- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Thomas Evans Scott
- Location of story:
- Scotland to Japan
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 08 June 2004
Sgt Tommy Scott R.A. 77th Heavy Ack Ack
[ 922022 ]
77th Heavy Ack Ack
Depart Greenock 8th Dec 1941
(Pearl Harbour Bombed)
Arrive Freetown 24th Dec 1941
Depart Freetown 25th Dec 1941
Arrive Cape Town 31st Dec 1941
Depart Cape Town 4th Jan 1942
Arrive Batavia (Jakarta) 4th Feb 1942
Depart Batavia 15th Feb 1942
Arrive Surabaya 18th Feb 1942
Depart Surabaya 28th Feb 1942
Arrive Gun Site 2nd Mar 1942
Capitulation of Allies 8th Mar 1942
Arrive Boei Glodock Camp 8th Mar 1942
Arrive Tanjong Priok Camp 18th Apr 1942
Had Dengue fever and Malaria in Tanjong Priok
Went to Mater Dolorosa Hospital (St Vicentius Convent) with Jaundice
Left convent for Bicycle camp for two weeks recuperation then back to Tanjong Priok
Drafts leaving intermittently Sept 1942 until closed 1945
Departed Tanjong Priok 18th Apr 1942
Arrive Ambon 15th May 1942
Drafts leaving intermittently 1943 until 1945
Evacuation took almost 12 months
Depart Ambon for Japan early 1944
via Changi Singapore,
Ship TAMAHOKO MARU
Torpedoed one day away from Japan 20th June 1944
Rescued from water and taken on to Nagasaki
Worked in Mitsubishi Steel Mills
Transferred to work in Coal Mines of
Omine Mining Co at village of Soeba
ATOMIC bomb dropped Nagasaki 9th August 1945
Taken back to Nagasaki after ATOMIC Bomb had been dropped
Liberated by Americans Train from Tagawa to Nagasaki
Depart Nagasaki for San Francisco via Manilla
Depart San Francisco for Vancouver
Depart Vancouver for Montreal
Depart Montreal for Southampton
Depart Montreal to Southampton
Depart Southampton to Glasgow
We left our Gun Site on Western Avenue, Cardiff, sometime between August – September 1941 in preparation for going overseas.
Our travels in the next few months took us to Blanford – Dorset, Frome, Chester and Leeds. Finished up in my old Drill Hall, 80th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery, Hotspur Street, Maryhill, Glasgow, in November about the 22nd of that month.
We stayed there until the early hours of the 8th of December, when we went by train from Maryhill Station to Greenock, and at 2 AM boarded the Warwick Castle, part of a large convoy which included the Dunera, Empress of Australia and Empress of Asia, about 70 ships, including a large Royal Naval contingent.
We sailed that evening and later were told that we were heading for the Basra in the Middle East
As the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbour on that day, the convoy was split up and part of it was diverted to the Far East to support our troops in Singapore.
Part of that consisted of 239 Battery, 240 Battery, and 241 Battery.
242 Battery went on to Basra with the others.
We sailed on to Freetown arriving on the 24th December and leaving again on Christmas day.
Arrived Cape Town on the 4th January and stayed there until the 9th of that month.
We were well received there and Dutch people were very good to us and promised to let our families at home know that we were all right.
Sailed again after 5 days, the 9th of January, instead of going to Singapore part of the convoy was diverted to the Dutch East Indies, Java to be precise.
Arrived Java at Batavia (Jakarta) about the 3rd of February and stayed overnight at the Dutch Army Barracks (Cornelius Barracks).
Next day some of us started our journey to Surabaya (Malang ?) by train to make our Gun Site there.
The remainder travelled by road with our Guns and all other heavy equipment required by an Anti-Aircraft Regiment, even our kitbags.
On the way we were involved in a case of sabotage, our train was in collision with another train (Singa Sari ?), and our Regiment suffered severe loss of life (26 killed) with many injured (40 injured).
Sgt George Locke, Tommy Milligan and many others were killed.
Sergeant Johnny Glover, Eddie Hawkins, Bill Jones, Alex Rosenthall, myself and a few others were detailed to stay behind to look after the injured and the dead until they were picked up.
We slept in a carriage all night and a Dutch lady came up to us and gave us food and drink and all the help possible, until we went on our journey the next day.
