British forces in the Philippines during WW2

#1
So I was reading the Great Cabanatuan Raid on the wiki. Turns out there were British POWs there. How did they get there? Were HM forces involved in any operations there, or were they just from Singapore and somehow transported?

I also remember going to an old fort during a history field trip when I was in primary (Fort Santiago I believe it was called). According to a plaque, POWs in WW2 were held there too - including Brits.

What exactly did we do down there (or should I say here since I'm posting from here oddly enough) during the war?
 
#2
IIRC there were no British combat operations in the Philippines at the start of the Pacific War but, following the Japanese blitzkrieg in China, Thailand and Malaya, the whole region became full of fleeing military & civilian refugees, and displaced allied (British, French, Dutch, US, Commonwealth) ships and aircraft. Quite a few British service fugitives from Hong Kong and Shanghai attempted to get to Australia via the Philippines, as it was known that the territories and sea lanes further to the west were already dominated by the Japanese. The Japanese were rounding up prisoners all through 1942, and presumably they simply sent them into the nearest PoW system.
 

oldbaldy

LE
Moderator
#3
#4
So I was reading the Great Cabanatuan Raid on the wiki. Turns out there were British POWs there. How did they get there? Were HM forces involved in any operations there, or were they just from Singapore and somehow transported?

I also remember going to an old fort during a history field trip when I was in primary (Fort Santiago I believe it was called). According to a plaque, POWs in WW2 were held there too - including Brits.

What exactly did we do down there (or should I say here since I'm posting from here oddly enough) during the war?
Have you been to the South 'Mindanao Region' At all?

I visited Task Force Davao (friends with a retired Col) a few years ago & shall be returning this year hopefully.
 
#5
Have you been to the South 'Mindanao Region' At all?

I visited Task Force Davao (friends with a retired Col) a few years ago & shall be returning this year hopefully.
I lived in Davao for a few years and studied kinder-garden there, but moved to Manila for primary and due to old man's job. Last time I went there was 2002.

My best friend at work is originally from Zamboanga though. His dad killed a Jap with a spear (or so he tells me). He could be right though, given his dad's age and they're the more respectable Muslims. Very close knitted group.
 
#6
According to CWGC only two Brits buried there:
One CPO from HMS Carlisle
CWGC - Casualty Details
But he died in 1920.
plus one Merchant Seaman who was based in Hong Kong:
CWGC - Casualty Details
S.S. Seistan (Hong Kong) was bombed and sunk in Manila Bay Dec 1941. He must have been a POW & died in captivity.

http://www.clydesite.co.uk/clydebuilt/viewship.asp?id=8242
Great info. Cheers, oldbaldy. Funny, that cemetery is only a few rides away from where I live.

"IIRC there were no British combat operations in the Philippines at the start of the Pacific War but, following the Japanese blitzkrieg in China, Thailand and Malaya, the whole region became full of fleeing military & civilian refugees, and displaced allied (British, French, Dutch, US, Commonwealth) ships and aircraft. Quite a few British service fugitives from Hong Kong and Shanghai attempted to get to Australia via the Philippines, as it was known that the territories and sea lanes further to the west were already dominated by the Japanese. The Japanese were rounding up prisoners all through 1942, and presumably they simply sent them into the nearest PoW system."

Definitely makes sense. I was thinking of something like that on my way home from the Internet hub (don't have my own PC - just pay 20 Pesos per hour to use one ; 3 hours for 50 pesos). I had wild theories - aerial combat operations or maybe even an attempt to get key British nationals out of there.

I only know about the Burma campaign as a major theater for the UK in the Pacific. Anything else a good read out there?

Much appreciated!
 
#7
Besides British POW's, any British Nationals in the Phillipines were interned as were American, Canadian civilians.

Los Banos camp contained
7,000 Filipinos
1,527 Americans
329 British
133 Australians
89 Dutch
30 Norwegians
22 Poles
16 Italians
1 Nicaraguan
And 11 US Navy Nurses, most of the inmates were civilians.


