Rowlands, Fred Forsyth

Fred Forsyth Rowlands was born on the 5th June 1895, the son of Fred & Jane Elizabeth Rowlands (nee Forsyth), who married after Banns in St. Deniol’s Church, Hawarden on the 16th February 1887.   Fred Rowlands, 27 and a Bachelor was a Stationer and his abode was Hawarden.   His father was John Rowlands and a Vestry Clerk.    Jane Elizabeth Forsyth, 20 and a Spinster, lived in Broad Lane.   Her father John Forsyth was a Gardener.

We see that Fred and Jane Elizabeth Rowland were living at Rectory House, Hawarden, Flintshire, on the 1891 census with Fred’s father John, who was head of the household.   John Rowlands, 79 was a Vestry Clerk and had been born in Guilsfield, Montgomery.   Fred, 31, was a Stationer and had been born in Hawarden.   Jane Elizabeth Rowlands, 24, daughter-in-Law had been born in Radnorshire.

The 1901 census sees the young couple living at 23, Sea View Road, Liscard, Cheshire, their family had grown.   Fred Rowlands, 41, was head of the household and a Bookseller & Stationer in his Own Account.  His wife Jane Elizabeth, 34 states here that she had been born in Hawarden.    Their children were Herbert J., 8, Fred F., 5 and Harriet O.M.,4, had all been born in Hawarden.

Tragedy struck in 1909 when Jane Elizabeth died, her funeral was on the 9th March and she was laid to rest in Hawarden Churchyard, she was 42 years old and Fred Forsyth was 13 years old.

By 1911, the family had returned to Hawarden and were living in Broad Lane, with Jane Elizabeth’s father, John Forsythe, 71, who was head of the household and he was a Gardener and had been born in Springkell, Dumfrieshire, Scotland.  His wife Harriet, 82 had been born in Tattenhall, Cheshire.   They tell us that they had been married 46 years and 1 child had been born and sadly that was Jane Elizabeth, who had now died.   Jane Elizabeth’s widower, Fred, 51 was a Clerk (Engineering Office).   Their 3 children, Herbert John, 18 and single was a Clerk in the Estate Office, Fred Forsythe, was 15 and in School (Hawarden Grammar) and Harriet Olive Mary, 14 was also in School.   There was a servant, Jane Jones, 28, single and born in Bodelwyddan, Denbighshire.

Fred Forsythe and his siblings lost his father Fred Forsythe in 1916, when he was 21 years old, he was buried in Hawarden on the 18th March 1916 age 56 years. :-

I have no knowledge of the 3 children, especially Fred, in the next 10 or more years, except that I have transcribed their entries in the Hawarden Grammar School Admissions Register,

Hawarden Grammar School Admissions Register E/GS/1/10:-

361/249 ROWLANDS, Fred Forsyth, Date of birth 5th June 1895, Hawarden, father – Clerk, date of entry – 17th January 1910, Hawarden Boys, date of leaving Easter 1911– Eng. App.

313/296 ROWLANDS, Harriet O.M. Date of birth – 21st January 1897, address – Hawarden, Father – Clerk, date of entry – 12th September 1910, previous school – Hawarden N.P., Prob.   No date of leaving.

I cannot find Fred Forsythe ROWLANDS on the 1939 National Register, perhaps he was already in the Forces.,had%20to%20register%20for%20service

Your Country needs you. – On the day Britain declared war on Germany, 3 September 1939, Parliament immediately passed a more wide-reaching measure. The National Service (Armed Forces) Act imposed conscription on all males aged between 18 and 41 who had to register for service.  So Fred Forsythe may have already been in the services, because of the above declaration.  Therefore that is why I couldn’t find him on the 1939 National Register which was taken on the 29th September 1939.

However I found Harriet Olive Mary on the 1939 National Register (Taken on the 29th September 1939) living at 92 Carlton Road, Northwich, Northwich U.D., Cheshire, England.   She was living with Hettie Ellen Holmes, who was born on the 15th May 1887 and was widowed and as most women who did not have job are described on this register, was doing “Unpaid Domestic Duties.”  Harriet O. M. Rowlands was born on the 21st January 1897, she was single and an Elementary School Teacher.

