of the 11th, found light overcast and calm seas with rain on the horizon. The USS Sealion, after loading with torpedoes and fuel, put to sea again from Saipan, to rejoin her wolf pack and continue her second patrol. Sealion surfaced nearby around 2000 hours. Pampanito moved in an hour and a half later. The boats exchanged recognition signals with the SJ radar and moved within 100 yards of Growler to receive vocal instructions for the attack. The wolfpack moved to the expected position of the approaching convoy.

In the predawn hours of September 12, 1944, Ben's Busters wolfpack contacted the nine-ship convoy with seven escorts in the Convoy College area. The original convoy, which left Singapore for Japan on 6 September, consisted of six- Japanese ships with five escorts. Crammed aboard the Rakuyo Maru were 1318 POWs. Consisting of 600 English and 717 Australian and 1 American. These captives were being transported to slave in the Emperor's factories and mines. Of the five other ships in the convoy, two were heavily laden transports; another was a large freighter carrying rubber and rice. The remaining two were loaded oil tankers and five escorts. On the night of 12 September the convoy was proceeding northward in three columns. This convoy united with 5 ships and two escorts from a southern Philippine convoy.

Between 0100 and 0130 all three submarines contacted the convoy by radar some 300 miles off Hainan. The submarines swung into action. At 0155 the Growler began the show by attacking from the convoy's starboard side. Putting a torpedo into the Hirado, the leading escort vessel on the starboard bow. The frigate blew up amidships, burst into flames and sank within a few minutes. At 0534 Commander Reich drove the Sealion into attack on the convoy's starboard side. In two minutes time, two torpedoes hit the passenger-cargoman Nankai Maruin the center of the formation; another torpedo hit a large transport leading the right column, and two more hit the Rakuyo Maru. The Japanese aboard the latter immediately abandoned ship. The unfortunate prisoners, left to fend for themselves, somehow got free of the ship, and into the water. The Nankai Maru went down in about half an hour. The Rakuyo Maru sank late in the afternoon.

In the attacks, which followed this encounter, four ships and two escorts were sunk and several others damaged, the Rakuyo being among those who went down via the Sealion's torpedoes. She sank slowly, giving the Japanese crew and guards ample time to make off in the lifeboats, leaving the prisoners to shift for themselves. The prisoners were 1,318 English, Australian and I American prisoners of war being transported from Singapore to Japan. This fact was unknown to anyone and it only came to light when some of the survivors were saved.

At 0130 on the morning of September 12, Pampanito's ace radar technician, George Moffett, picked up several pips on the screen at a range of over fifteen miles.

Pampanito again picked up the convoy on high periscope (using the periscope fully extended while on the surface to increase viewing range) at noon the next day, and tracked it westward. Just after dark, Summers moved in for a surface attack, but had to pull the sub back when he learned that the torpedo in tube #4 had moved forward in the tube and had a "hot run" (the torpedo engine was running inside the tube at high speed being held back by the closed outer door). Although the warhead of a torpedo was designed to be unarmed until it had run through the water for a few hundred feet, the crew knew that torpedoes could be temperamental. Pampanito was pulled back to disengage a jammed gyro setter caused by the hot run. Summers then quickly moved in again to set up the attack with the dud torpedo still in tube #4. A few minutes later the boat was once again in position.

"LT.CDR Summers at 2240 Fired five torpedoes forward; three at large transport and two at large AK....Swung hard right and at 2243 Fired four stern tubes; two at each of the two AK's in the farthest column. Saw 3 hits in large AP, two hits in large AK (Targets No. 1 and 2) and one hit in AK (farthest column) heard and timed hit in fourth AK (Leading ship in farthest column).... In all, seven hits out of nine torpedoes. From the bridge we watched both the large AP and the large AK (one with two hits) sink within the next ten minutes, and saw the after deck house of the third ship, on which we saw one hit, go up into the air with the ship smoking heavily. The fourth ship could not be observed...because of much smoke and haze in that direction. A short interval after the seven hits, the escorts started dropping depth charges at random, but for once we didn't mind."

On 12 September Pampanito had sunk a 524-foot transport, Kachidoki Maru, a captured American vessel built in New Jersey in 1921. First owned by the United States Ship Line, and later the Dollar Line, she had originally been named Wolverine State. After having been sold to American President Lines, she was renamed President Harrison. When captured off the China coast by the Japanese, she was given the name Kachidoki Maru. Like the Rakuyo Maru, the ship had been carrying raw materials to Japan. Also aboard were 900 Allied POWs.

Following the attack, Pampanito pulled away to eject the hot run torpedo and reload all tubes. An hour later, in another attack, Summers missed with three shots fired at a destroyer escort. He also observed two small ships, one of which had stopped, apparently to pick up survivors of the earlier attack. He decided they were too small to waste time and a torpedo on, and he moved on to rejoin the pack on the following night. No immediate attempt was made to track down the remaining stragglers from the convoy.