The Los Banos raid rescued civilians about to be executed that day when B.Co. 511th Parachute Inf dropped right on top of the camp with a Min alt jump. while that distracted the Japs, the recon Plt of the 511th and Filipino Guerillas raced to the armory and gates/guard shack cutting down the Japanese. Once freed LVT-4's crossing Lake Laguna were brought in to exfiltrate the force away from the Numerous Jap units in the AO.

2 G.I.'s were KIA, 2 WIA
2 Guerillas KIA, 4 WIA
No Inmates killed
All Japs Killed
 
#8
I've read a lot on these airborne raids and the campaign to recapture the Philippines. Well planned and executed stuff. It's the American equivalent to the LRDG and SAS raiding airfields, and how the SAS operated post Operation Ovelord.

Edited to add for trivia (in lieu of small Allied casualties against massive Japanese casualties on aforementioned events):
I was reading this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_invasion_of_Manchuria_(1945)

Turns out the Soviets were the ones who gave the Japs the biggest shoeing of their lives.
That's 9,726 KIA/MIA for the Reds compared to 83,737 KIA & 640,276 captured Japs. :twisted:
 
#9
I've read a lot on these airborne raids and the campaign to recapture the Philippines. Well planned and executed stuff. It's the American equivalent to the LRDG and SAS raiding airfields, and how the SAS operated post Operation Ovelord.

Edited to add for trivia (in lieu of small Allied casualties against massive Japanese casualties on aforementioned events):
I was reading this:
Soviet invasion of Manchuria - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Turns out the Soviets were the ones who gave the Japs the biggest shoeing of their lives.
That's 9,726 KIA/MIA for the Reds compared to 83,737 KIA & 640,276 captured Japs. :twisted:
The Russian waited until the Japanese were almost completely starved and in command crisis (due to the Allies being almost on the homeland itself, and nuke#1 having been dropped) before even declaring war. They invaded Manchuria using the cream of their forces, transferred from Europe. As with all things Soviet, there is a large untold story about just why so many Japanese ended up dead when their units were recorded as having surrendered....
 
#10
After 4 years practising on Germans the Red Army outfought the Japs at every level, in their Manchurian Strategic Offensive, it was so comprehensive and so quick it makes you wonder what the western allies had been doing pussyfooting around. The Red Army deployed 3 Fronts under their most able generals, one Front remained in reserve throughout, the other two totalled 10 Armies! The logistics alone of moving this force from west to east are awesome, basically just one railway.
 
#11
Coincidentally, I've just chanced upon one of my books that I'd forgotten I had.
It's called 'Be My Guest' by Bill Eburn.
Bill was a Royal Navy gunner on a Defensively Equipped Merchant Ship (DEMS), SS Tantalus that was sunk off the Phillipines. He was originally interned in Santa Tomas with the civilian crew but it was felt that it was too dangerous for RN personnel to remain there so the six gunners were transferred to the Phillipine Military Prison Camp No1 at Cabanatuan where they joined two other Brits, a RAF Medic and their RN Gunnery officer. Eight Brits among 8000 Americans. They were eventually sent to Japan in August 1944.
 
#12
The Russian waited until the Japanese were almost completely starved and in command crisis (due to the Allies being almost on the homeland itself, and nuke#1 having been dropped) before even declaring war. They invaded Manchuria using the cream of their forces, transferred from Europe. As with all things Soviet, there is a large untold story about just why so many Japanese ended up dead when their units were recorded as having surrendered....

Any further reading or info on that? From what I've seen albeit not much commentry suggests both sides respected each other and POW's were well treated.
 
#13
Loads of Japs ended up in the Gulag. I expect the MIA/KIA figures were inaccurate at the time, and many who died or were killed in Siberia are included in the battle casualty numbers.
Incidentally, I went to Corregidor a few years ago. It was very interesting and moving.
 
