Aircraftsman James William Hewitt

Aircraftsman 1st Class James William Hewitt, 242 Squadron, Royal Air Force. He died as a prisoner of war of the Japanese on 18th September 1944 aged 24. He had been born in Coldstream and was the son of James and Elizabeth Hewitt of Home Place, Coldstream and is commemorated on the Singapore Memorial. He had enlisted in the R.A.F as a Regular before the War. In December 1941 the Squadron who flew Hawker Hurricanes was moved to the Far East and arrived at R.A.F. Seletar on 13th January 1942 amidst a desperate situation. Then the Squadron moved to Sumatra where it collapsed due to lack of spares and was dispersed by 10th March 1942. He was captured by the Japanese when Java fell in March 1942.  He and many other prisoners died when their Japanese transport ship ” Junyo Maru” was sunk off Sumatra by H.M.S. ” Tradewind”  which was unaware that the ship was carrying prisoners of war and slave labourers. It is estimated that over 5,000 lives were lost in the sinking.

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