No. 5831523, Private, Stanley MACKENDER
Aged 29

Norfolk Regiment, 4th Battalion
Died at Sea as a prisoner of the Japanese on Thursday 21st September 1944

Born in Lakenheath on 24th May 1915 (Mildenhall Q2-1915 4A:1775), son of Robert Cooper and Ella Maud MACKENDER (née KENT).
His will gave his address as The Tap, High Street, Lakenheath and his father as publican

In the 1939 register he was a general labourer, living at The Tap Inn, High Street, Mildenhall with his father Robert [8-3-1889] a labourer/innkeeper; his mother Ella M [10-3-1893]; brother Reginald S [19-4-1913] farm labourer; sister Marjorie E (later Mrs FLACK) [3-9-1928] scholar.

His younger brother Ronald died in Italy :- see here

Stanley and Charles Mackender above
and Stanley pre war below

The 4th Norfolks arrived at Keppel Harbour, Singapore on 29th January 1942 on the USS Wakefield.
Stanley was captured on 15th February 1942 when the British surrendered to the Japanese in Singapore. He survived working on the Burma-Siam railway.

Stanley was then another victim of the "Hell Ships". These were used to transport prisoners of war across the pacific , mainly for slave labour in mainland Japan. Unfortunately they were never marked as carrying our men and since the Allies were aware of the whereabouts of these convoys, many were sunk en route. Conditions on these ships were such that a strong stomach is required to read the various books about them.

He was part of a group to be sent to Borneo on the Hofuku Maru. This old ship was forced to call in at Manila, where it waited for a month with the prisoners still kept below in the hold, many dying of starvation and disease
Eventually,on September 20, 1944, the Hofuko Maru [KA-27} (with 1,289 prisoners on board) and 10 other ships formed Convoy MATA-27, and sailed from Manila for Japan. The following morning, the convoy was attacked 80 miles north of Corregidor by more than 100 American carrier planes. All eleven ships in the convoy were sunk. Of the 1,289 British and Dutch POWs on board the Hofuku Maru, 1,047 died. On 21st September 1944 the Hofuku Maru sailed with Convoy MATA-27 for Takao in Formosa. She was attacked by an American aircraft carrier about 80 miles north of Corregidor, the aircraft carrier’s planes sunk the whole fleet including the Hofuku Maru, not knowing she carried prisoners locked in the holds. The Hofuku Maru was carrying 1289 prisoners from Manila to Japan, 1047 were lost.

His mothers headstone commemorating also her two sons

photo from

Stanley is commemorated on the Singapore Memorial, Kranji War Cemetery. ref: column 51

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details