Sub-Lieutenant (A), Fred HOCKLEY
H.M.S. "Indefatigable", R.N.V.R.
Executed after capture on Wednesday, 15th August 1945
Fred Hockley was born in 1923, (Ely Q1-1923 3B:779) son of George and Hannah Rebecca HOCKLEY (née FREEMAN) of Littleport.
Living at 12 Hempfield Road, Littleport, his father was a foreman for the water board, and bell ringer at St. George's church.
Fred had a sister, Kathleen. He was at Soham Grammar School from 1934 to 1940.
In the 1939 register the family were at "Gaywood" Hempfield Road, Littleport, father George [30-4-1887] a farm labourer (recorded elsewhere as water board foreman); mother Hannah R [21-2-1883] and Leslie FELTON [16-11-1930] presumed to be an evacuee. There is one closed record.
Commissioned in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve he was posted as a Supermarine Seafire pilot to HMS Indefatigable. On 15th August 1945 he took off leading five Seafires of 894 Squadron to escort Firefly and Avenger fighter bombers attacking airfields in Tokyo Bay. They were diverted to a chemicals factory in Odaki Bay
His Seafire Mk III was hit during a dogfight and caught fire, he baled out and landed on Chiba peninsula, East of Tokyo. He was captured and handed over to 426 Infantry Regiment, and when the surrender was announced at 12 noon, their CO., Col.Tamura Tei'ichi asked divisional HQ for instructions and Major Hirano Nobou said "to finish him off". Tamura then ordered his adjutant Capt Fujina Masazo to carry out the execution so that no one could witness it. At nine o'clock that night Fred Hockley, blindfolded and hands tied, was shot, stabbed with a sword to ensure he was dead and buried. He was later exhumed and cremated after the colonel feared he may be found.
At a subsequent war crimes trial, Tamura and Hirano were convicted and hanged on 16th September 1947.
photos:Fred at school 1935 and in FAA
The Seafire was a carrier borne version of the Spitfire. This drawing is of one of 894 squadron's aricraft
the roundel is the Pacific roundel to avoid confusion with the Japanese roundel
© Commonwealth War Graves Commission
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