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Japanese Merchant Seaman
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PeterMoran



Joined: 26 Dec 2008
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2009 5:51 pm    Post subject: Japanese Merchant Seaman Reply with quote

Many years ago I photographed the grave of a member of the Japanese forces buried in Glassary (Achnabreac) Burial Ground, Argyll (UK 7891) The inscription on the grave reads:
Donkeyman
N. Murai
Japanese Forces
14th May 1942

Can anyone shed any light on the history of this casualty?
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Adam Brown



Joined: 21 Sep 2007
Posts: 722
Location: Edinburgh

PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 12:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't suppose it helps much but a Donkeyman was a Merchant Seaman.

Regards

Adam
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kenmorrison



Joined: 05 Oct 2008
Posts: 732

PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 3:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

On a whim I checked the Scottish Death Register and found the following on the register for Lochgilphead, Argyll:

Nisaburo Murai, a seaman in the British Mercatile Marine, died age 51 of a coronary thrombosis at Knabdale POW Camp.
His usual address is given as 73 Seymour Street, South Shields.

Kenneth
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Adam Brown



Joined: 21 Sep 2007
Posts: 722
Location: Edinburgh

PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 3:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A Geordie Japanese who died in Argyll!

The NA have an official document concerning...

"Transfer of Japanese merchant seaman from Isle of Man to Knapdale POW camp"

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/catalogue/displaycataloguedetails.asp?CATLN=6&CATID=3151655&FullDetails=True&j=1&Gsm=2008-08-08

So Donkeyman Murai was not alone in Knapdale.

Adam
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kenmorrison



Joined: 05 Oct 2008
Posts: 732

PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 3:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Adam

I'm wondering if it was the same guy?
and the camp is indeed Knapdale or in some references Knapedale but little seems to be known about it.

Kenneth
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Adam Brown



Joined: 21 Sep 2007
Posts: 722
Location: Edinburgh

PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 6:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Achnabreac is at Lochgilphead where the camp was.

PoW Camp 24 according to this site

http://www.online-archaeology.co.uk/Articles/tabid/85/PageID/33/ArticleID/4/articleType/ArticleView/Default.aspx

Adam
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PeterMoran



Joined: 26 Dec 2008
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 7:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Nisaburo Murai, a seaman in the British Mercatile Marine, died age 51 of a coronary thrombosis at Knabdale POW Camp.
His usual address is given as 73 Seymour Street, South Shields.


Thanks for your efforts. Wonder if Marui was serving in the British Merchant Navy and was interned as an alien following Japan's entry into WWII in December 1941 (?) In which case the headstone inscription "Japanese Forces" is incorrect.

Regards

Peter
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kenmorrison



Joined: 05 Oct 2008
Posts: 732

PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 8:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Peter
I think that your idea about internment is probable and would tie in with the NA record.
I also suspect that as Nisaburo was in a POW camp when he died it would have been easy or convenient to categorise him as a member of Japanese Forces.

Kenneth
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kenmorrison



Joined: 05 Oct 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 8:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Peter
I meant to ask - does the photo of the gravestone give any idea as to provided it?

Kenneth
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Adam Brown



Joined: 21 Sep 2007
Posts: 722
Location: Edinburgh

PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 9:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is strange. As a merchant seaman serving on British registered ships and having a home address in England you would think he would be classified as an Enemy Alien hence his previous location -the Isle of Man Internment Camp.

To be transferred to a PoW camp along with other Japanese Merchant Seamen did they have to be classed as being in the Imperial Japanese Forces?

Japan signed but did not ratify the 1929 Geneva Convention so does that mean Britain could reclassify Japanese subjects at will or was there more to it?

I don't suppose there was a large number of Japanese civilians in the UK in 1941 anyway.

Adam
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kenmorrison



Joined: 05 Oct 2008
Posts: 732

PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 12:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Adam
The Manx National Heritage web site (www.gov.im/mnh/heritage/library/bibliographies/internment.xml) contains the following book details
Itoh, Keiko
The Japanese Community in Pre-War Britain from Integration to Disintegration
Richmond: Curzon Press, 2001
ISBN 0-7007-1487-1
Often overlooked is the experience of a small number of Japanese internees. This book explains the background and details of some of those interned.
Library Ref B.115/96

But it is 80 - so finding a copy in a big ref/library might be the only option to find more info.
I did look on ancestry and was surprised with the number of hits that the name Murai produces.

Kenneth
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PeterMoran



Joined: 26 Dec 2008
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2009 9:10 pm    Post subject: Japanese Merchant Seaman Reply with quote

Kenneth

I have photographs of N Murai's grave but I don't have the expertise to upload them to this site.

If you would like to email me at: petermoran(at)fg02cyt.fsbusiness.co.uk, I will forward the photos to you and perhaps you can post them on the site.

Regards

Peter Moran
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kenmorrison



Joined: 05 Oct 2008
Posts: 732

PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2009 2:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't know whether this is coincidental but CWGC has the following:
Name: MURAI, TOHICHI
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Greaser
Regiment/Service: Merchant Navy
Unit Text: S.S. Manchester Regiment (Manchester)
Age: 53
Date of Death: 04/12/1939
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 67
Memorial: Tower Hill Memorial


The SS Manchester Regiment of the Manchester Line sank SW of Cape Race, Newfoundland after a collision with the SS Orepesa. 9 lives were lost.
I'm guessing that Murai's inclusion is because his death occurred before the declaration of war with Japan.

There may be a family connection between Nisaburo and Tohichi but Murai seems to be a common Japanese name if the number of hits I got on Ancestry is anything to go by.

Kenneth
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kenmorrison



Joined: 05 Oct 2008
Posts: 732

PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2009 2:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gravestone pictures from Peter Moran





Kenneth
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Adam Brown



Joined: 21 Sep 2007
Posts: 722
Location: Edinburgh

PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2009 9:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ken

Excellent, many thanks for posting Peter's photographs.

I guess the difference between the two is as you suggest Ken. In 1939 the first Murai was a British Merchant Seaman but as soon as 7th December 1941 happened the second Murai was an enemy alien.

Note they are of a similar age.

I'd still like to know when he moved from being a civilian merchant seaman to being a member of the Japanese Forces.

Adam
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