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Vic Wilson from Charlton

I am reading The Voice of War at the moment which is a collection of memoirs and correspondence from a variety of people from around the globe through WWII.

During an account from Alfred Allbury about the fall of Singapore he mentions his co-driver Vic Wilson from Charlton who has been separated from his wife young baby.

If was just wondering, yes a massive long shot, if anyone knows anything about him or if he survived the war?

Fascinating book by the way for anybody who is interested in WWII. Highly recommended
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Comments

  • @Tom_Hovi @SE7toSG3 might be able to find more.

    What was his unit/Regiment?
  • Thanks @Henry Irving . The only info in the book is that he was a gunner in the 18th division at the time of the fall of Singapore
  • @Tom_Hovi @SE7toSG3 might be able to find more.

    What was his unit/Regiment?

    I’ll check him out tomorrow and see what I can find. If all else fails I’ll be visiting National Archives shortly so will see if they have anything.
  • Thanks @Henry Irving . The only info in the book is that he was a gunner in the 18th division at the time of the fall of Singapore

    Long Range Sniper then. Woolwich depot so no surprise to see a local man.
  • Tom_Hovi said:

    I’ll also check Electoral Registers for Charlton to see if he survived the war. He doesn’t show up on CWGC as a war casualty, so this suggests he survived.

    Wow you are taking my long shot to another level, bravo!!
  • OK, so far have discovered a Victor C Wilson, born 1918 in Greenwich. Married during Quarter 3 in 1939 also in Greenwich to a Violet E Brown. Next step is to find their address in Charlton/Greenwich to see if they both feature on post-war electoral registers. As for his regiment, the most likely is 118th Field Regiment, R.A. which served with the 18th Division from June 1940 and was lost at Singapore, or possibly 148th (Bedfordshire Yeomanry) Field Regiment but the 118th seems most likely.

    Amazing stuff thanks
  • Awesome some of youse are.
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  • I will also mention him to Charles Medhurst on Sunday if I see him. He was born, bred and still lives in East Greenwich and was taken prisoner in Singapore with his brother (died on the Burma Railway). He's in his 90's now but still as sharp as a tack.
  • edited January 18
    I somehow seem to have transmogrified from Tom Hovi to Blitzwalker but I'm the same person!

    OK people, I'm afraid that this story has a sad ending, as contrary to what I first thought (from an admittedly very quick search last night) Vic Wilson did not survive the war. Gunner Victor Charles Wilson of 118 Field Regiment R.A., died in captivity on 27 July 1943 and is buried at THANBYUZAYAT WAR CEMETERY, in Burma, which suggests that Vic was one of the many who died whilst acting as slave labour on the Burma Railway. Vic had married Violet E Brown of 60 Inverine Road, Charlton during the 3rd Quarter of 1939 but they had moved to Baughurst in Hampshire (perhaps for safety's sake during the Blitz) but the electoral registers for 1945 until 1961 show Violet and her baby daughter living back in Inverine Road with her parents.
  • In 1964, Violet seems to have moved to Bickley but cannot find anything subsequent to then.
  • In 1964, Violet seems to have moved to Bickley but cannot find anything subsequent to then.

    Where in Bickley, Steve?

    OK people, I'm afraid that this story has a sad ending, as contrary to what I first thought (from an admittedly very quick search last night) Vic Wilson did not survive the war. Gunner Victor Charles Wilson of 118 Field Regiment R.A., died in captivity on 27 July 1943 and is buried at THANBYUZAYAT WAR CEMETERY, in Burma, which suggests that Vic was one of the many who died whilst acting as slave labour on the Burma Railway. Vic had married Violet E Brown of 60 Inverine Road, Charlton during the 3rd Quarter of 1939 but they had moved to Baughurst in Hampshire (perhaps for safety's sake during the Blitz) but the electoral registers for 1945 until 1961 show Violet and her baby daughter living back in Inverine Road with her parents.

