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Powell, Albert Edward

Albert Edward Powell was born in the June Quarter of 1912, (Flintshire (Mold) FLNT/50/25)  the son of Albert Edward & Kate Elizabeth Powell, (nee Redfern).     Albert Ernest & Kate Elizabeth had married on the 2nd August 1909 in St. Mark’s Church, Connah’s Quay.   Albert Ernest, 27 was a bachelor and his trade was with Electricity, his address being Wepre,Connah’s Quay, his father Samuel Powell was a Gardener.   Kate Elizabeth was 23, a spinster and her address was Dee Road, Connah’s Quay, her father Benjamin was a Butcher.

The 1911 census shows Albert Ernest, 29, and Kate Elizabeth, 25, living at 7, Spring Street, Connah’s Quay, Flintshire (4 rooms), Albert tells us that he was a Workes Electrcian (Engineers) and he had been born in Alderley Edge, Cheshire.    Kate Elizabeth tells us that she had been born in London, they had been married 1 year and no children had been born to them.

I do not have any information re Albert Edward’s early life, so any information would be gratefully received.   So the next time we see him is at his marriage to Margaret Cathrine Griffiths.

They had married in St Mark’s  on the 4th July 1936.  Albert Edward POWELL was 24 a bachelor, and Steelworker, his address was 21, Dee Road, Connah’s Quay and his father was Albert Ernest POWELL, Electrician.   His bride, Margaret Cathrine GRIFFITHS, was 23, a spinster, and her address was 44, Mold Road, Connah’s Quay, her father Thomas John GRIFFITHS was deceased and had been a Steelworker.

The 1939 National Register (taken on the 29th September 1939) shows Albert Ernest,  born 10th December 1881 and a Steelworks Maintenance Electrician with Kate Elizabeth, born 25th April 1885 with perhaps their son, Herbert C. Powell, born 5th August 1915 who was a Charger On Steel Sheet Normaliser, he was single.   Their address was 21 Dee Road , Connah’s Quay.

The same 1939 National Register shows Albert Edward living at Marwood, Wepre Park, Connah’s Quay and giving his date of birth as 10th May 1912, occupation – Freshener Heavy Worker.   His wife Margaret C. Powell’s date of birth is the 5th June 1913, Unpaid Domestic Duties, this birth date is the same as on her father’s Attestation Papers for WW1.  This Register also tells us that Margaret was to go on and marry after Albert Edward was killed, as surnames were added in later years.   The names were Todd and Caudwell.    I did find a marriage for Margaret and Arthur Todd in 1947, but cannot find the later marriage to a gentleman called Caudwell.

*Same date as on her father’s Attestation Papers. https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/1114/miuk1914a_084601-01914/2696085?backurl=https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/6401793/person/112022618931/facts#?imageId=miuk1914a_084601-01914

As Albert Edward is seen on the 1939 National Register, taken on the 29th September 1939, we know he must have enlisted after that or was conscripted, but I have no knowledge of that, any information would be gratefully received.

Royal Army Service Corps attd Royal Artillery*

* https://www.nam.ac.uk/explore/royal-army-service-corps

There is a Casualty List (Page 28) that shows that the date that he went “Missing,” was 15th February 1942, and it is filled with the names of all the soldiers with the names starting with Po – St – including of course our Albert Edward.

List 788 Casualty List (Page 28) Expeditionary Force – Malaya, Missing.  This list again gives the date as the 15th February 1942.

He is listed as a Prisoner of War on Casualty List  (page 18.) Netherlands East Indies.

Another Casualty List (Page 10) – Prisoners of War (Cont.) Previously reported Prisoner of War now reported died (Cont.) shows Albert Edward’s death as 24th July 1945, East Indies.(Previous Cas. List No. 1094).

So Albert Edward was a Prisoner of War for over 3 years.

Taken from the CWGC Citation for Albert Edward, please read the complete History of what happened to these men:-

In December 1941 the Garrison consisted of the 2/15th Punjab Regiment; they were stationed at Kuching in Sarawak, where there was an airfield, and at Miri, some 400 miles as the crow flies to the north-east. At Miri and at Seria, in near by Brunei, were the oilfields; and on the 8th December 1941 orders were given for their demolition. This the local garrison carried out successfully, the troops, oil company officials and a detachment of Straits Settlements Police were evacuated by sea on the 13th. On the 16th, Japanese troops landed at Seria. On December 23rd orders were received for the demolition of the landing ground at Kuching which, as well as the town, had suffered several air attacks during the few days before that date. On December 24th Japanese landing-craft made their way up the waterways between the sea and Kuching, and by the afternoon of that day the Japanese flag was flying over the residence of the Rajah of Sarawak. The following morning the British Commander, Lt. Col. Lane, decided to withdraw westwards into Dutch West Borneo, and then south. On reaching Sanggau on December 29th the battalion came under the orders of the local Dutch commander. There it fought alongside the Dutch to prevent the Japanese from taking the airfield at Sanggau, the principal Anglo-Dutch base in West Borneo. In Dutch Borneo, Tarakan, an important oil centre in the north-east, was taken on the 10th January 1942; and Balikpapan, farther south, with its huge modern refineries and groups of oil tanks was lost at the end of the month. Finally, through February and March, after fighting a rearguard action, the Punjabis made their way through wild and difficult country to the south coast of Borneo. This they reached, exhausted, towards the end of March, having covered a total distance of some 800 miles since leaving Kuching.

Another excerpt:-

As well as the graves from Sandakan, about 500 are from Kuching where there was another large prisoner-of-war camp. The total number of burials is 3,922. The preponderance of unidentified graves is due to the destruction of all the records of the camps by Lieutenant-Colonel Suga, the Japanese commandant, before the Australians reached Kuching, his headquarters. When apprehended, this man committed suicide rather than face questioning on his conduct of the Borneo Camps.

Albert Edward was first buried at the Lintang Camp Cemetery at Kuching, Grave J- 14A, according to the Concentration Reports on his CWGC Citation, he was then reburied on the 15th September 1946 at Labuan War Cemetery in Borneo.  There is a discrepancy re the number of his grave at Labuan, on the Concentration Reports, his grave No. is given as N C 13, but on the Website it is shown as N D 13.   This is also on the typed list (3)when N C 13 is written and then the “C” is replaced with “D.”

Albert Edward suffered so much as they all did, but he was well loved and remembered as his name was put forward to be added to the War Memorial for him to be remembered in perpetuity.


Learn more about the other soldiers on the Connahs Quay and Shotton War Memorial

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