British forces in the Philippines during WW2

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by IJWaddell, Apr 12, 2012.

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  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.
     
  3. oldbaldy

    oldbaldy LE Moderator Good Egg (charities)
    1. Battlefield Tours

  4. 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. 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. 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. 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. brettarider

    brettarider On ROPs


    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.
     
  14. Went there on a school trip, too. Good drills, those US airborne forces. It's a shame people are looting the remaining cast iron guns and heavy mortars.
     
  15. 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.