    RIP
  • Below is a quote from the CWGC website:

    "The notorious Burma-Siam railway, built by Commonwealth, Dutch and American prisoners of war, was a Japanese project driven by the need for improved communications to support the large Japanese army in Burma. During its construction, approximately 13,000 prisoners of war died and were buried along the railway. An estimated 80,000 to 100,000 civilians also died in the course of the project, chiefly forced labour brought from Malaya and the Dutch East Indies, or conscripted in Siam (Thailand) and Burma (Myanmar). Two labour forces, one based in Siam and the other in Burma worked from opposite ends of the line towards the centre. The Japanese aimed at completing the railway in 14 months and work began in October 1942. The line, 424 kilometres long, was completed by December 1943. The graves of those who died during the construction and maintenance of the Burma-Siam railway (except for the Americans, whose remains were repatriated) were transferred from camp burial grounds and isolated sites along the railway into three cemeteries at Chungkai and Kanchanaburi in Thailand and Thanbyuzayat in Myanmar. Thanbyuzayat became a prisoner of war administration headquarters and base camp in September 1942 and in January 1943 a base hospital was organised for the sick. The camp was close to a railway marshalling yard and workshops, and heavy casualties were sustained among the prisoners during Allied bombing raids in March and June 1943. The camp was then evacuated and the prisoners, including the sick, were marched to camps further along the line where camp hospitals were set up. For some time, however, Thanbyuzayat continued to be used as a reception centre for the groups of prisoners arriving at frequent intervals to reinforce the parties working on the line up to the Burma-Siam border. Thanbyuzayat War Cemetery was created by the Army Graves Service who transferred to it all graves along the northern section of the railway, between Moulmein and Nieke. There are now 3,149 Commonwealth and 621 Dutch burials of the Second World war in the cemetery."

    So, given the date of Vic's death, it is possible that he died during an Allied bombing raid on the marshalling yards adjacent to the POW Camp there, or equally possible that the poor bugger was worked to death.
  • In 1964, Violet seems to have moved to Bickley but cannot find anything subsequent to then.

    Where in Bickley, Steve?

    OK people, I'm afraid that this story has a sad ending, as contrary to what I first thought (from an admittedly very quick search last night) Vic Wilson did not survive the war. Gunner Victor Charles Wilson of 118 Field Regiment R.A., died in captivity on 27 July 1943 and is buried at THANBYUZAYAT WAR CEMETERY, in Burma, which suggests that Vic was one of the many who died whilst acting as slave labour on the Burma Railway. Vic had married Violet E Brown of 60 Inverine Road, Charlton during the 3rd Quarter of 1939 but they had moved to Baughurst in Hampshire (perhaps for safety's sake during the Blitz) but the electoral registers for 1945 until 1961 show Violet and her baby daughter living back in Inverine Road with her parents.

    RIP
    Bugger! I didn't check - leave with me and will get back to you. Maybe tomorrow now.
  • SE7toSG3 said:

    Great work Steve, very sad end and as the war memorial at the says it commemorates players, staff and supporters of 'our club' who left all that was dear to fight the Greater Game overseas. I remembers not only the players but fans like Vic, we shall never forget.

    We don't know he was a fan. But yes remember.
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  • We have some quite amazing people on this forum.
  • Fantastic post @CharltonKerry .
  • When I first started work in the early 80s, I worked some old boys who served during WW2. All were local, as I worked in Charlton, two were Addicks, remember them telling bits about the war.

    John Maycock RAF, he had photos on bombing raids over Germany.
    Reg Boorman, served in N.Africa
    John Ascot, served in Italy, as he met his wife there during the war.

  • Total Respect!

  • In the mid-60s I worked with a great character who had been a Bomber Command navigator. After a few pints he might occasionally mention his service. One story I can vividly recall. Long after the war Bill and his missus were on holiday - a cruise, I think - when they were befriended by a couple from Berlin. "Have you ever visited our city?" "As a matter of fact I've been several times, but I was never able to stay very long!"
  • OK, just to follow up I'm going to the National Archives at Kew for some research on another project this Friday but whilst I'm there I will check the War Diary for 118 Field Regiment as well as the Nominal Roll and "Enquiries into missing personnel" files for this regiment to see if I can find anything of the circumstances of Vic's death. I should also have an answer to your Bickley question by then @Henry Irving.

    Interestingly, Vic's wife Violet Elizabeth seems to have changed her name back from Wilson to her maiden name of Brown sometime during 1953, so not sure what this is all about. I will report back when I have more.
  • Tom_Hovi said:

    OK, just to follow up I'm going to the National Archives at Kew for some research on another project this Friday but whilst I'm there I will check the War Diary for 118 Field Regiment as well as the Nominal Roll and "Enquiries into missing personnel" files for this regiment to see if I can find anything of the circumstances of Vic's death. I should also have an answer to your Bickley question by then @Henry Irving.

    Interestingly, Vic's wife Violet Elizabeth seems to have changed her name back from Wilson to her maiden name of Brown sometime during 1953, so not sure what this is all about. I will report back when I have more.

    Thanks Tom, I definitely owe you a pint or two for all your work on this. Ian
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