Born: 19th November 1919, Debenham, Suffolk.

Died: 12th July 1943; age: 23; died of Diphtheria at No. 2 Camp Sonkurai, as a Japanese PoW on the Thailand-Burma Railway.

Occupation: a Cowman.

Captured: 15th February 1942 – Fall of Singapore.

Transferred overland to Camps 24th April 1943 – Party F – 400 men.


Rank: Private; Service Number: 5828591

Regiment: Suffolk Regiment, 5th Battalion – Infantry, 18th East Anglian Division.


Original grave site at Sonkurai Cemetery, Block D, Grave 4 (with four other bodies). The body was exhumed, identified, and re-buried at Thanbyuzayat War Cemetery, in December 1945.


Grave Reference:


Thanbyuzayat War Cemetery,



 Image courtesy of Kevin Knights


Relatives Notified & Address: Son of Ernest Edward & Rosetta Harriet Balaam; husband of Christina Rose Mary Balaam, of Capel St. Mary, Suffolk.


Father: Ernest Edward Balaam, born 1891, Aspall, Suffolk.

Mother: Rosetta Harriet Balaam, born 1894, Ipswich – died 1943. Ipswich.


On the 11th November 1939, in Southolt, Suffolk, Edward married Christina Rose Mary Pipe, born September 1921, a domestic servant, of Park Road, Southolt – daughter of Samuel Pipe, a hay trusser (died 1925), and Ethel Daisy Maud Pipe (nee Chambers) and stepdaughter of Robert William Sampson, a farm cowman.

Edward and Christina had two sons.

DISS EXPRESS – 17th November 1939.

The wedding took place at the Parish Church on Saturday, of Mr. Edward George Balaam, second son of Mr. and Mrs. E. Balaam, Low Step Cottage, Debenham, and Miss Christina Rose Mary Pipe, third daughter of Mrs. R. Sampson and the late Mr. S. Pipe, Southolt. The service was conducted by the Rev. G.T. Wilkes, Rector of Worlingworth.

The bride, who was given away by her stepfather, was attired in a blue dress with a hat and shoes to match and she carried a bouquet of white chrysanthemums and fern. She was attended by her sister, Miss Evelyn Pipe, who was dressed in rose pink with a headdress to match and carried a bouquet of bronze chrysanthemums. The duties of the best man were carried out by Mr. A. Brock (brother-in-law of the bride). The bride’s bouquet was afterwards placed on her father’s grave.

A reception was later held at the home of the bride and the happy couple were the recipients of many useful presents.


Edward is also remembered on the war memorial at Debenham, Suffolk.


The Fall of Singapore

Singapore movie footage

 Suffolk Regiment, 5th Battalion 

The Battalions were attached to the 18th East Anglian Division.
15 February 1942: After the fall of Singapore, approximately 620 of the Battalions were taken POW and later mostly died on the Burma-Thailand Railway.


Friends of The Suffolk Regiment


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