FEPOW Memorial Church

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AB Jim Mariner, HMS Peterel  (dec. October 2009)

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At the outbreak of war, Jim and his shipmates on HMS Peterel were 600 miles from Shanghai up the River Yangtze. They returned to Shanghai where they provided radio communications for the British Embassy Ω.

When the Japanese arrived to demand their surrender, their Captain refused Ω. The ship was destroyed and the survivors saved by local Chinese Ω. Shortly afterwards he became a POW along with his shipmates Ω. They were initially prisoners of the Japanese Navy, but were later transferred to Japanese Army control Ω.

They were transferred by ship to Wusong joining up with a large group of Americans from Wake Island and marched into their prison camp Ω. Friendships with American POWs continues to today, as do memories of his dead comrades Ω.

He and some shipmates refused to sign the “no escape” contract but a compromise was later found Ω. He speaks admiringly of the example set by the Governor General of Hong Kong, Sir Mark Young Ω.

Ultimately they were required to work but in teaming up with an American surveyor he was able to do his bit for the war effort Ω.

After nearly three years of captivity, they were moved, this time by train, breaking the journey in Pekin Ω, and passing through Manchuria and Korea when they eventually reached the docks Ω.

They were loaded onto a ship in Fusan, South Korea and after a terrible journey they arrived in Japan Ω. They passed through a devastated Tokyo to arrive in Hokkaido Ω. They worked in a coal mine Ω until the first signs of the war’s end became apparent. The signs multiplied until a smuggled radio gave the first real indication of the end of the war Ω. This was finally confirmed with the arrival of Allied personnel and food being parachuted in Ω. The British POWs were able to run up the Union Jack before being transferred to an airfield from where they flew to Tokyo Ω. Next stop was Manila where he ran into a friend whose captivity had taken him elsewhere, but the bond between POWs was for life Ω.

He travelled back to England via San Francisco and New York, arriving back in November 1945.

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