The wolfpack rendezvoused the night of September 13th. Growler moved south while Sealion and Pampanito spent the next day in vain looking for the rest of the convoy, then headed east toward the area of the September 12th attack on Rakuyo Maru. After diving to avoid a plane late in the afternoon of the 15th Pampanito surfaced to find much debris and floating wreckage.

Unaware the ships carried allies; the submarines had cleared the immediate area. The two Japanese ships did not have any markings indicating that they were transporting POWs. No Red Cross insignia was visible from any angle. The submarines, totally unconscious of what had happened, pursued the remnants of the convoy until it took refuge in Hong Kong, then they returned to station. During the day, however, Japanese escorts picked up most of the Japanese while the allied prisoners in the water were hold at bay by rifles and pistols. By nightfall the miserable men, abandoned, were swimming desperately, or clinging helplessly to mats of wreckage. After sundown the prospect of survival seemed slim indeed. But these castaways were to have an unexpected deliverance. On the afternoon of the 15th, the Pampanito passed through the waters where the attack had been made.

On 15 September, Pampanito moved back to the area of the original attack and found men clinging to makeshift rafts. As she moved closer, the men were heard to be shouting in English. These men beckoning for help, were the POW survivors of Rakuyo Maru sunk four days earlier by Sealion.

"At 1605 A bridge lookout sighted some men on a raft, so stood by small arms, and closed to investigate. 1634 the men were covered with oil and filth and we could not make them out. They were shouting but we couldn't understand what they were saying, except made out words "Pick us up please." Called rescue parties on deck and took them off the raft. There were about fifteen (15) British and Australian Prisoner of War survivors. On this raft from a ship sunk the night of 11-12 September 1944. We learned they were enroute from Singapore to Formosa and that there were over thirteen hundred on the sunken ship." [2]

Pampanito began picking up survivors as fast as she could locate them, and sent a message to Sealion asking for help. (Growler had departed for home). Sealion spotted her first survivors at 6:30pm on the 15th. Pearl directed the wolfpack Eradicators, Barb and Queenfish to assist. And by Noon the 17th all remaining survivors had been pickrd up. In all 159 men were saved by the four submarines, which then raced back to Saipan."

These men were survivors of Rakuyo Maru, sunk earlier by Sealion. After four days of drifting on makeshift rafts they were in extremely bad shape. Most were covered with oil from the sunken tanker, and had long since used up what little food and water they had with them. Slowly, the survivors brought aboard Pampanito unveiled the story of what had occurred. Summers radioed Sealion, and Reich also moved in to pick up survivors. Again from the Pampanito patrol reports:

The crew of Pampanito spent four hours rescuing as many survivors as could be found. Under the direction of torpedo officer Lt. Ted Swain, volunteer teams were formed to get the almost helpless men aboard. Some of Pampanito's crew dove into the water with lines to attach to the rafts so they could be brought in close enough for others, on deck and on the saddle tanks, to carefully lift the men aboard. Among those crew members who swam out to rescue the former POWs, leaving the relative safety of the sub and risking being left behind if the boat had to dive, were Bob Bennett, Andrew Currier, Bill Yagemann, Gordon Hooper, Jim Behney, and Tony Hauptman. It was a tense and emotional period as the shocked crew worked to save as many of the oil soaked survivors as possible. During the rescue many of the crew came topside to help. The crew of all four submarines exhibited this same reaction. Details of the formation of the rescue party, hauling out part, delivery and stripping party for the rescue of the POWs and their tender care and maintenance, for all four boats is found in their respective war patrol reports and in the book “Return From The River Kwai”. If a Japanese plane attacked at the time of recovery, all hands would have been left on deck, as the submarine would dive to avoid attack.

The two submarines combed the area, racing with darkness. When no more men could be safely accommodated, the two headed full-speed for Saipan. Before leaving for Saipan, Summers sent off a message to Pearl Harbor relaying what had happened, and requested that more subs be called in to continue the rescue. The only other boats in the area were Queenfish and Barb; they were ordered in as soon as possible. Both boats were 450 miles west in pursuit of a convoy, but when they received the new orders they dropped the track and headed full speed to the rescue area.

The two submarines were ordered to proceed to the area and rescue the remainder. Queenfish and Barb arrived at 0530 on the 17th to begin their search for rafts among the floating debris. Just after 1300 they located several rafts and began to pick up the few men still alive. They only had a few hours to search before a typhoon moved in, sealing the fate of those survivors not picked up in time. Before the storm hit, Queenfish found 18 men, and Barb found 14. The boats headed on to Saipan after a final search following the storm revealed no further survivors.

The Sealion had picked up 54 survivors, but four-died enroute. Pampanito had rescued 73 survivors, one died on the way to Saipan, for a total of 127 POWs that were picked out of the dirty oily ocean.

