These parties X.1 through to X.11 worked mainly as tunnelling parties at various locations around Singapore during 1945. By 1945 Japan faced defeat – but it would be months and months and two atomic bombs before they surrendered.
Some POWs believed (and rightly so) – they would be herded into the tunnels – the tunnels would serve as their tombs when the entrances were blown up.
The Japanese Garrison on Singapore initiated a programme of tunnels to store ammunition and to use as air raid shelters – their last great effort to hold off a total collapse of their war effort. Also construction of a fighter aerodrome.
Little is known and less recorded of  X and P Parties formed from Changi, Singapore during 1945.  What we do know is the POWs were used to prepare defences for IJA –  caves/tunnels as storage for explosives, etc.    (The men themselves believed IJA planned to end the POW lives by entombing them in these constructions.)
We have some information where these parties were housed, but unfortunately for most there is no record and hence we cannot record them in the category of ‘Camps’.  Also with the end of the war there was so much excitement and activity, most history of this parties was overlooked and/or not recorded.
The men who made up these parties were returned POWs from F & H Forces who had returned to Singapore at the end of 1943 and those who remained in Changi throughout the war for reasons of health, age or essential trade skills.  POWs at both Selarang and Changi Gaol Camps moved in and out on various work parties in Johore Bahru and around Singapore Island.
It is important to remember these men have been POWs for three years plus.   Those POWs who worked on the Railway endured much more – saw their mates die of illness and brutality, worked as slaves long hours on minimal food.  Men returning ill with F & H Forces after end of 43 spent considerable time hospitalised and in recovery sometimes up to 12 months.

How did they find the strength of character to keep going?

‘Digging Funk Holes’  – digging small dugouts – for 1, 2 or 3 Japanese soldiers.
Digging tunnels and or fox holes for Japanese to hide  from where they could fight or seek safety from air attack.’

From AWM

Prisoners were used on heavy labouring works in and around Singapore. Tasks included road-building, freight-moving, mine removal and work in chemical factories. These troops suffered from diseases such as beriberi, malaria, and dysentery. Prisoners of war were sent to the following camps around Singapore: Great World, Adam Park No. 1, Bukit Timah No 5, Thomson Road No. 3, Lornie Road, Serangoon Road, Adam Park No. 4, Woodlands, Pasir Pajang, River Valley Road, Havelock Road, and Blakang Mati; and in Malaya to Johore Bahru, Mersing, and Endau.

Please Read Tom Bunnings reference to X Parties.


X1 Party Singapore – Jahore Bahru Tunnelling Party 28 Mar 1945 to 30 April 1945

Under the command of Capt. D. Duffy of 2/30th Btn, this party consisted of men from 2/29th and 2/30th. Work involved excavating tunnels at Johore Bahru.  The men worked on a daily rota of one hour on and one hour off due to the inadequate ventilation and the poor physical condition of POWs.
With frequent falls of earth the work became dangerous.
The POWs were initially accommodated in an old barracks and a large house which were located about two miles apart.   On 24 April 1945 the work party merged at the barracks.  Most of the men had been to Thailand so malaria was prevalent amongst their ranks.  Following this work, Capt Duffy led another group –  A.1 Party on tunnelling duties from 7 May 1945.  Eight companies totalled 282 men.
No further details are known.

The following 2/4th Men were in this party.

WX15433 James ANDERSON – previously ‘F’ Force.

WX7943 Robert DRYSDALE – previously ‘H’ Force.  Also P Force.

WX10066 Douglas Godfrey ROSS remained Singapore throughout war. In 1835 seconded to work with Levelling Party Changi Aerodrome, X1 Party and P Party.


X.2 Party
665 British POWs departed 29 April 1945 to Kranji.


X.3 Party 1 April 1945 to 20 Aug 1945
This Party was under the command of Capt Fred Stahl, 8th Division Signals consisting of seven officers and 377 other ranks. WX6067 Lt. Penrod Dean, 2/4th MGB was one of the seven officers – he was accompanied by 13 other ranks from the Battalion.
The work site was at Choa Chu Kang Road, north of Bukit Panjang, approximately 400 yards west of Bukit Timah Road. The work consisted of excavation and construction of tunnels, trenches and weapon pits.