We stayed in Surabaya until we were told that the Japs were landing from the sea and that we would have to take our Guns and equipment up into the hills.
And after travelling up to the hills we had to stay in a Tea / Rubber Plantation until we were told that we were to surrender and not to be picked up.
Our Colonel Humphries and Officers told us that we were going to Surrender and we had no chance of getting out of Java, so he decided that we would blow up our Guns, Radar equipment, all rifles and ammunition, and we would wait until the enemy decided what they were going to do with us.
We stayed in the Tea / Rubber Plantation until we were told to go with an escort of Japs back to Batavia.
We had to make our way back to Batavia by truck.
Boei Glodock and Tanjong Priok
We were split up. Some of us put into Civilian Prison, Boei Glodock, the others went to Tanjong Priok.
After a few weeks we were marched to meet the rest of our Regiment in Tanjong Priok, which used to be a set of compounds for native Dock Labourers or Coolies.
Tanjong Priok Camp was quite a big place, split into a number of sections, fourteen I think, we were in Camp No 5.
The Camp held Navy, Army, Air Force and also Merchant Navy and Male civilians murderers and allsorts.
We had Roll Call twice a day and Rice twice a day, very little meat once our supplies had dried up.
Guards patrolled all night. They didn’t miss a thing.
They were told to treat us not as Prisoners of War but as men who should have died on the battlefield.
After a while we had working parties, sent to unload ships in the docks, also to the Aerodrome repairing the runways, picking up and loading unexploded bombs and any jobs the Nips could think of. Working in Monsoon ditches where we worked in our bare feet and were eaten alive by Mosquitoes, Leeches etc.
Tropical ulcers were soon eating holes in our legs and feet and there were no medical supplies. Doctors used spoons to scrape out pus from sores and were doing operations with very little equipment or chloroform.
Doctors were beaten up if they tried to keep men from going on working parties or if they told the guards that the men were unfit.
We had to bow to all Guards; failure to do so, meant you were made to stand to attention to be beaten. Not a day passed that someone got a beating.
Some of the guards were Korean and they were sadistic.
We were made to stand and watch helplessly while men who were caught trying to escape were bayoneted and then beheaded.
The Japs told the Indonesians they were their saviours and they saved Asia for the Asiatics or the Japanese Co-prosperity Sphere as they called it.
They soon realised that they were no more than slaves to them.
Food was very scarce, very poor and full of Maggots.
There was always a lack of food, we were eating weeds, rice full of weevils, even snake. The lads killed a very long snake one day, which was smuggled back to the camp and eaten. I didn’t fancy it myself so never tasted it.
We bartered anything we could with the local peasants for food, watches, lighters, rings and so on.
The Dutch East Indies people were very good to us but they had very little for themselves after a while.
My own Regiment lost many men because of the useless diet plus Cholera.
After a while Tuberculosis, Malaria, Beri-Beri, Vitaminosis, Tropical Ulcers, Dengue Fever, Jaundice, Starvation and of course the beatings, took their toll on us.
I finished up with Malaria and Dengue fever in the Tanjong Priok camp.
Went to Mater Dolorosa “Hospital” (St Vicentius Convent) with Jaundice
Left convent for Bicycle camp for two weeks recuperation before going back to Tanjong Priok.
Then the Japs started to send drafts of POWS to Japan, Ambon, Sumatra, Celebes, and Beleese Borneo. One group included most of our Regiment ”H” Force went to Singapore in 1943 and then on to the Siam – Burma Railway where a lot of them died of beatings, carrying railway sleepers, building bridges, drowning in rivers not to forget Cholera and other tropical illnesses.
They had little food and had to build their own Camps and work in all known conditions.
Men building runways were going blind in Ambon due to the effects of working in the sun with the glare off the Coral sand. People also went blind due to the lack of vitamins. In Changi a doctor collected grass chopped it up and steeped it in water and gave the solution to the men, a pint a day, to replace the vitamins.
We left Ambon early in 1944 heading for Japan in one of the Japanese “Hell ships”.
We were taken to Changi Camp, in Singapore.
From there we transferred to a staging camp in River Valley Road, Singapore
before boarding another ship in May 1944 heading for Manilla in the Phillipines.
Departed Manilla in June 1944 on another ship named the “TAMAHOKO MARU”, loaded with sugar, bound for Japan.