Pampanito was able to pick up 73 men and called in three other subs in the area. Sealion [SS 315] picked up 54 men, USS Queenfish (SS-393) rescued 18 men and USS Barb (SS-220) rescued 14. Of the 1,318 men on Rakuyo Maru sunk by Sealion, 159 were rescued by the four subs. It was later learned that the Japanese trawlers and frigates rescued additional 136 men for a total of 295 survivors. Of the 900 men on the Kachidoki Maru sunk by Pampanoto, 656 men were rescued by the Japanese whale ship, Kibibi Maru, whose whale oil tanks had been converted to fuel tanks and taken to prison camps in Japan. Over 500 of these men were released by American troops at the end of the war.

The Japanese had picked up their own survivors from the wreckage of two large transports sunk by the adjacent pack. They made no attempt to save any survivors from among the 2,218 British and Australian POWs embarked in the transports.

This picture of the rescue by Julian Allen is from the jacket of the book “Return From The River Kwai”

USS Pampanito SS 383
Under The Command of LtCdr Paul E. Summers
Third War Patrol
Rescue of Australian and British Prisoner-of-War

Survivors Names and next of Kin of Seventy Three Survivors

Australians Forty Seven

  • Boulter, J. L., #VX43375, Private, 2/2 M.T. Reg. Australian Infantry Mrs. J. L. Boulter 52 Park Street, South Melborne, Victoria, Australia.
  • Browne, J.F.M., #NX50497, Private, 65th Batt.., 2/15 Field Reg., A.I.F Mrs. M. Browne 156 Pennant St., Parranatta, N.S.W., Australia.
  • Bullock, R.C., # QX9591, Private, 8th Aux. Div., Provost Co., A.I.F. Mrs. V. Bullock 22 Evelyn St., Paddington, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
  • Chivars, H.C., #VX26626, Private, 2/2 Pioneers, A.I.F. Mrs. H.C. Chivars 184 Roslyn St., West Melborne,Victoria, Australia.
  • Cocking, A.J., #WX16369, Private, 2/4 A.G., A.I.F. Mrs. A.J. Cocking 35 Dundix Road, West Australia.
  • Coombes, F.J., #NX2111, Private, 2/3 Res. T. Co., A.I.F. Mrs. I. W. Coombes 41 Waldron St., Sandringham,N.S.W., Australia.
  • Cornford, R., #NX44955, Private, 2/19 Batt.,8th Div., 5th I.T.B., Malaya. Mrs. R. Cornford A.I.F. 26 Ebins St., Mowlongong, N.S.W., Australia
  • Cunneen, D.W., #VX32993, Sergeant, 13th Batt., 4th A.T. Reg., A.I.F. Mrs. A. Cunneen Goulburn, Weir Via, Nagambia, Victoria, Australia.
  • Curran, M.W., #NX37529, Private, 2/19 Batt., A.I.F. Mrs. K. Curran 336 Bourke St., Zetland, N.S.W., Australia.
  • Farlow, C.L., #NX35756, Corporal, 2/19 Batt., A.I.F. Mrs. I.M. Farlow P.O. Box 125 Hay, N.S.W., Australia
  • Farmer, F.B., #VX60993, Private, 2/10 Ord. Works Shops, A.I.F. Mrs. Mary Farmer 6 BLUFF Road, Black Rock, S9, Victoria, Australia.
  • Farrands, M.R., #NX36050, Corporal, 2/19 Batt., A.I.F. Mrs. L.R. Farrands Ganmain, N.S.W., Australia.
  • Flynn, D. A., #SX10228, Driver, 2/2 Res. M.T. Co., Malaya, A.I.F. Mrs. D.A. Flynn 82 Gouger St., Adelaide, South Australia.
  • Gainer, R.J., #VX61502, Private, 2/10 Ord. Work Shops, A.I.F. Mrs. E.F .Gainer 10 Conard Ave., Geelong West, Victoria, Australia.
  • GOLLIN, R.G., #NX44147, Private, M.L.F.D., A.I.F. Mrs. A.S. Gollin Wyrallah, Via Lismore, N.S.W., Australia.
  • Harris, R.J., #QX9275, Gunner, 2/10 R.A. Engineers, A.I.F. Mrs. Ruth Harris 56 Bennetts Road, Coorparoo, Brisbane, Australia.
  • Hart, R.H., #VX23586, Sapper, 2/10 R.A. Engineers, A.I.F. Mrs. E. Sandison 70 Hawksburn Road, South Yarra, Melborne, Victoria, Aust.
  • Hocking, J.R., #VX17768, Corporal, 2/2 Pioneers, A.I.F. Mrs. A.G. Hocking 1 Hall St., Castlemaine, Victoria, Australia.
