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!
With Bert Wall WX12989 and Ossie Climie WX4927 he survived the sinking of Rakuyo Maru in South China Sea 12 Sep 1944, stayed afloat long enough to be miraculously rescued by a Japanese Corvette  Their were about 80 or so POWs on three rafts (including Dr. Rowley Richards) 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.


‘Three rafts of POWs were picked up by a Japanese Corvette. The men numbering about 80 or 82 had to climb up the side of the corvette on rop (ladder) after which they were made to sit on deck up the front. Most had little or no clothing. They were given nothing to drink.
Climie, Syd Clayden and Bert Wall were with this above group. Wall went to Sakata where Rowley Richards was the only Australian Doctor amongst about 40 Australians and 200 British – there were some British doctors. Rowley Richards was regarded very highly as a doctor.
Climie and Clayden were sent to Kawasaki Camp 14D – within the Tokyo military jurisdiction.’
The above information was obtained from Bert Wall after the war.

Wall, Climie and the Clayden brothers 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 probably 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,  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.
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) Hospital Camp 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.  It is probable to suggest Syd was in hospital due to illness or injuries from air raids.
You may like to read about Shingawa Hospital Camp where it seems you would not like to be a patient during WW2.
Please read story of HMS ‘Speaker’ – the dark side of Australian Waterside Workers during WW2.  





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 their family at 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.








Please read further about boys from Wooroloo, Mundaring and Perth Hills


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
  • Victoria Point, Kawthoung - Burma. \'A\' Force, Green Force No. 3 Btn
  • Thetkaw 14 Kilo - Burma
  • Kawasaki 14D - Shibaura