2/4th men in this party include:

WX8518 William Francis Anderton – previously remained Changi.

WX8795 Franz BLACKLEMAN -previously remained Singapore.

WX14856 Melville Roy DOCKING – previously F Force.

WX6917 George James DOODSON – remained Singapore.

WX5064 Edwin ‘Ted’ ELLIOTT – previously ‘H’ Force & Levelling Party Changi Aerodrome
WX15422 Basil Melville FROST – JAVA PARTY No.4 Williams Force was sent from Java to work Burma end of Burma-Thai Railway. Frost was selected as fit by Japanese to work in Japan, however before he could board ‘Rakuyo’ Maru, Frost developed an infected leg and remained behind in Singapore – and save his life as nearly all 2/4th on this ship died.  Please read about ‘Rakuyo’ Maru
WX4991 Ernest Edgar HAMBLEY previously with ‘F’ Force Thailand.
WX9915 Frank Herbert KEIRLE previously worked Burma-Thai Railway with ‘H’ Force Camp No. 3. Contracted cholera 20 June 1943 at Malayan Hamlet and survived to return to Singapore.
WX7541 Clement Charles KEITEL – remained Singapore throughout war.  During 1945 Keitel was seconded to work with X3 Party in Singapore.
WX9272 Arthur Gilbert SANDERS remained Singapore throughout war.  Seconded to work with Levelling Party Changi Aerodrome and X3 Party in 1945.  Recovered from Changi Gaol Camp.


X.4a Party 17 June 1945
Located around Bukit Timah and work party included 50 AIF.
Orchard Road Camp was situated closer to heart of Singapore on Orchard Road and considered by POWs to be a reasonably good camp.  It consisted of three two-storied huts surrounded by a high fence over which private residences and a park could be seen.  Work at this camp generally was at Keppell Harbour on the go-downs.  Keppell Harbour was used as a transit camp for POWs destined later to sail to Japan.
Towards the end of the war, the men supposedly dug sewerage trenches at Alexandra Hospital.  Undoubtably, this work was the advance party for the work of X.4c Party to continue in August 1945.
X.4b Party 6 April 1945 / TANJONG PAGAR CAMP
There were three members of 2/4th MGB included in a total of 50 AIF. They acted as an advance party for W Party at Keppel Harbour.
The camp was adjacent to the wharf at Keppel Harbour.
WX7705 Ronald HILL – remained Singapore throughout Singapore.  Also worked with W Party.
WX18151 Arthur Roy SHIER previously with ‘F’ Force Thailand. He joined several work parties – X4B Party, W Party, Tanjong Pagar Camp.  Roy was recovered from Singapore.


X.4c Party 10 April 1945 to 17 Aug 1945
They worked in the region around River Valley Road under Command of Capt. Bowring, 2/29th. Btn.  Work consisted of tunnelling for defensive purposes.  The last few weeks before the end of the war POWs constructed machine gun pits, in particular around Alexandra Hospital.


X.5 Party 12 April 1945
The following three groups – X.5, X.6 and X.7 consisted of 51 AIF and 51 British POWs.


X.6 Party 26 May 1945
Work consisted of tunnelling around Singapore and Johore Bahru.  2/4th men we know in X6 party include:
WX10841 Arthur Crighton BRUCE – previously remained Singapore.
WX8119 Rodney Charles FULLERTON – Wounded 11 Feb 1942.  Remained Changi.  Seconded to  X8 Party 1945 at Singapore.
WX8597 Frank HINDS – previously ‘F’ Force.  Also Levelling Party Changi Aerodrome Party & P Party.
WX10806 Kenneth Edgar LESSELS previously ‘H’ Force, Evacuated with Cholera from Malay Hamlet to Kanchanaburi 21 June 1943. Also Levelling Party Changi Aerodrome.
WX8675 Robert Russell LYLE remained Singapore.  WIA Ulu Pandan 10 Feb 1942 received GSW in arm through to his back, plus bayonet wound to stomach.  Previously Garden Contol Party before X6 Party.