  • Holcroft, F., #QX23670, Private, 2/3 Ord. Stores Co., A.I.F. Mrs. E.A. Holcroft Wakefield St., Albion, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
  • Jesse, F.W., #VX41988, Sig., 2/2 Res. M. T. Co., A.I.F. Mrs. Henrietta Jesse Blackburn, Melborne, Australia.
  • Kinleside, H.L., #VX55127, Gunner, 4th A.T. Reg., A.I.F. Mrs. H.L. Kinleside 82 Magnolia Ave., Mildura, Victoria, Australia.
  • Lansdowne, J.H., #QX13551, Private, 2/26 Batt., A.I.F. Mrs. H.T. Lansdowne Stafford St., Murwillumbah, N.S.W., Australia.
  • Latham, C.T.S., #NX72262, Dispatch Rider, 2/3 M.T. Co., A.I.F. Mrs. M. Latham 6 Vrentnaoo St., Merrylands, N.S.W., Australia.
  • Longey, C., Private, #----, 2/40 Batt., A.I.F. C/o Constable Longey Police Station, Hobart, Tasmania.
  • Lynch, D.F., #QX24156, Private, 2/2 Pioneer Reg., 8th Div., A.I.F. Mrs. F. Lynch 171 Grifton St., Warwick, Queensland, Australia.
  • Madden, C.W., #QX22879, Private, Hdqrtrs., A.I.F. Mrs. W.H. Madden Tweed St., Tweed Heads, N.S.W., Australia.
  • Martin,H.D., #WX204, Private,2/10 Ord. Work Shops, A.I.F. Mrs. H.D. Martin Esperance, West Australia.
  • Mawby, R.H., #VX2064, Private, 2/2 Pioneers, A.I.F. Mrs. F. Mawby 2 Elbena Road, Murrumbeena, Victoria, Australia.
  • McArdle, D., #VX36838, Corporal, 2/29 Batt., A.I.F. Mrs. H. McArdle Morra St., Rushworth, Victoria, Australia.
  • McKechnie, C., #QX14464, Bombardier, 2/10 Field Reg., A.I.F. Mrs. H. McKechnie Boronia Ave., Holland Park, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
  • McKittrick, W.H., #NX33414, Private, 2/12 Field Co., Eng., A.R.A.E., Mrs. V.L. McKittrick A.I.F. 151 Queen St., Weellahra, N.S.W., Australia.
  • Miscamble, R.C., #QX13804, Gunner, 2/10 Field Reg., A.I.F. Mrs. E. Maher 40 Somerset St., Windsor, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
  • Pascoe, T.A., #WX7409, Driver, 2/4, M. G., A.I.F. Mrs. E.W. Pascoe Denmark, West Australia.
  • Pickett, H., #WX9055, Sig., 2/4 M.G. Batt., A.I.F. Mrs. Kathleen Pickett 10 Byers Road, Midland Junction, West Australia.
  • Renton, K.C., #VX22728, Private, 2/2 Pioneer Batt.,A.I.F. Mrs. J. Robinson Iona Flats, Beaconsfield Parade, Port Melborne, Australia.
  • Smith, C.F., #NX32726, Sergeant, 2/19 Batt., A.I.F. Mrs. R.R. Smith 7 Patterson St., North Bondi, N.S.W., Australia.
  • Smith, C.G., #SX11294, Corporal, 4th M.T. Co., A.I.F. Mrs. C.G. Smith Loveday St., Goolwa, South Australia.
  • Smith, P., #NX35359, Private, 2/19 Batt., A.I.F. Mr. G.E. Smith 7 William St., Nirrandera, River Ina, N.S.W., Australia.
  • Stewart, R.S., #VX31123, Gunner, 13th A.T. Battery, A.I.F. Mr. W. Stewart 2A Union St., Malvern, Victoria, Australia.
  • Turner, J.W., #SX10112, Driver, 2/2 M.T. Co., A.I.F. Mr. E. R. Turner 19 Heath Pool Road, Heath Pool, Adelaide, South Australia.
  • Vickers, J.A., #VX59658, Private, 27th Brigade Hdqrtrs., A.I.F. Mr. A. Vickers 16 Carlton St., Carlton, Melborne, Victoria, Australia.
  • Wall, R.J., # VX56797, Private, 2/2 M.T. Batt., A.I.F. Mrs. H.J. Wall Hapetown,Victoria, Australia.
  • Weigand, H.G., #NX32373, Sapper, 2/12 Engineers, A.I.F. Mrs. H.G. Weigand Bent St., Katoonba, N.S.W., Australia.
  • White, S. McL., #---, Private, 2/29 Batt., A.I.F. Mr. J.C. White 17 Staniland Ave., Melborne, Victoria, Australia. Williams, K., SX11200, Corporal, 27th Brigade, Army Ord., A.I.F. Mrs. K. Williams Oak Bank, South Australia.
  • Winter, A.D., #WX8110, Private, 2/4 M.G. Batt., A.I.F. Mrs. W. Martin 51 Redcliffe Road, Redcliffe, West Australia.
  • Winter, W. V., #WX10373, Private, 2/4 M.G. Batt., A.I.F. Mrs. A. Winter 6 Judd St., South Perth, West Australia.