There were 776 POWS on board and we were battened down in the hold.
Food was passed down to us in tubs.
In the holds men were billeted on racks about five high, so that when some poor soul above couldn’t wait to go up on deck to the toilet all those below got share
Men were only allowed up on deck for toilet facilities, which consisted of wooden boxes tied on to the ships rails. Hellish when there was a high wind.
The only pleasure was seeing the guards splashed with the inevitable “you know what” when the wind blew the wrong way.
The day before we were due to land in Japan disaster struck.
Late that day some of us were allowed to lie on deck, either on hatch covers or round the ships side. Some of us were lucky to lie round the side of the hatch.
We were very lucky because we were lying there late at night when the ship was torpedoed. [Torpedo was fired by American Submarine “Tang”]
The ship went down very quickly and I was lucky to be washed overboard and managed to hold on to a raft. I cannot swim but with the help of mates and with Alex Rosenthal we all managed to stay there all night.
All you could hear were voices calling during the night as we tried to keep in touch with each other.
There were Japs in the water as well but I don’t know whether any were unlucky enough to be pushed under.
At daylight (after 12 hours in the water), a Nip Whaler arrived and threw a net over the side and started to pick up survivors. A few POWS climbed up but were thrown back overboard until all the Nips were saved, then it steamed away.
Fortunately another ship heading for Japan picked us up and took us into Nagasaki.
The ship was sunk on the 20th of June 1944 and around 212 survived.
After all these years and letters in magazines I have only met one other survivor.
Many men were lost at sea due to torpedoes, and bombing as the ships had no outward sign that they were carrying Prisoners of War.
In Nagasaki we were marched through the streets much to the amusement of the locals who hurled abuse at us.
Eventually we arrived at a Camp and were left all day with nothing to eat.
We were put to work in the Mitsubishi Steelworks near Nagasaki, where propellers for ships were manufactured.
Later we transferred to the Omine coalmines, for about a month or so before being taken back to Nagasaki.
Returning to Nagasaki we saw the utter devastation that had been caused by the Atomic Bomb. We passed the spot where the Camp housing our mates had been, but it was destroyed.
The Japanese population were all wandering about aimlessly in total shock.
American soldiers arrived one day, told us the war was over and to take things easy for a week or two before we were shipped out to America via Manilla.
Nearing San Francisco we thought we were being landed on Alcatraz, however the ship steamed past the prison to the immigration centre where we stayed for a week or so while we rested up and were kitted out. After that we were taken into San Francisco where people were calling from the dockside asking where we were from. Scottish people living there took some of us for days out. I still have a name and address of a family I met there. I kept in touch for quite some time after returning home.
The next stage of the journey was by ship to Vancouver, rail to Montreal and ship to Southampton. During the rail journey across Canada there were parcels containing food and cigarettes waiting for us at various stations.
Betty, the wife of my older brother John and her daughter met me at Glasgow Central station. They told me that John had died.
I returned to the family home in Fernie Street Maryhill where I now lived alone, my mother having died two or three years before the war while my father died in the first year of the war.
After the war I returned to Shellmex as a tanker driver, then long distance haulage, drove busses and taxis in Glasgow, later I was a prison warder at Barlinne Prison, Glasgow for a year or two. Unfortunately I found myself guarding some of my former mates who expected favours, which made life awkward.
[Address removed by moderators]
My first job from school was a Soap Boy in a barbers shop.
Kelvin, Bottomley and Baird, Instrument Makers was my next stop before joining Shellmex.
I met my wife Margaret in a dance hall in Sandbank Street, Maryhill where I was MC for the dance band.
I was a deacon in Ruchill Church, Ruchill St Maryhill.
ARMY PAYBOOK DETAILS
Thomas Evans Scott Rank: Gunner
Army No: 922022
Height: 5’-8 ½ ‘’ Weight: 126 lbs
Next of Kin: J. J. Scott, 13 Glebe Street, Ayr. Father
Enlisted TA 26/4/1939
TA service 3 years 343 days
Colour service 6 years 343 days
Total service 10 years 211 days
TA – Para 204’ 6A
Malaya 6-12-41 - 31-3-42
POW Japan 1-2-42 - 26-11-45
Born Maryhill Glasgow
[Address removed by moderators]
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