The Singapore & Penang Harbour Boards Evacuation of Staff From Singapore, February 1942
By H K Rodgers
The document consists of 8 foolscap pages of carbon copy typescript. The report is dated 14 March 1942, Perth W.A. The final page (in my possession) contains part of a postscript written by someone else. Since it breaks off mid sentence, I conclude that there are one or more pages that have become detached from our copy. Also, because of the postscript, copy must have been typed up at a later date than 14 March 1942 (and possibly also in a different place), but I believe before 1946 because of the way I believe it must have come into our possession.
The document was with other papers when we cleared out my mother-in-law’s house in the 1990s. My mother-in-law had no Asian connections but my father-in-law, Roy Francis Trethewey Pope served in the RNVR during WWII and from 23 March 1945 to 7 June 1946 served as (Temporary) Lieutenant on HMS Wuchang, his only posting to Asian waters.
I gather that Wuchang was a shallow river steamer requisitioned in Singapore in 1941, returned to its owners in April 1946. (http://uboat.net/allies/warships/ship/7280.html) CLICK HERE
Mr Rodgers notes in his account that on his journey from Singapore to Fremantle on 26 February the ship he was alongside Wuchang but as far as I know this was the only involvement of Wuchang. I assume that the document got onto Wuchang, obviously at some later date, and was found when the vessel was being cleared out in preparation for returning to its owners in 1946, and that without any other obvious home Roy retained it. We have no evidence for this however and my wife never heard her father speak of his time on Wuchang.
It is not obvious how or why the document got onto Wuchang. The postscript to Mr Rodgers report starts to mention what subsequently happened to the ships named in the report so it may well be that the missing final page(s) contain a paragraph about Wuchang. It is possible that a copy was sent to each of the ships named, and it is also possible that the missing page was detached and retained by the crew or owners as being the only page of direct interest to them, but this is all pure speculation.
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QUESTIONS RAISED - CAN ANYONE CLARIFY OR ADD TO THIS ARTICLE?
Where is the original report?What has happened to the last page?Why is the last page missing?How did the original report get on to 'The Wuchang'?
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