Kenneth Augustus Pennington

7654332, Craftsman, Light Aid Detachment. REME.

Killed By Friendly Fire on the 13th June 1945 aged 35.

The grave of Craftsman Kenneth Augustus Pennington in Kanchanaburi War Cemetery, Thailand.

Kenneth was born on the 30th September 1909, the son of Thomas Augustus & Gertrude Lillian Pennington. His father, a plumber by trade, had served in the Royal Garrison Artillery during the First World War but had not been posted to France until hostilities had ceased. By 1939 , his parents were living at Brandsmead in Benington.

On the 6th July 1935 the 25 year-old engineer married Alice May Hale at Mortlake parish church, Surrey, the 21 year-old daughter of Charles Leonard Hale, a Postman.

He was taken prisoner by the Japanese at the fall of Singapore and like so many others was put to work on the notorious Burma-Siam Railway. The work on the railway began in October 1942 and was intolerably hard for Kenneth and his comrades who had to endure many hardships during their years of captivity.

No records were kept by the Japanese with respect to the work on the railway but it is estimated that over 16,000 prisoners of war perished during its construction, mainly as a result of sickness and malnutrition. The line was completed in December 1943 and thereafter the working parties were used for the maintenance of the track and to repair damage caused by allied air raids. The Japanese refused to allow the prisoners to construct a symbol, consisting of a white triangle on a blue base, to indicate the presence of any POW camp and as a result, with many camps being alongside the track or near other vulnerable points such as bridges, the camps were attacked by allied aircraft, adding to the prisoners misery.

As the capitulation of the Japanese forces approached more and more prisoners were grouped into the main camps and on the 13th June 1945 the RAF made an air attack on the camp at Kanchanaburi and it was during this raid that Kenneth was killed.

He is buried in the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery, Thailand. (6.E.23.)

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