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Burrows, William Leonard

William Leonard Burrows was born circa 1910, in Sandycroft, (Flintshire (Mold)  HAW/11A/68), the son of George & Lizzie Burrows (nee Garrett) who had married in St. Deniol’s Church, Hawarden in 1906 (Flintshire (Mold) C106/03/E187).

The 1911 census shows the family living at16, Queens Avenue, Sandycroft, Flintshire (5 rooms).    George, 27, was head of the household and was a Corrugater at the Iron Works, he had been born in Moore Lane, Hawarden.    His wife Elizze(sic), was age 26 and had been born in Sandycroft, and they tell us that they had been married for 4 years and 1 child had been born to them and was still living.   William L. Burrows was that child, age 11 months.

I have no knowledge of William Leonard’s childhood or teenage years, so the next time we see him is when he married Muriel Ellis in 1933 in a Civil Ceremony at Hawarden.  (Flintshire (Mold) HAW/12/56).   He seems to have used the name Leonard as his first name on this Certificate.

It appears from the Royal Artillery attestations 1883-1942 that William Leonard attested in 1940 and there is a note to say that his “Discharge Age Limit” was 1955.   Also the date written – 30th April 1944 Died.

It appears that William Leonard was in the Fall of Singapore when it fell on the 5th February 1943, although the Casualty Lists state the 1st February 1943 as his date of Capture.

One document shows that William Leonard was “Previously posted Missing, now reported Prisoner of War.”

Because there were so many documents and as a novice I did not understand them, I asked for help from the WW2 talk Forum, (with attachments of the documents) http://ww2talk.com/index.php?threads/understanding-casualty-pow-lists.73705/ and true to form, the members of the Forum came up with the answers.

It is the first one which I have attached that confuses me, as it looks as though the date of departure is 11/9/18, and at first I thought it was William Leonard’s d.o.b. but he was born in 1910. It has NIPPON written on so wondered if it was a Japanese Document and their time.

It looks as though his Theatre of War was the Netherlands on the 2nd Attachment, but was buried in Yokohama. The 3rd Attachment shows OVS by the date 20/9/1943 – what does OVS mean please.

One of the documents mentions a date of departure for William Leonard which was 11/9/18 and I knew this was not his date of birth as he had been born in 1910 so that was one of the questions I asked and as NIPPON was written and Japanese writing was on the document, thought it might relate to something  do with Japanese time.    I also asked about the document that shows OVS by the date 20/9/1943 – what does OVS mean please?

“bamboo43” replied with this explanation, many thanks to him:-

“Hi Mavis,

I think you have worked it out yourself really. The year is recorded from the Showa dynasty, that being the amount of year’s since Hirohito’s coronation. So 18 refers to the 18th year of his reign and equates to 1943. 19 is 1944, 20 is 1945 and so on.   OVS stands for overseas, that being how a POW was transferred to a camp, either by sea (ship) or by land (train). Hope that all makes sense.”

Then also  “ozzy16” replied as I had added another question – “It looks as though his Theatre of War was the Netherlands on the 2nd Attachment, but was buried in Yokohama.”   Again many thanks to him:-

“77th (Welsh) H.A.A. Regt. RA. (TA)

The Regiment was formed on 1st November 1938 as the 82nd (Welsh) Field Brigade RA (TA).

It was later converted to the 77th (Welsh) A.A. Brigade comprising 239,240 and 242 Batteries. On the 1st January 1939, the Regt was re-designated the 77th (Welsh) H.A.A. regt. On the 1st June 1940, 241 Battery was added to the Regt, which lost 242 Battery.

Regimental Headquarters was located at the Drill Hall, Dumfries Place, Cardiff.   On mobilisation the Regt was dispersed in the Cardiff area where they provided the air defence for that City. 

During August 1941 the Regt moved to the South coast where it was installed at Blandford Camp in Dorset.   After a short stay at Headingly, Leeds, the Welsh Gunners moved in October 1941 to Cheshire where RHQ was located at Winsford with 239 Battery at the busy rail centre at Crew, 240 Battery to Hawarden, whilst 241 battery took the air defence of the Ordnance Depot at Donnington in Shropshire. The Regt, now equipped with the 3.7 inch A.A. gun, received orders on 29th October 1941, to proceed to Glasgow to prepare for overseas service. 

On 7th December 1941, the 77th H.A.A. Regt. sailed from Gourock, Glasgow, with the 21st L.A.A. Regt and the 48th L.A.A. Regt for the Middle East. The unit still included many Welshmen. 

Burrows Gnr William Leonard (240 Bty) Chester. Died 30/4/1944 Fuokuoka. (taken from The Sparrows by Toney Paley)” 

My thanks to these Forum members for enlightening me.   I have these documents and will send them if anyone would like me to.

So we know that William Leonard was posted with 240 Battery to Hawarden for a few short weeks and on the  29th October 1941, to proceed to Glasgow to prepare for overseas service.

On 7th December 1941, the 77th H.A.A. Regt. sailed from Gourock, Glasgow, with the 21st L.A.A. Regt and the 48th L.A.A. Regt for the Middle East. The unit still included many Welshmen.

One document shows that William Leonard died at No. 6 Camp (Tanoura) and was cremated and at the bottom of the form was written :-

“All remains handed to No 17 Camp for casing and dispatch.   The remains were taken over b Capt. Lawarence, U.S. Army, Commanding Recovery Parties 9,22,24 on 15th September 1945.” 

Another document tells us that William Leonard  died of ”Right Wet Pleurisy – Cremated.”

After his capture another document shows , that along with hundreds of others they were all transported “Overseas” as our Forum friends have stated above.

There is also a “Deaths 1939 – 46 (Entry Form),” which tells us that his place of death was Fukuoka Camp and confirms his cause of death, above.   This also gives his place and residence as Sandycroft, Chester.

Addendum – Many thanks to  Graham of WW2 talk – Hi Mavis, There were many POW camps in and around Fukuoka.  Camp number 14 at Fukuoka was situated in the grounds of the Mitsubushi iron works at Nagaski. This camp was only two miles from the centre of the Atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki by the Americans 9th August 1945. Regards…..Graham.

Local men who fell in the Far East – Thomas Rabone is remembered on the Singapore Memorial, with another Connah’s Quay & Shotton lad, Arthur Shackleton, and I believe that like Arthur he was in the Fall of Singapore, on the 5th February 1942, which means that their bodies were never found and the Casualty Lists tells a story of the Army trying to find out what happened to him.   Thomas was to suffer 2 years longer than Arthur, bless him.    Albert Edward Powell on the Connah’s Quay and Shotton War Memorial was also a Prisoner of War.  Please click on the links to read their stories.

Please click on this link for the Roll of Honour for William Leonard. http://www.roll-of-honour.org.uk/Java_Index/B/html/bu_database_246.htm

James Ellis on the Hawarden War Memorial, like William Leonard, was also a Prisoner of War.


Learn more about the other soldiers on the Hawarden Memorial

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