Photograph courtesy of Kerry

Born: 4th February 1920, Ipswich.

Died: 12th September 1944; age: 24; Drowned chained on board ‘Rakuyo Maru’ as a Japanese PoW.

Captured: 15th February 1942 – Fall of Singapore.

Residence: 50, Spencer Road, Ipswich.


Rank: Gunner; Service Number: 1104644.

Regiment: Royal Artillery, 125 Anti-Tank Regiment.


Memorial Reference:

Column 31.

Kranji War Memorial,



Relatives Notified & Address: Son of Edward & Laura Spurgeon; husband of Violet Spurgeon, of Ipswich.


Father: Edward Redden Spurgeon, born 1890, Gorleston-on-Sea, Norfolk. A Scrap Metal & Rags Dealer.

Mother: Laura Edith Spurgeon (nee Mortimer), born 1891, Ipswich – died 1925, Ipswich.


On the 10th August 1940, Holy Trinity Church, Stowupland, Suffolk, Philip married Violet Alice Mary Polley, born April 1920, Old Newton, Suffolk – daughter of Robert Polley, a horseman on a farm and Elizabeth Jane Polley (nee Francis), of Gipping Cottage, Stowupland.

They had 1 son:

Alan Peter Spurgeon, born 12th February 1942, Ipswich. Two days before the Fall of Singapore.


Probate to Violet Alice Mary Spurgeon – widow.


15 February 1942, After the fall of Singapore, most of his Battalions were taken as POW’s, many died on the Burma-Thailand Railway. Philip survived the railway and was being transported onboard a “Hell Ship”, taking prisoners to Japan to work as slave labor. The ship was not designed for carrying POW’s. limited water or food, many died from heat and starvation. Many ships had been sunk by British and American forces, believed to be carrying cargo for Japan.
Philip died along with 2 other Ipswich prisoners on this day.

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