British Twenty Six

  • Anderson, C., #5949038, Lance Corporal, 5th Bedfordshire & Hertfordshire Regiment. Mrs. C. Anderson 14 Corncastle Road, Luton, Bedfordshire, England.
  • Baldwin, G., #5952591, Private, 5th Bedfordshire & Hertfordshire Mrs. A.J. Baldwin Regiment. 84 Road Lane, London, England.
  • Barker, H.J., #5774196, Private, 4th Royal Norfolk Reg. Mrs. C. Barker Brassingham, Diss, Norfolk, England.
  • Brierley, T.B., #---, Gunner, 32nd Coast Battery, 9th Coast Reg. % Mrs. E. Hodgkinson Graveny Lodge, Meophan Green, Near Gravesend, Kent, England.
  • Costello, S., #1103020, Gunner, 148th Field Reg. Royal Artillery. Mrs, Harriet Costello 35 Cambridge St., South Elmsall, York, England.
  • Cray, W., #1787132, Private, 16th Advance Reg., Royal Artillery. Mrs. E.R. Cray 15 Merten Grove, Preston Road, Hull, England.
  • Cresswell, D.A., #-----, Gunner,148th Field Reg., Royal Artillery. Mrs. R. Coldbreath 58 Gordon’s Way, Oxstead, Surrey, England.
  • Everitt, W., #--- in bad condition could not get information. Mrs. C. Everitt 45 Clure Cresent, Harrow, London, England.
  • Fieldhouse, E., #872495, Gunner, 9th Coast Reg., Royal Artillery. Mrs. Clara Fieldhouse Dry Close Cottage, Sulby Bridge, Isle of Man, United Kingdom.
  • Harrison, J., #4865705, Private, 1st Batt., Lercestershire, Reg. Mrs. H. Harrison 17 Plum Tree Way, New Brumby, Scunthorpe, Linconshire, England.
  • Hughes, E., #4204143, Private, #16 M.B.U.,Sherwood Foresters. Mrs. J.T. Hughes #5 Council Houses, Bradley,, Near Wrexham, North Wales, England.
  • Jay, C. #1110409, Gunner, 148th Field Reg., Royal Artillery. Mrs. D.V. Jay 7 Rainsford Way, Romford, Essex, England.
  • Jones, H., #2323445, Sergeant,Royal Corp. of Signals. Mr. Albert Jones 35 Richmond Ave., Chadderton, Near Oldham, Lancastershire, England.
  • Kidman, W., #5830966, Private, 5th Suffolks, Royal Infantry. Mrs. W. Kidman The Pitts, Isleham, Near Ely, Cambshire, England.
  • Mandley, W.A., #5184120, Gunner, 8th [S], Coastal Batt. H.K.S., Royal Artillery. Mrs. A. Mandley %Mrs. Langley, 52 Market St., Northhampton, England.
  • Nobbs, A., #1115656, Private,88th Field Reg., Royal Artillery. Mr. J.H. Nobbs 44 Bridge St., Hexthorpe, Doncaster, Yorkshire, Eng.
  • Ogden, A., #---, Gunner,88th Field Reg., Royal Artillery. Mr. J.W. Ogden 20 Dane St., Thurnscoe, E., Near Rotherham, Eng.
  • Perry, C.A., #907794, 125TH A.T. Reg. Royal Artilery Mrs. C.A. Perry 38 Alderson St., Deptford, Sunderland, Durham, Eng.
  • Smethurst, H., #10552139, Private, Royal Army Ord. Corp. Mr. J.C. Smethurst 9 Hassop Ave., Lower Kesal, Lanchashire, England.
  • Smith, T., #910824, Private, 125th A.T. Reg., Royal Artillery. Mr. R. Smith 42 Elmwood Ave., Southwick, Sunderland, Durham, Eng.
  • Smith, D., #4278586, Fusileer, Royal Northumberland Fusileers. Mrs. A. Smith Car Lane, Custleford, Yorkshire, England.
  • Taylor, T. #3859126, Private, 16th Recon. Corps. Mrs. Mary Taylor 113 Howes Side Lane, Marton SS, Blackpool, Lanchastershire, England.
  • Ward, G., #4974795, Private, 5th Batt. , Sherwood Foresters. Mrs. L.Ward 36 Palmerston St., Jacksdale, Nottingham, England.
  • Whiley, S., #5830703, Private,4th Batt., Suffolk Reg., Royal Inf. Mr. E. Whiley 12 Thorns Road, Quirry Bank, Near Bribrley Hill, Staffshire, England.
  • Wiles, F.E., #5955652, Private, 5th Batt., Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Reg. Mrs. F.E. Wiles 15 Harrow Gardens, Warlingham, Surrey, England.
  • John Campbell [ no information ] Deceased

The above data was received from The National Archives and Records Administration.

