Individual Report: H6003 Francis CAULDWELL

1st Bn The Winnipeg Grenadiers

General Information

Rank: First Name: Second Name:
Warrant Officer Class II Francis Bertrum
From: Enlistment Region: Date of Birth (y-m-d):
Leicestershire UK Manitoba 1904-11-15
Appointment: Company: Platoon:
Company Sergeant Major D Coy HQ

Transportation - Home Base to Hong Kong

Members of 'C' Force from the East travelled across Canada by CNR troop train, picking up reinforcements enroute. Stops included Valcartier, Montreal, Ottawa, Armstrong ON, Capreol ON, Winnipeg, Melville SK, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Jasper, and Vancouver, arriving in Vancouver on Oct 27 at 0800 hrs.

The Winnipeg Grenadiers and the local soldiers that were with Brigade Headquarters from Winnipeg to BC travelled on a CPR train to Vancouver.

All members embarked from Vancouver on the ships AWATEA and PRINCE ROBERT. AWATEA was a New Zealand Liner and the PRINCE ROBERT was a converted cruiser. "C" Company of the Rifles was assigned to the PRINCE ROBERT, everyone else boarded the AWATEA. The ships sailed from Vancouver on Oct 27th and arrived in Hong Kong on November 16th, having made brief stops enroute at Honolulu and Manila.

Equipment earmarked for 'C' Force use was loaded on the ship DON JOSE, but would never reach Hong Kong as it was rerouted to Manila when hostilities commenced.

On arrival, all troops were quartered at Nanking Barracks, Sham Shui Po Camp, in Kowloon.

Battle Information

We do not have specific battle information for this soldier in our online database. For a detailed description of the battle from a Canadian perspective, visit Canadian Participation in the Defense of Hong Kong (published by the Historical Section, Canadian Military Headquarters).

Wounded Information

Date Wounded Wound Description References

Hospital Information

Name of hospital Date of admission Date of discharge Comments Reference

POW Camps

Camp ID Camp Name Location Company Type of Work Reference Arrival Date Departure Date
HK-NP-01North PointNorth Point, Hong Kong IslandN/AN/A
HK-AS-01Argyle StreetKowloon, Hong KongN/AN/A
HK-SA-01ShamshuipoKowloon, Hong KongCapture42 Jan 22
HK-NP-02North PointNorth Point, Hong Kong Island3342 Jan 2242 Sep 26
HK-SA-02ShamshuipoKowloon, Hong Kong42 Sep 26 43 Jan 19
JP-Fu-5BOmineKawasaki-machi, Fukuoka pref., Kyushu Island, JapanFurukawa Industries OmineCoal mining843 Jan 2345 Sep 22
JP-To-1BKawasakiKawasaki-shi, Oshima-cho, JapanNippon Express CompanyN/AN/A

Transport to Japan

Draft Number Name of Ship Departure Date Arrival Date Arrival Port Comments Reference
XD3BTatuta Maru43 Jan 19, left Shamsuipo Camp, 0500 hrs; left Hong Kong 1300hrs43 Jan 22, 0400 hrsNagasaki, JapanTony Banham

Transportation: SE Asia to Home

No related information found. Please submit documents to us using the contact link at the top of this page.

Post-war Photo

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Other Military Service

No related information found. Please submit documents to us using the contact link at the top of this page.

Death and Cemetery Information

Date of Death (y-m-d) Cause of Death Death Class Death Ref
1977-04-14Post War
Cemetery LocationCemeteryGrave NumberGravestone Marker
Calgary Alberta CanadaQueen's Park Cemetery and MausoleumSection P

Gravestone Image

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Obituary / Life Story

H6003 Francis CAULDWELL - born Leicestershire, United Kingdom. Marriage Date 24 Aug 1930 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Spouse Vesta Annabel Kinnear

Links and Other Resources

There may be more information on this individual available elsewhere on our web sites - please use the search tool found in the upper right corner of this page to view sources.

Facebook has proven to be a valuable resource in the documentation of 'C' Force members. The following link will take you to any available search results for this soldier based on his regimental number. Note: results may be contained within another related record. Facebook Search Results

Related documentation for information published in this report, such as birth information, discharge papers, press clippings and census documents may be available via shared resources in our HKVCA Vault. It is organized with folders named using regimental numbers. Use the first letter of the individual's service number to choose the correct folder, then scroll to the specific sub-folder displaying the service number of your interest.

