The National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas, Staffordshire

Melbourne Maru

k.  Melbourne Maru — On January 13, 1945 approximately 500 POWs that had arrived in Takao, Formosa on the Hokusen Maru on October 24, 1944 plus some survivors of the Arisan Maru boarded the Melbourne Maru.  The Melbourne Maru also carried about 20 British survivors of the Manila to Takao segments of the Oryoku MaruEnoura Maru and Brazil Maru voyages.  These men were part of a group of 37 British and Dutch POWs taken off at Takao on January 9, 1945 just before the Enoura Maru was bombed.  The Melbourne Maru sailed from Formosa on January 14, 1945 in the same convoy with the Brazil Maru; however, the Melbourne Maru arrived in Moji, Kyushu, Japan on January 23, 1945 – six days ahead of the Brazil Maru which had slowed to tow a crippled ship.

Hokusen Maru

g. Hokusen Maru (known by many POWs as the Benjo Maru or the Haro Maru) — On October 1, 1944 approximately 1,100 POWs boarded the Hokusen Maru at Pier 7 in Manila. They suffered in the holds until October 3rd before the Hokusen Maru joined a convoy and departed Manila. The convoy was attacked by submarines on two different occasions and the Hokusen Maru was one of only four ships left in the convoy to arrive at Hong Kong on October 11th. The Hokusen Maru remained in Hong Kong harbor (where it survived some air attacks) until October 21st when it sailed for Formosa. It arrived at Takao, Formosa on October 24, 1944. The following photo of the Hokusen Maru and the photo of the Melbourne Maru in paragraph 2 k. below were provided by Abel Ortega, Jr. whose father, Abel F. Ortega (“A” Co., 192nd Tank Bn)., was a POW on the Hokusen Maru and on the Melbourne Maru.

Bilibid POW Camp – Transfer Roster

Bilibid POW Camp

Transfer roster for POW’s being transported out of Bilibid.

From transfer roster

Rank: Pvt  (British Army)Name: Linsell, Ernest

Serial #

Destination: Japan

Boarded Hellship / Ship Name: 10/1/1944 Hokusen Maru (destination Japan)

Primary Philippine Camp: Bilibid

Comments: Survived the Sinking of the Hofuku Maru  9/21/1944


Hofuku Maru

There’s a really good chance Ernest was on the Hell Ship Hofuku Maru.

The roll of honour at lists many men from the 4th Battalion Suffolk Regiment.







Labour Force:-From Thailand/Burma Railway via Singapore

Notes:-Alias: Fuji Maru, Fuku Maru, Toyofuku Maru. Hofuku Maru was sunk 1944/09/21 by US aircraft really interesting! War Crimes Trial relating to the Hofuku Maru

Takao POW Camp

Who would have believed it!  I always search with google – but other search engines exist.


TK is the camp code for TAKAO


Camp Opened: 09/07/42 – Camp Closed: 02/15/45

Takao Camp was first opened in the early fall of 1942 to house POWs who were being transported through Taiwan to Japan. It was set up in several warehouses near the docks and the men were mostly engaged in stevedore work – loading and unoading ships and handling cargo. Not much is known about the camp or the conditions the men endured there, as there are no records extant, but it appears there were never any deaths at this camp.

Later in 1944 as more hellships were being sent from the Philippines to Japan, and were being torpedoed and sunk, POWs were temporarily held in this camp awaiting transfer to other ships. Perhaps the largest number came off the Hofuku Maru. These men were mostly all sent on to Fukuoka Camp 17 in January 1945 and shortly thereafter it appears that Takao Camp was closed.

4th Battalion Suffolk Regiment

The 4th and 5th Battalions were raised as a prelude to this war and were assigned to the 18th Division sent to guard Singapore when Japan entered the war.

Ernie was in the 18th Infantry Division

54th Infantry Brigade (consisting of the following battalions)

4th Suffolk Regiment

The 4th and 5th (Territorial Army) Battalions of the Suffolk Regiment fought briefly in the defence of Singapore, with the 18th East Anglian Division, before British Commonwealth forces on that island surrendered on 15 February 1942. Men from the two battalions suffered great hardship as prisoners of war and only a few would survive the war.

Surrendering troops of the Suffolk Regiment held at gunpoint by Japanese infantry.


File:Bosbritsurrendergroup.jpg – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.