#15
Any further reading or info on that? From what I've seen albeit not much commentry suggests both sides respected each other and POW's were well treated.
I recently finished reading Max Hastings' "'Nemesis' The Battle for Japan 1944-45". He covers the Soviet invasion of Manchuria in some depth in the penultimate chapter. As others have mentioned, the Soviets gave the Japs a major kicking.
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
#16
IJ,

here y'go....not often mentioned in US accounts of the Second World War, funnily...

British Pacific Fleet - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The British Pacific Fleet was, and remains, the most powerful conventional fleet assembled by the Royal Navy. By VJ Day it had four battleships, eighteen aircraft carriers, eleven cruisers and many smaller warships and support vessels.......The Australian Government had sought U.S. military assistance in 1942, when it was faced with the possibility of Japanese invasion. While Australia had made a significant contribution to the Pacific War, it had never been an equal partner with its U.S. counterparts in strategy. It was argued that a British presence would act as a counter-balance to the powerful and increasing U.S. presence in the Pacific.....In March 1945, while supporting the invasion of Okinawa, the BPF had sole responsibility for operations in the Sakishima Islands. Its role was to suppress Japanese air activity, using gunfire and air attack, at potential Kamikaze staging airfields that would otherwise be a threat to U.S. Navy vessels operating at Okinawa. The carriers were subject to heavy and repeated kamikaze attacks, but because of their armoured flight decks, the British aircraft carriers proved highly resistant, and returned to action relatively quickly. The U.S.N liaison officer on the Indefatigable commented: "When a kamikaze hits a U.S. carrier it means 6 months of repair at Pearl [Harbor]. When a kamikaze hits a Limey carrier it’s just a case of 'Sweepers, man your brooms.'”




HMS Formidable on fire after a Kamikaze hit.

Fleet Air Arm Supermarine Seafires saw service in the Pacific campaigns. Due to their good high altitude performance and lack of ordnance-carrying capabilities (compared to the Hellcats and Corsairs of the Fleet) the Seafires were allocated the vital defensive duties of Combat Air Patrol (CAP) over the fleet. Seafires were thus heavily involved in countering the Kamikaze attacks during the Iwo Jima landings and beyond. The Seafires' best day was 15 August 1945, shooting down eight attacking aircraft for a single loss.

In April 1945, the British 4th Submarine Flotilla was transferred to the major Allied submarine base at Fremantle, Western Australia, as part of BPF. Its most notable success in this period was the sinking of the heavy cruiser Ashigara, on 8 June 1945 in Banka Strait, off Sumatra, by HMS Trenchant and HMS Stygian. On 31 July 1945, in Operation Struggle, the British midget submarine XE3, crewed by Lieutenant Ian Fraser, Acting Leading Seaman James Magennis, Sub-Lieutenant William James Lanyon Smith, RNZNVR, and Engine Room Artificer Third Class, Charles Alfred Reed, attacked Japanese shipping at Singapore. They sank the heavy cruiser Takao, which settled to the bottom at its berth. Fraser and Magennis were both awarded the Victoria Cross, Smith received the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) and Reed the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal (CGM).

Battleships and aircraft from the fleet also attacked the Japanese home islands. The battleship King George V bombarded naval installations at Hamamatsu, near Tokyo; the last time a British battleship fired in action. Meanwhile, carrier strikes were carried out against land and harbour targets including, notably, the disabling of a Japanese escort carrier by British naval aircraft. Although, during the assaults on Japan, the British commanders had accepted that the BPF should become a component element of the U.S. 3rd Fleet, the U.S. fleet commander, William Halsey, excluded British forces from a raid on Kure naval base on political grounds.[16] Halsey later wrote, in his memoirs: "it was imperative that we forestall a possible postwar claim by Britain that she had delivered even a part of the final blow that demolished the Japanese fleet.... an exclusively American attack was therefore in American interests."
 

Latest Threads

Top