Location: Philippines. Date: September 15, 1944.
If ever there was a story of survival to encapsulate the true grit of Sparrow Force, Privates Claude Longey and Arthur Richardson is a jaw dropper. As this film footage shows, Claude and Arthur survived the sinking of the hellship Rakuyo Maru, which was sunk by USS Pampanito.
Australian prisoners of war are here rescued by USS Sealion (SS-315) and USS Pampanito (SS-383) after sinking of the Rakuyo Maru, a Japanese prison ship carrying them at sea near the Philippines. Rescue team members are on the deck of the submarine and they help the survivors aboard the ship. Crew members then remove the fuel oil from the body of a survivor.
Claude and Arthur were lucky. Unfortunately, two other members of their battalion died.
During the war, 120 members of Sparrow Force drowned in hellships sunk by American submarines.
Survivors of sinking
Pte. Longey, Claude Edward TX4802 R Company, 2/40 Infantry Battalion (POW, Rescued at sea (Rakuyo Maru), Discharged 9/7/45).
Pte. Richardson, Arthur Edmund TX3872 HQ Staff, HQ Company, 2/40 Infantry Battalion (POW, Rescued at sea (Rakuyo Maru), discharged 11/2/1945).
Died in sinking
Pte. Barnes, Cilfford Keith TX5463 10 Platoon, B Company, 2/40 Infantry Battalion (Drowned 12/9/44 (Rakuyo Maru)).
Pte. Davidson, George Connolly TX2885 7 Platoon, A Company, 2/40 Infantry Battalion (Drowned 13/9/44 (Rakuyo Maru)).