Category Archives: Documents

An email from Andrew Snow, Thailand-Burma Railway Centre, Kanchanaburi Thailand

I’ve been off the case of Ernest for a couple of months due to many things including a broken ankle! You would have thought I’d have more time to dig around researching whilst house bound……..but no.

Thanks to Andrew Snow of the Thailand-Burma Railway Centre, Kanchanaburi, Thailand (and his contacts) for the following great bit of research:

Hi Simon,
I think now I have an Idea of the movements of your Grandfather, my problem has been an incorrect date on the Index card for his admission to Taiwan (19/01/1944) which makes no sense as PoW’s from Thailand could not have arrived in Taiwan in Jan 44. If you change that date to 19/11/1944 things look more likely.
So what we can take from the Translation is that Ernest was taken to Thailand from Singapore on the 17/10/1942 and transferred to Group 2 (probably working in the area from Chungkai to Wang Pho and maybe further up to Tha Khanun)
In May or June 1944 he was sent back to Singapore to be shipped to Japan and left on the Hofuku Maru 04/07/1944 going first to Miri (Borneo) 08/07/1944 then to Manilla (Philippines) 19/07/1944 staying in Manilla Harbour till 20/09/1942. Hofuku Maru was sunk on the 21/09/1943 80 miles north of Corregidor and about 200 of the 1,289 PoW’s Survived one being Ernest.
Ernest was taken to Bilibid where he stayed till 03/10/1944 when he sailed on the Hokusen Maru for Taiwan via Hong Kong arriving 11/11/1944 (this is why I think his admission to #4 camp Taiwan was 19/11/1944)
In January 1945 he left Taiwan for Japan on either the Melbourne or Enoshima Maru arriving Japan late January or early February 1945 here he went to Fukuoka #17 Camp staying there until he was released September 1945.
I have attached other information on Takao (Taiwan) and Fukuoka #17 for you.
Hope that this information is what you were after. 
All the best
Andrew Snow
Thailand-Burma Railway Centre

I would also like to thank Natsue Hayward from the UEA (University of East Anglia) Centre for Japanese Studies for her help in translating the index card for me.

Japanese Index Card

War Office: Japanese Index Cards of Allied Prisoners of War and Internees, Second World War

Link to the National Archive

After making a few enquiries I managed to get most of the index card translated with the help of Diane Deards and her colleague Yoshiko in Califonia (USA not California Sands, Norfolk!) via the Facebook group FEPOW.  There is also some Chinese writing on the card left to translate.

The capture date is Feb 12,1942.

The information on the back of the card reads:

additional information:

10/18/1942 left train station for Taiwan. #2 Concentration camp
1/19/44 moved to camp #4 in Taiwan
2/11/45 Moved to Fukuoka camp #17
9/15/45 Transferred to Port of Nagasaki and Colonel Griffin took custody.


Interrogation Questionnaire

War Office: Directorate of Military Intelligence: Liberated Prisoner of War Interrogation Questionnaires. Japan. LIAS – LLOYDS.

Link to the National Archive

The interesting bit…

Questionnaire - Camps

Camp or Hospital Dates Camp Leader
Singapore Changi 15-Feb-42 10-Oct-42 Lt. Col A.A. Johnson (nickname Ack-Ack) (Orchid Collector)
4th Battalion Suffolk Regiment
Siam? 10-Oct-42 20-Jun-43 Lt. Col A.A. Johnson (nickname Ack-Ack) (Orchid Collector)
4th Battalion Suffolk Regiment
Japan? 22-Jan-44 15-Aug-45 Lieutenant Little USA

Some information on Lt. Col A.A. Johnson

Could this be the same Little??   Court Martial

More than nine lives

an article from the Aldeburgh Gazette

More than nine lives


The true World War II story of Ernest Frederick Linsell, painter decorator, typically quiet, good citizen of Aldeburgh, who died recently, aged 80, after a long illness, is astonishing. The gazette is indebted to John Whatley-Smith, a former President of the British Legion, Aldeburgh branch, for being able to publish it.

Ernest Linsell was born in Aldeburgh and lived as a boy in a flat over Smiths the bakers. An accomplished footballer, he was one of Aldeburgh Town’s stars. He joined the Territorial Army, and in 1942 was with the 4th Battalion Suffolk Regiment in Malaysia. Came the Japanese invasion and the tragic retreat of the British troops, the remnants reaching Singapore to face surrender and capture. As a prisoner of war Linsell was put on a Japanese warship , soon sunk by American bombers. One of the few survivors, he was picked up by another ship, in turn sunk, by an aerial torpedo. Again a rare survivor, he was rescued by a Japanese fishing vessel. Arrived in Japan, he was sent to work in the mines of Hiroshima, target of the first atomic bomb.

Back home at last, in due time to earn the epitaph ‘a very respected figure in Aldeburgh town’, in the best tradition of the British Army he was known to his friends as ‘Darkie’ – because of his white hair.

 Thanks to John Whatley-Smith and the Aldeburgh Gazette