WX17907 William Thomas SWANN – previously remained Changi

WX10841 Bruce Arthur CRIGHTON – remained Changi.


X.7 Party 29 May 1945
27 men from 2/4th were spread between these three groups.


X.8 Party Adam Park, Singapore – 4 Jul 1945 to 17 Aug 1945
Under the command of Warrant Officer A Crawford.
Built tunnels, probably Funk holes.
This party tunnelled in the vicinity of Jurong Road. The AIF contingent was housed in nearby huts. There were three 2/4th men in this party including:
WX8709 Richard Bernard Blaschek – previously remained Changi.

WX9101 Jack Clifford EWEN previously ‘F’ Force Thailand.

WX8672 George David WILLIAMS previously ‘F’ Force Thailand.


The X Parties were from here on were engaged in the construction of fortifications, air raid shelters and gun emplacements.


X.9 Party 29 May 1945
Possibly in the Singapore area consisting of 200 AIF.  No further details known.


X.10 Party 
There were 1,000 POWs in this Party to dig tunnels in the hills about 2-3 miles from Changi Gaol Camp.

WX8584 John Sharp (Scotty) Duncan – who remained in Singapore throughout the war,  reported that on his return to Changi late 1944 from working at the Shell Refinery, Pulau Bukom he was seconded to X10 Party which was “digging tunnels in the hills”.  He said the entrance and front areas of the tunnels were shored up but further back inside they were not.
In September 1945 the men learnt the terrifying information the tunnels were to be filled with POWs and blown up at the entrance (in the instance of an Allied invasion).
You can read Duncan’s description.
Other 2/4th men who worked on this project included:
WX8185 Jimmy Barry – previously with ‘H’ Force Thailand.
WX13421 Ron Beckham – previously ‘H’ Force Thailand.

WX10282 Charles Leslie COLLINS – previously ‘H’ Force

WX16306 Joseph COOK – remained Singapore – Paralysed legs and back for 3 months.

WX5064 Edwin Finlay ELLIOT – previously ‘H’ Force Thailand

WX4991Ernest Edgar HAMBLEY – previously ‘F’ Force

WX9350 Patrick (George) HODGINS previously ‘H’ Force

WX16981 William Robert HOWSON previously ‘F’ Force

WX8750 Huia Albert JACKSON – remained Singapore throughout war.

WX10806 Ken LESSELS – previously ‘H’ Force Group 3

WX8013 Edwin Ernest MILLER- previously ‘F’ Force

WX15457 Samuel Edward ‘Ted’ NASH – previously remained Singapore
WX10066 Douglas Godfrey ROSS – remained Singapore. Worked at Changi Aerodrome, XI Party, P Party
WX8041 Walter Joseph STONE – previously remained Changi
WX7011 Herbert William WILLIAMS – remained Singapore throughout war.  He suffered a fractured left elbow and was admitted to hospital 26 Nov 1942.
WX5204 Harold James WORSDELL previously with ‘H’ Force on Burma-Thai Railway.  Recovered from Changi Gaol Camp at end of war.



X.11 Party 28 July 1945
This group worked in Johore Bahru area.  No further details known.  175 British and 175 Australian.
With so many men sent to work outside Changi, the camp was depleted.  The officers were ordered to man the wood trailers.  100 AIF men every four days – there were incredibly large numbers of officers at Changi, many having never left Singapore throughout the war.


P1 and P2 Parties 7 May 1945 to 18 August 45

There were 51 AIF Men on P2 Party located one mile northwest of Jahore Bahru and 3/4 mile from Q Party.  There was a newly constructed camp to accommodate 200 men.  From 3 August to 10 August 45 the POWs worked on excavation of tunnels with ‘Q’ Party.  Work stopped on 14 August 1945 and recommenced on clearing and digging until 18 August when ‘Q’ Force finished.
WX15433 James Lorimer ANDERSON – previously ‘F’ Force & X1 Party.