USS Sealion SS 315
Under The Command of Cdr. Eli T. Reich
Second War Patrol

Rescue of Australian and British Prisoners of War

Names of Fifty Four Survivors

Australian Twenty Three Australian Imperial Forces

  • Blake, R.A., #VX20802, Gunner, 13th Batt., 4th Anti-Tank Reg. Woorndoo, Mortlike, Victoria, Australia.
  • Bolger, L.J., #NX56381, Gunner, 2nd 15th Field Artillery. Bertha St., Fairfield, Sydney, N.S.W., Australia.
  • Brown, Lyle, #SX8791, Driver, 2nd 2nd Reserve Motor Trans. Division. Orroroo, South Australia.
  • Buerekner, E.F., #VX23638, Private, 2nd 2nd Australian Pioneer Batt. Sunny Dale, Tungimah, Victoria, Australia.
  • Cage, Graham, #SX8023, Driver, Ammunition Sub Pack, 8th Div. 102 Gray St., Adelaide, South Australia.
  • Calvert, N.D., #QX22922, Private, 2nd 29th Infantry Batt. Nanango, Queensland, Australia’
  • Clarkson, Frank, #VX21783, Private, 2nd Australian Pioneers. Alexandria, Victoria, Australia. Clifford, Victor, #VX20904 Hdq. Co., 2nd 2nd Pioneer Batt. 116 Highett St., Richmond, Melborne, Australia.
  • Clive, A.A., #NX32668, Cpl., 2nd 18th Batt., 8th Division. 35 Crowsnest Road, Waverton, Sydney, N.S.W. Australia.
  • Deguara, M., #QX18570, Driver, 2ND 3RD Motor Transport Co. 130 Nebo Road, Mackay, Queensland, Australia.
  • Downey, T.L., #VX26308, Private, 2nd 29th Batt. 95 Seymour St., Trirlogon, Victoria, Queensland, Australia.
  • Harris, J. L., #QX18665, Private, 2nd 26th Batt. Bakers Creek, Via Mackay, Queensland, Australia.
  • Horsburgh, F.W., #VX54298, Spr., 2nd 10th Field Company. 21 McConnell St., Kensington W-1, Melbourne, Victoria, Aust.
  • Johnson, T.P., #NX58915, Signalman, 8th Australian Division. Railway St., Dungog, N.S.W., Australia.
  • Kearney, L.D., #84276, Gunner, 2nd 4th Machine Gun Battalion. Mintaro, South Australia.
  • Laws, R.E., #NX18368, Private, 2nd 18th Battalion. 79 Burke St., East Sydney, Australia.
  • Nutley, N.A. #QX17951, Gunner, 2nd 10th Field Regiment, 8th Div. Warrill View, Queensland, Australia.
  • Ross, J.M., #VX24698, Driver, 105th General Transport Co. 14 Viva St., Glaniris SA6, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
  • Sing, Alfred, #WX16424, Private, 2nd 4th Machine Gun Battalion. 293 Duke St., Northam, Western Australia.
  • Sprague, C.G., #VX54602, Private, 2nd 2nd Pioneer Battalion. 64 Rennis St., Coburg, Melbourne, Australia.

Royal Australian Navy

  • Collins, Robert, #22177, Able Seaman, H.M.A.S. Perth. 131 Lindsey St., Hamilton, New Castle, N.S.W., Aust.
  • Houghton, J.C., #23719, Able Seaman, H.M.A.S. Perth. Worthing St., Wynmun Cent., Brisbane, Australia. Royal Australian Air Force
  • Day, N.C. #35423, Leading Air Craftsman Armourer, No 1 Reconnaisance And Bomber Squadron Nidgury Downs, Byrock, N.S.W., Australia.

