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Wilfred Jones

Corporal Wilfred Jones was the son of Edward and Eleanor Jones of Brunswick Road, Buckley. He died age 26 as a Japanese POW aboard Junyo Maru sunk by the British submarine H.M.S. Tradewind with a loss of 5620 lives.

from Howard Jones

My Uncle Wilf lived in Brunswick Road, Buckley and served in the RAF in Singapore during the second world war. He was taken prisoner when Singapore fell in 1942 and transported to a prison camp in Java where he spent 2 years before being transported on a ‘Hell ship’ to Sumatra. The prison ship called the Juno Maru never made it due to it being torpedoed by a British submarine named Tradewind. Over 5000 men died when the ship sank mainly Dutch servicemen and a handful of British servicemen of which Uncle Wilf was one. He lost his life at sea that day in what was the 3rd greatest loss of life at sea in marine history. This is all documented on the internet with accounts from survivors and recorded in the Far East sector of the National Arboretum in Staffordshire. I find it impossible to comprehend how a race of people could be so brutal and cruel to fellow humans. I have photographs of Uncle Wilf in the Far East and need to have his story documented in the Buckley History Society.

Wilfred was born 8 April 1918. In 1939 the family was living at 74 Brunswick Road, father Edward, mother Eleanor, brother Thomas, and brother Samuel who was married to Olwen Whitehead (parents of Howard Jones). Wilfred was listed in the 1939 Register as a Ministry of Labour Clerk.

From Wikipedia

Jun’yō Maru was a Japanese cargo ship (one of the “hell ships”) that was attacked and sunk in 1944 by the submarine HMS Tradewind, resulting in the loss of over 5,000 lives.

The ship was built for Lang & Fulton of Greenock as SS Ardgorm. In 1917, she was sold to the Norfolk & North American Steamship Company (part of Furness Withy), London, and renamed Hartland Point. In 1918, she was acquired by the Johnstone Line of Liverpool, who renamed her Hartmore in 1920, and sold her in 1921 to the Anglo-Oriental Navigation Company (part of Yule Catto), Liverpool, who renamed her Sureway. In 1926, she was sold to a Japanese company and renamed Junyō Maru, and later taken over by the Japanese government

In order to transport prisoners, the ship was fitted out with extra decks constructed of bamboo subdivided into cages of the same material. Deck space was also used for the prisoners. When she was attacked and sunk on September 18, 1944, by HMS Tradewind, Junyō Maru was packed with 1,377 Dutch, 64 British and Australian, and 8 U.S. prisoners of war along with 4,200 Javanese slave labourers bound for work on the railway line being built between Pakan Baru and Muaro in Sumatra. It was the world’s greatest sea disaster at the time with 5,620 dead. 680 survivors were rescued, only to be put to work in conditions similar to those of the Burma Railway where death was commonplace.


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