I cannot find when Fred joined or was conscripted, he may very well have joined very early in his life,  Fred was age 44 when war started, so with rules as they were then, he needn’t have applied to join, as conscription was for men between 18 and 41 years old age, so any information would be gratefully received.

However, he was to find himself in Hong Kong in the Royal Engineers, in the 40 Fortress Coy.   This is where his nightmare started, he was among thousands that were there at the Fall of Hong Kong on the 25th December 1941.    Japan had invaded on the 8th December 1941. OF HONG KONG – 25th December 1941

Fred is remembered on this website: –

Hong Kong War Diary

Hong Kong’s Defenders, Dec 1941 – Aug 1945

China Command & Supporting Units

Rowlands, Fred Forsyth Sapper 1860929 SSP (LM) K 12.10.42 Y [87] 

And also this one –

 British Library of Scotland –

British Military Lists (In Folder) 

Tragic love story woven into WWII history –

 Please read: –  ROLL OF HONOUR – BRITAIN AT WAR –  FEPOW – (Far East Prisoners of War) Family * 

*Thanks to davidbfpo from the WW2talk Forum

 *Also thanks to timuk  – a must read

– Lisbon Maru.


And – Lisbon Maru –

This is an excerpt from the Commonwealth War Graves Citation:-

History Information

YOKOHAMA WAR CEMETERY was constructed by the Australian War Graves Group after the Second World War and contains the graves of Commonwealth servicemen who died in Japan as prisoners of war or with the occupying forces after the war. It comprises of four main parts; the United Kingdom section, the Australian section, the Canadian and New Zealand section and the Indian Forces 1939-1945 section.

Fred’s Casualty Lists tells us some of the story, he, and thousands of others, were captured on the 25th December 1941 and was being transported to Japan on board the “Lisbon Maru” (please read some of the above websites.)

timuk (from WW2talk) also tells us – Fred Rowlands was transported from Hong Kong on 27 Sept 42 on board the Lisbon Maru. The Lisbon Maru was torpedoed and sunk by USS Grouper. Fred survived and was taken to Japan. He arrived at Osaka 1 (Minato-ku) on 11 Oct 42 and died 12 Oct 42.  Many thanks again to WW2talk Forum and timuk. (    (Page 8 of 12)

Fred had survived the fighting and the capture, then went through the horror of the sinking of the “Lisbon Maru,” then was transported to Osaka.     He died of Acute Pneumonia and was cremated, which apparently was the usual practice.

The Commonwealth War Graves Concentration Graves Report Form informs us that his ashes were initially buried at the Yokohama Mausoleum, then on the 22nd February 1946 his Urn was buried and then on the 13th September 1946 he was re-buried at the Yokohama War Cemetery.

His Probate:-  ROWLANDS, Fred Forsyth of 39, Central Road, Rudheath, Northwich, Cheshire died 12th October 1942 on War Service.   Administration (With Will) Chester 14th November to Harriet Olive Mary ROWLANDS, Spinster.

He was loved and missed by his family, and maybe his sister, Harriet Olive Mary Rowlands, was able to attend the unveiling of the Roll of Honour.

Fred Forsythe Rowlands had left the school in 1911, but the school remembered him and his name is on the Roll of Honour.   The Roll of Honour was dedicated at Hawarden Grammar School on the 3rd February 1951 with a Remembrance Service for the 47* former pupils who died in the 1939 – 1945 World War.   As recorded in the Chester Chronicle Saturday 10th February 1951.  I hope that his sister as there to see it.    His sister Harriet Olive Mary Rowlands died on the 19th February 1974 at Nether Peover Knutsford Cheshire age 74 years old. (Bucklow Vol. 10a Page 469).

*Author’s note, there are 46 names on the Roll of Honour, clerical error by the newspaper.

I believe that his brother Herbert John Rowlands may have died in the March quarter of 1942 age 49 years. (Shrewsbury Vol. 6a Page 1472).

Fred will be remembered for Perpetuity for his sacrifice to make sure we had our freedom.



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