British Thirty One

British Army

  • Armstrong, C.J., #1606836, Gunner, 85th Anti-Tank Reg., Royal Artillery. 43 Cedardale Rd., Walton, Liverpool, England.
  • Ashworth, Norman, #982862, Gunner, 148th Field Reg., Royal Artillery. 35 Queens St., Lancashire, England.
  • Bagmall, Joseph, #497519, Private,1st 5th Sherwood Forresters. 41 Coton Park, Linton, NR Burton-on-Trent, Staffs, England.
  • Bambridge, Leslie, #590132, Private, 85th Bedfs and Herts. Brook Lane, Bedford, England.
  • Barnett, Wilfred, #1103042, Gunner, 148th Field Reg., Royal Artillery. 81 Annerley St., Penary Main, Yorkshire, England.
  • Castro, Ronald, #902473, 135th Field Artillery, Royal Artillery. Kenthurst, Warren Rd., Chelsfield, Kent, England.
  • Coward, W.I., #937103, Gunner, 125th Anti-Tank Reg., Royal Artillery. Clifton, Hawkstone Ave., Guisley NR Leeds, Yorkshire, Eng.
  • Deighton, J. #6028812, Signalman, R.O. Corpd, Signalman. 11 Lawes St., Bow E-3, London, England.
  • Emmett, N.H.R., #862267, Gunner, 148th Field Reg., Royal Artillery. 147 New Bedford Rd., South Luton Bedfordshire, England.
  • Fuller, W.H., #1427178, Bombardier, 31st 7th Coast Regiment, Fix Defenses, Malay. 54 Lascotts Rd., Bous Park, London, N19, England.
  • Getzes, Alex, #1087781, Gunner,18th Div., 88th Field Artillery. 6 Rae St., Sheepscar St., Leeps Seven, Yorkshire, England.
  • Gould, Gordon, #7635854, Cpl., Royal Army Ord. Corps, 14th Section, Royal Artillery 142 Lai Village, Yardley, Birmingham, 26, England.
  • Halfhide, E.C., #4981054, Cpl., 1ST 5TH Sherwood Forresters. 18 Foxholes Ave., Hertfordshire, England.
  • Hall, Albert, #962445, Gunner, 148th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery. 49 Abbey Foregate, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England.
  • Halligan, Jack, #964404, Gunner, 118th Field Regiment. 76 Jervis St., Portadown County, Armagh, Northern Ireland.
  • Howland, R.E.A., #1437767, Gunner, 9th Coast Regiment. 25 Harris Road, Sheeraess, England.
  • Leslie, A.H., #3059601, Signalman, 18th Field Regimeny, 11th Indian Division, Royal Artillery. 36 Lochroaatranent, East Lothiam, Scotland.
  • Leighton, W.A., #842476, Gunner, 9th Coast Regiment, Royal Artillery. Chapel House, Gearoowlydd, Chepstow, Manmouthshire, Eng.
  • Lowden, C.M., #896993, Gunner, 88th Field Regiment. 18 Cornwallis St., Barrow-in-Furness, Lancashire, England.
  • Pharoah, H.C., #7639917, Cpl., 14th Section, Royal Army Ordnance Corps Base Ordnance Corps, Malay, Command. 49 Garnier St., Fratton, Portsmouth Hants, England.
  • Rolph, Douglas, #598149, Pvt., 5th Bedfs and Herts . 24 Sharaly Road,St. Albans, Herts, England. Died 19 September 1944 .
  • Simpson, S.G., #11001011, Gunner, 16th Defense Regiment, Malay, Royal Artillery. 24 Park Road, Hinckley, Licester, England.
  • Smith, L.M., #948854, Lance Bombadier, 148th Field Reg., Royal Art. 174 Abotts Road, Abbots Land, Watford, Herts, England.
  • Starkey, E.G., #947001, Gunner, 125th Anti-Tank Regiment. 10 ROCK Terrace, Hollywell Lane, Glasshaughgon, Castle Ford, Yorhshire, England.
  • Stone, W.H., #1115610, Gunner, 88th Field Regiment. 109 Mansfield Road, Sutton-in-Ashfield, Notts, England.
  • Wheeler, Mark, #840625, Gunner, Hdqs., 9th Corps. 11 Portland Place, Edinborough, Scotland.
  • Wilson, H.E., #4755432, Drummer, 1st 5th Sherwood Forresters, D-Company, Drill Hall Derby. 101 Loampit Vale, Lewisham, London, SE-13, England.
  • Wyllie, Andrew, #4620751, Private, 1st 5th Sherwood Forresters. 92 Hope St., Motherwell, Lanarkshire, Scotland.

Note three of the deceased were unidentified. They were in very poor health when rescued and did not have any identification.

The above data was received from the National Archives and Records Administration.

USS Queenfish SS 393
Under The Command of LtCdr. Charles E. Loughlin
First War Patrol

Rescued Australian and British Prisoners of War Survivors

Names of Eighteen Survivors

Australian Twelve

  • Bancroft, William, #F-3239, Able Seaman,H.M.A.S. Perth. 192 Subiaco Road, Subiaco, Perth, West Australia.
  • Beilby, Philip James, #WX12765, Private, 2/4Tth Machine Gun Battalion A.I.F. 45 Rockton Road, Claremont, West Australia. Bowhay,
  • Stanley Bede, #NX52537, Private, 2/19th Batt., A.I.F. 120 McLachlan St., Orange, N.S.W., Australia. Bunker,
  • Harold Thomas, #WX9223, Prt., 2/4th Machine Gun Btn, A.I.F. 17 Parade St., Albany, West Australia. Cross,
  • Frederick Victor, #WX7268, Prt., 2/4th Machine Gunners, A.I.F. No. 6 Alice St., Geraldton, West Australia. Hinchy,
  • George Frederick, #NX31557, Driver, 8th Div. Hqtrs., A.I.F. 38 Darghan St., Glebe, Sydney, N.S.W., Australia.
  • Lihou, Eric John, #QX9371, Gunner, 2/10th Field Artillery, A.I.F. Royal Terrace Hamilton, Brisbane, Australia. Mills,
  • Frederick Charles, #NX32631, Gunner, 2/15th Field Reg., A.I.F. 34 Nelson St., Fairfield, N.S.W. Australia.
  • Nunan, Lindsay Valentine, #NX55450, Private, 22nd Aus. Inf. Brig. Headquarters. A.I.F. % Albemarble Hotel, Menindee, N.S.W., Australia. Pearson,
  • Ernest Alexander, #NX1208, Driver, 2/3rd Reserve Motor Transportation Co., A.I.F. No. 9 Flat, Carlyle House, No. 2 Kellett St., Kings Cross, Sydney, N.S.W., Australia.
  • Smith, William George, #QX4556, Warrant Officer, 2/10th Field Artillery. A.I.F. % Solleys, Longreach, Queensland, Australia.
  • Wheeler, Raymond William, #VX61409, Private, 2/10th Ordnance Field Workshops, A.I.F. 9 Williams St., Balaclava, S2, Melbourne, Australia.

