The Soldier's Details

First Name:
Sydney Richard
Regimental #:
‘C’ Company Headquarters
Place of Birth:
Perth, Western Australia
Father's Name:
Jesse Thomas Clayden
Mothers's Name:
Elizabeth Clayden (nee Poulton)
Church of England
Pre-war Occupation:
Selarang Camp Changi, River Valley Road Transit Camp
‘ A’ Force Burma, Green Force, No. 3 Battalion
Camps Thailand:
Camps Burma:
Victoria Point, Tavoy, Moulmein, Kendau, Thetkaw, Meiloe, Aunggaung
Camps Japan:
Kawasaki Camp No. 14D, Shinagawa Main Hospital Camp
Rakuyo Maru Party, Kumi No. 37 (rescued by a Japanese corvette)
Return Details 1945:
U.S.M.C. barge to a US. Navy Hospital Ship, Tokyo Bay-Manila, Manila-Sydney, HMS Speaker, Sydney-Fremantle, HMT Dominion Monarch.

General Description

Sydney Clayden was one of the fortunate!  He survived the sinking of Rakuyo Maru and miraculously was rescued by a Japanese Corvette from the South China Sea with Bert Wall WX12989 and Ossie Climie WX4927.
They arrived in Japan 29th August 1944 following 6 day transit in Taiwan.  Climmie and Clayden were drafted to work at Kawasaki Camp No. 14 D.

Wall, Climie and the Claydens were in ‘C’ Coy.

Tragically Climie was killed during an Allied air raid on 13th July 1945.

Read the story Members of 2/4th nominated for Medal but not awarded.

And the story Surviving the Sinking of the Rakuyo Maru written by Roy Cornford NX44955 of the 2/19th Battalion, courtesy of Peter Winstanley.

Syd was selected in Singapore to work on the Burma end of the Railway with ‘A’ Force Green Force No. 3 Battalion.

Read further about A Force Green Force No. 3 Battalion

Syd became sick when working at Meiloe 75 km Camp, Burma and was may have been evacuated to Tamarkan.

While he was in Tamarkan he was selected to work in Japan on 27 March 1944.  It would many months before Syd actually sailed to Japan.  The men selected for this journey were sent by rail to Saigon from where they were to be shipped.  They trained as far as Phom Pehn via Bangkok and made their way to Saigon, then French Indo-China.  The POWs remained in Saigon 3 months during which time they worked at the docks and other local places.  By this time the Japanese realised the American sea blockade was too successful for them to ship from Saigon and the POWs were returned by rail to Singapore!

At Singapore they were accommodated at River Valley Road Transit Camp and worked in parties around Singapore while they waited (up to 3 months).

He finally departed from Singapore on 6 September 1944 on ‘Rakuyo Maru’ for Japan.

Following the attack by American submarines and their ship sank, Syd was one of those very fortunate men to survive long enough in the South China Seas and be in the right place at the right time when a Japanese corvette stopped to rescue him.   Bert Wall WX12989 and Climie WX4927  were also included in the number of POWs plucked from the sea.

Clayden, Wall and Climie arrived in Japan on 29 September 1944 after 6 days in Taiwan.  The treatment they received was not pleasant – certainly nothing like the men saved by the American submarines who were meticulously cared for by the crews in around the clock shifts.

Clayden and Climie were sent to Kawasaki Camp Group, No. 14D.  Tragically Climie died during an Allied air raid and never returned home.


Syd was recovered from Shinagawa (or Shindagowa) on 5 September 1945 by USMC Barge to U.S. Hospital Ship in Tokyo Bay to Manila.  He left Manila onboard HMS Speaker and arrived in Sydney on 13 October 1945.



Brothers Harold Thomas and Sydney Richard Clayden enlisted the same day.  Syd was 2 years older.  Their parents Jessie Thomas Clayden and Elizabeth Poulton married 1910 in England.  It is not known when Jessie arrived in Western Australia, Elizabeth arrived in 1914 from London with 3 year old Frank, older brother to Harold (Buck) and Syd.  The family at some time settled at Wooroloo and developed an orchard.  The boys helped in the orchard and on enlistment were working in the lucrative timber industry which existed at that time around Wooroloo.  

After war’s end, both boys initially returned to Wooroloo before making their lives in other parts of WA.

Syd married and moved to live in the Bunbury region.

Sydney Clayden died 26 December 1986.  His brother Harold (Buck) died 1979 Northam.






Camp Locations:

  • Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
  • Tamarkan, Tha Makham 56k - Thailand
  • Aungganaung,105Kilo - Burma
  • Kendau, Kandaw, 4 Kilo - Burma
  • Meilo, 75 Kilo, 340k - Burma
  • Tavoy (Dawei) - river port - Burma
  • Saigon - French Indo China
  • Victoria Point, Kawthoung - Burma. \'A\' Force, Green Force No. 3 Btn
  • Thetkaw 14 Kilo - Burma