WX7943 Robert DRYSDALE – previously ‘H’ Force, X1 Party.

WX9132 Arthur Raymond GAMBLE previously ‘H’ Force Thailand & Levelling Party Changi Aerodrome.
WX8597 Frank HINDS previously ‘F’ Force.   Also levelling Party Changi aerodrome, X6 Party.
WX17634 Wally HOLDING – previously ‘F’ Force Thailand. Also Levelling Party Changi Aerodrome.
WX10066 Douglas Godfrey ROSS remained Singapore throughout war. In 1945 seconded to work with Levelling Party Changi Aerodrome, X1 Party and P Party.

‘Q’ PARTY 10 JAN 1945 TO 18 AUG 1945

Located 2 miles north of Johore Bahru  on the main road.  Accommodation consisted of three X 40 metre long atap huts equipped with electric lights and showers!  The party included 140 AIF men – their first task to build a wall, the construction of which took until 25 Feb 1945 then the POWs were put to work on a large Japanese ordnance dump.  On 30 March POWs began digging tunnels until 8 Aug 45.  The work stopped for a few days then recommenced at the Japanese Military Barracks in Johore until all work ceased on 18 August 1945.

W PARTY SINGAPORE 6 April 45 to 20 Aug1945

WX5206 William HICKS – remained Changi.  WIA 15 Feb 1942.  shrapnel wound to left arm median nerve.
WX7705 Ronald HILL – remained Singapore throughout war. Also worked Tanjong Pagar, W Party & X4B Party.
WX18151 Arthur Roy SHIER returned with ‘F’ Force and in 1945 joined several work parties – X4B Party, W Party, Tanjong Pagar Camp.  Roy was recovered from Singapore.



Please read further 

During 1944 aware Allied aircraft were appearing more frequently  over Singapore, and they were losing the war,  JIA Headquarters decided to construct an additional fighter aerodrome.  They moved the Australian POWs from Selarang to Changi Gaol (it would become very overcrowded).  The fighter aerodrome would be constructed  by POWs – to be called the Levelling Party on the site of the Birdwood Camp Sports ground opposite Selarang Barracks.
The earth airstrip comprised a main runway, cross-runway  and a dispersal road at the southern end.  The aerodrome took 20 months to construct and was completed by 25 May 1945.
WX9388 John Murray Colevllle CHEYNE – previously ‘A’ Force Green Force Burma – was ill and remained behind from ‘Rakuyo’ Maru Party.
WX6067 Penrod DEAN – previously Outram Road Gaol and X3 Party.
WX5064 Edwin ‘Ted’ Finlay ELLIOTT previously ‘H’ Force Thailand & X3 Party.
WX9132 Arthur Raymond GAMBLE -previously ‘H’ Force Thailand. Returned to Singapore & seconded to work Levelling Party Changi Aerodrome and then ‘P’ Party (Jahore Bahru).
WX3450 George Wittendale GWYNNE – previously ‘F’ Force Thailand
WX8957 Frank HINDS – previously ‘F’ Force Thailand, X6 Party, P Party.
WX176344 Wally HOLDING previously ‘F’ Force.  Levelling Party & P Party.
WX10097 Aubrey HOSKING – remained Changi throughout war.  Worked Garden Control Party & Levelling Party Changi Aerodrome.
WX10806 Kenneth Edgar LESSELS previously ‘H’ Force – evacuated to Kanchanaburi with Cholera from Malay Hamlet 21 June 1943.  Also X 6 Party.
WX10066 Douglas Godfrey ROSS remained Singapore throughout war. In 1835 seconded to work with Levelling Party Changi Aerodrome, X1 Party and P Party.
WX9272 Arthur Gilbert SANDERS remained Singapore throughout war.  Seconded to work with Levelling Party Changi Aerodrome and X3 Party in 1945.  Recovered from Changi Gaol Camp.
WX8596 Douglas Francis STERRETT previously ‘F’ Force Thailand. Worked with Levelling Party Changi Aerodrome and ‘P’ Party.


You can read an overview of X Parties, Singapore.