The Soldier's Details

First Name:
David Charles
Nick Name:
Regimental #:
'A' Company, Headquarters Reinforcement.
Place of Birth:
Geraldton, Western Australia
Father's Name:
David Williams Cripps
Mothers's Name:
Mary Grace Cripps (nee Ridley)
Pre-war Occupation:
Epitaph, Labuan Memorial, Panel 18, Age 22.
Selarang Camp Changi, River Valley Road Transit Camp (prior to departure to Japan)
'A' Force Burma, Green Force, No. 3 Battalion
Camps Thailand:
Camps Burma:
Victoria Point, Thetkaw, Kendau, Meiloe, Aungganaung
Rakuyo Maru Party, Kumi No. 35
Cause of Death:
Lost at Sea
Place of Death:
South China Sea
Date of Death:

General Description

L-R back - Sutherland, Carlyon, Unknown, Front L-R E F Osborne, E E Randall, Dave Cripps
L-R back – Sutherland, Carlyon, believed to be Keith Mitchell, Front L-R E F Osborne, E E Randall, Dave Cripps, (mostly from Geraldton/Northampton area).


Read about ‘A’ Force Green Force No 3 Battalion

David Cripps was selected for Japan 27 March 1944 with Kumi 35 while he was at Tamarkan, Thailand.

The  ‘Rakuyo Maru’ party as they were to become known as, was sent by train from Tamarkan via Bangkok to Phom Penh, French Indo China. They made their way to Saigon and although the Japanese attempted several times the have them sail for Japan from this coastline, it took some time before the Japanese realised it would be futile with the American submarine blockade which had successfully sunk most Japanese shipping attempting to leave.

The POWs were put to work mostly around the docks while in Saigon and eventually returned to Phom Penh to take to train trip to Singapore via Bangkok.

At Singapore the POWs were accommodated at River Valley Road Transit Camp and  sent out to work, mostly around the wharves,  before they finally embarked on the ‘Rakuyo Maru’ at Keppell Harbour and sailed about 10th September 1944.   The whole process from when the men were selected for Japan in March 1944 had taken about 6 months.


Peter Cripps
Peter Cripps nephew of David.  Peter organised service and headstone.


David Charles Cripps WX15783.

One or two days after ‘Rakuyo Maru’ sank in the South China Sea on 12th September 1944, and during a late afternoon, an exhausted David Charles Cripps aged 22 years, tragically lost his life when he slipped off the raft he managed to board having miraculously survived the sinking of the ‘Rakuyo Maru’.  He was 22 years old.

Peter Cripps nephew David Charles Cripps,  organised and held a service in Geraldton on 12 September 2013 in honour of his uncle and his service to Australia during WW2.   59 years previously his uncle, a POW on-board ‘Rakuyo Maru’ which was sailing in a convoy from Singapore en-route to Japan was torpedoed by US submarines. During the following days hundreds of POWs either perished or drowned in the South China Sea near Hainin Island.   The astounded crew of the very same submarines that had attacked the convoy picked a very fortunate small number of men up several days later.  The crews were completely unaware the convoy was carrying 100s of POWs to work in Japan.  The Japanese chose not to identify their human cargo.


CRIPPS, Private, DAVID CHARLES, WX15783, A.I.F. 2/4 M.G. Bn., Australian Infantry. 12 September 1944. Age 22. Son of David Williams Cripps and Mary Grace Cripps, of Northampton, Western Australia. Panel 18.

Labuan Memorial, Malaysia.

Read Rakuyo Maru story

Read about the enlistments from Northampton.



Davey Cripps parents David William Cripps and Mary Grace Ridley married in 1919.  David William Cripps died unexpectedly in September 1924 aged 38 years.    Davey’s grandfather Thomas Charles Cripps had died in April 1923.


Davey Cripps – his father and grandfather were no longer alive when he enlisted.  He was an only child of Mary Grace Cripps (nee Ridley)


Below, is a write up about the returning Private Charles Cripps from WW1. Charles Cripps died 6 years later.


Cripps David Charles P. 1

Cripps, David Charles P 2


Cripps, David Charles P 3.

Camp Locations:

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