November 7, 2016

Kent, Henry

Service number: 2033393 | Rank: Sapper| Regiment: 288 Field Company, Royal Engineers

Died, September 14, 1943.
Buried CHUNGKAI WAR CEMETERY, Thailand.  5. A. 3.

Aged 26.  Son of Stanley and Edith May Kent, of Brandon, Suffolk.

WHAT I KNOW ABOUT HENRY …

In 1939, with the real threat of a German invasion looming, Henry enlisted as a Territorial in the British Army.  His aim was to defend this nation from invasion.  It is likely that his younger brother, William, also enlisted at this time.

For a couple of years the brothers remained on UK soil, manning beach defences, training in warfare or even helping farmers with the harvest.  When the threat of invasion diminished then the Territorials were directed to enter into the theatre of war.  For Henry this would ultimately lead to Singapore.

In February 1942 his unit landed with few weapons and within weeks had surrendered to the Japanese.  Henry and his brother were destined to spend the rest of his life as prisoners of the Japanese.

Singapore was wracked in chaos and news slowly filtered out.  There was no word about the fate of individual soldiers, who were listed as “missing”.  According to the local press, in May 1942, Henry was one of those listed as missing.  Was he dead?  Was he a prisoner?  Or had he somehow escaped?  It would take years before his fate was known.  Then, in 1945, the POW camps were liberated and news filtered back to Brandon about the lads who were in the camps.  On September 1945, a local newspaper reported he had been killed.  On the same page, it was also reported that Henry’s brother, William, was one of the Brandon lads to have survived the camps.