British Six

  • Carter, Frederick, #812905, Driver, R.A.S.C. 196 Field Ambulance. 159 Butterwaite Rd., Shiregreen, Sheffield, Yorkshire, Eng.
  • Grice, Cyril, #---, Gunner, 88th Field Regiment. Doncaster, Yorkshire, England. Deceased
  • Harrison, William, #977758, Gunner, 9th Coast Regiment, R. A. Cator House Farm, Farmwell, Gatemoor, Durham, England.
  • Hudson, Roy Ambrose, #1092740, Bombardier, 85th Anti-Tank Reg. Edensor, Bakewell, Derbyshire, England
  • Jones, Herbert, #7648536, Private, 14th Section R.A.O.C. 10 Little Moor Lane, Oldham, Lancashire, England.
  • Winters, Harry, #---, Private, “C” Co., 5th Battalion, Bedford and Hartford Regiment, R. A. Fulham, London, England Deceased.

The above data was received from The National Archives and Records Administration and harryhall393@queenfish.org .

USS Barb SS 220
Under The Command of CDR. Eugene B. Fluckey
Ninth War Patrol .

It should be noted that the names of the Prisoners of War that were rescued by the USS Barb was taken from the book, “Return From The River Kwai,” written by Joan and Clay Blair Jr., Seimon & Shuster, N.Y., N. Y., 1979.

The National Archives and Records Administration was unable to locate a list of names of men rescued by the USS Barb. There were refernces to the rescue in the submarine’s deck log and war patrol reports but no list of names was attached.

Australian British
Jim Campbell Alfred Allbury
Jack Flynn Thomas Carr
Robert Hampson Augustus Fullar
Cecil Hutchinson Jimmy Johnson
Lloyd Minro
Harold New
Ross Smith
Neville Thams
Murray Thompson

Boat Rescued Australian British Died Alive
Pampanito 73 47 25 1 (Brit) [1] 72
Sealion 54 23 27 4 [2] 50
Queenfish 18 12 4 2 (Brit) [3] 16
Barb 14 9 5 14
159 91 61 7 152


1. John Campbell

2. Three of the dead was unidentified. The fourth was Douglas Rolph Pvt., 5989149, 5th Bedfs and Herts. 24 Sharaly Road, St. Albans, Herts, Eng. Died 19 September 1944.

3. Cyril Grice, Gunner, 88th Field Yorkshire, England Regiment, R.A. Doncaster, England. Harry Winters, Private, iCi Co., England, 5th BATTALION, Bedford and Hartford Regiment, R.A. Fulham, London.

It should be noted that these men were given the appropriate military honors for burial at sea.

Vessel Total POWs Rescued by US subs Rescued by Japanese Lost at Sea
Rakuyo Maru 1318
Kachidoki Maru 900
Japanese coverts 136
Kibibi Maru 520
USS Subs 159
Totals: 2218 159 656 1403

 Article References:

  • [1] USS Pampanito SS 383 Third War Patrol Report
  • [2] USS Pampanito SS 383 Third War Patrol Report
  • [3] RETURN FROM THE RIVER KWAI Joan & Clay Blair JR. SEIMON & SHUSTER, N. Y., N. Y. 1979
  • [4] THUNDER BELOW ADM. Eugene B. Fluckey

The War Patrol Report, of three submarines, was obtained from The National Archives and Records Administration, 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, Maryland 20740-6001.

Article Updates:

October 2006: According to the book ‘Heroes at Sea’ by Don Wall, there was one more Australian rescued by USS Barb from Rakuyo Maru and he was VX34456 L Cornelius of the 2/2 Pioneer Battalion AIF. His discharge is May 45 and also listed as POW which indicates Wall is most likely correct.

- Di Elliott, Australia

If any readers have additional information on this segment of WWII submarine history, photos, anecdotes or other input, please contact SubmarineSailor.com

- Published on SubmarineSailor.com on August 2004 -