General Comments

Newspaper Montreal Daily Star 5 October 1945

Manila, Oct. 5th: Members of a party of 160 Canadian prisoners of war who spent 32 months working in a coal mine at Kawasaki in Japan related yesterday how they planned to break out of the camp when the Allies invaded Japan and fight with other Allied prisoners as a guerrilla and sabotage group. The prisoners who were repeatedly told by the Japanese guards that when the invasion came they would all promptly be killed, made plans according to that advice. They prepared maps of the area and slowly built up in the camp a hidden store of 800 sticks of dynamite stolen from the mine. When word of the invasion came they intended to smash their way out of the camp, destroy bridges and other installations and attack an airfield.

The Japanese almost stumbled on the plan March 16, 1944, when they discovered some of the prisoners had made maps. The guards locked up several prisoners, including British Staff Sergeant Hugh Limb of the Hong Kong Volunteer Force who earned the respect of every Canadian during the imprisonment. Six other in the group were locked in the dungeon and made to stand at attention for 31 hours without a break. They were Sgt Maj W.R. Parkes, Richmond, Quebec; Sgt Maj Frank Ebdon, Donaconna, Quebec; Sgt Maj F.B. Cauldwell, Winnipeg; Sgt Lance Ross, Hopetown, Quebec; Sgt Maurice D'Avignon, Marieville, Quebec and Rfmn "yank" Burns, Harford, Conn.

Parkes called the dungeon "a miserable dirty hole" and said men who wavered during the hours they stood were beaten. To make the ordeal worse, they were fed small portions of salted rice and mouthfuls of salted water. Though the camp was good as such Japanese establishments go, most of the prisoners suffered from malnutrition and had to work despite illness. One Canadian who was seriously ill and was forced by beating to go into the mine, died before finishing his eight hour shift. Last winter the prisoners suffered severely from the cold, but were kept working nearly a mile underground in tunnels which they had dug originally. The tunnels were reinforced with concrete walls in which as a sabotage measure, the prisoners packed mine tools and other implements. The prisoners received numerous beatings administered by the Japanese guards commandant, nicknamed Hitler. The guards and work leaders used every means they could to keep coal production high. Mine cave-ins took the lives of two Canadians and nine others died of illness during the 14 months the prisoners worked to develop the mine and 18 during which they produced soft coal. The mine eventually produced 250 tons daily.

The Canadians learned the taste of horsehead soup, but they managed to keep in good spirits to the utter amazement of the Japanese. The group from Kawasaki, now in Manila awaited repatriation, included CQMS Tom Smith, Donnacona; CSM Harold Shepherd, Riverbend, Quebec; Sgt Leslie Stickles, East Angus, Quebec; Sgt Charles Fletcher, Lake Megantic, Quebec; Sgt Bill Hawke, Cowansville, Quebec; and Sgt Bob Barter, Grand Cascapedia, Quebec.

End of Report.

Report generated: 24 May 2024.

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Additional Notes

(These will not be visible on the printed copy)

  1. Service numbers for officers are locally generated for reporting only. During World War II officers were not allocated service numbers until 1945.
  2. 'C' Force soldiers who died overseas are memorialized in the Books of Remembrance and the Canadian Virtual War Memorial, both sponsored by Veterans Affairs Canada. Please use the search utility at VAC to assist you.
  3. Some birthdates and deathdates display as follows: 1918-00-00. In general, this indicates that we know the year but not the month or day.
  4. Our POW camp links along with our References link (near the bottom of the 'C' Force home page) are designed to give you a starting point for your research. There were many camps with many name changes. The best resource for all POW camps in Japan is the Roger Mansell Center for Research site.
  5. In most cases the rank displayed was the rank held before hostilities. Some veterans were promoted at some point prior to eventual post-war release from the army back in Canada. When notified of these changes we'll update the individual's record.
  6. Images displayed on the web page are small, but in many cases the actual image is larger. Hover over any image and you will see a popup if a larger version is available. You can also right-click on some images and select the option to view the image separately. Not all images have larger versions. Contact us to confirm whether a large copy of an image in which you are interested exists.
  7. In some cases the References displayed as part of this report generate questions because there is no indication of their meaning. They were inherited with the original database, and currently we do not know what the source is. We hope to solve this problem in future.
  8. We have done our best to avoid errors and omissions, but if you find any issues with this report, either in accuracy, completeness or layout, please contact us using the link at the top of this page.
  9. Photos are welcome! If a photo exists for a 'C' Force member that we have not included, or if you have a higher quality copy, please let us know by using the Contact Us link at the top of this page. We will then reply, providing instructions on submitting it.