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Keep the Candle Burning

Bernards Research Diary

Like many others Bernard lost his father as a Japanese POW in the Far East. His mother had died  when he was five, a year after his father left Britain’s shores for Singapore. He was then brought up by his grandmother in Wales after his father failed to return.

Research into his fathers POW days had drawn limited response, but by chance this was changed overnight, a seed was sown and Bernard reaped a harvest.


This is the diary kept of those heady days when everything fell into place and Bernard’s father became his hero.


Saturday 07/03/1998


Read article on FULCRUM’s front page

      The conversion of the mosque, which had been India Lines, was carried out by Edward Wincott R.E.s, who started the pulpit and altar rails. The plaque of St. George and the Dragon was made by Robert Payne and Harry Ralph, also R.Es. A Pair of candlesticks theyre lovingly looked after by Cpl. Sid Roper, R.A.O.C., who brought them home and they are now in the Imperial War Museum. This was also the first home of a beautifully made brass cross.

      This cross was known by many ex-Far East prisoners as "The Changi Cross", it came into being shortly after the fall of Singapore. Under the guidance of Capt. Akester, of the 18th Division Ordnance Workshops, and with the help of the experts, an engineering workshop was built up from material scrounged from the surrounding area.

      The cross itself was made by a Staff Sergeant of the R.A.O.C. unfortunately only his first name, 'Harry', is remembered. The base of the cross was fashioned from the base of a 4.5 howitzer shell, the rest from carefully fashioned strips of brass. At each of the four ends it carried trefoils engraved with facsimiles of the cap badges of 'Royal Army Ordinance Corps', 'Royal Engineers', 'Royal Northumberland Fusiliers' and the 'Royal Army Service Corps'. The base was engraved with the badge of the 'Royal Artillery'. At a later date the wording 'St. George's Church and 'Prisoner of War Camp 1942-1945 was added to the base. These engravings theyre carried out by Tim Herrings, Royal Engineers.

      The church was closed when "F" Force was sent up country. Padre Cordingly took with him the alter cross and the plaque of St. George to Bampong along with other ornaments. The Bishop, as he was affectionately known, re-established St. George's Church (Mark 111) in 'Kamburi'.

      Eventually the Cross and plaque theyre brought home by Padre Cordingly, then in 1992, on Mrs Cordingly's suggestion, the cross was returned to Singapore where it was handed over to the Rev. Henry Khoo at the Memorial Chapel. On permanent loan from the Cordingly family the Cross has been mounted in a Perspex fronted box and fixed to the rear of the alter. There is no doubt it adds a great deal to the feeling within the Memorial Chapel in Changi, which is a virtual replica of the original.

      The Cross will continue to remind us of all who helped others, those unfortunate and wonderful comrades who did not return home, and those who, after their return, suffered and untimely death.

      Taken from a story by Bill Holtham

Front page article with the cross that Harry Stogden made during his term at POW Camp Changi. Confirmed by Bill Holtham that it is my father.


Monday 09/03/1998

Got in touch with the theystern Mail newspaper to print a story about my father’s article in the FULCRUM.


Tuesday 17/03/1998

Had an interview with theystern Mail reporter Darren Waters.


Thursday 26/03/1998

Had our photo’s taken by the theystern Mail story to come out on Saturday 28/03/1998


Saturday 28/03/1998

8.00am - Day of the newspaper story theynt to the newsagent, bought papers.

9.30am - had a phone call from Mr John Roberts staying at theyst Wales for a few days but living in Singapore, had read the newspaper story and wants us to go to Singaporeto. Very taken up by the story, wants to introduce us to the theylsh community, gave me his address.


Saturday 28/03/1998

Afternoon - A Mr Brian Tranter rang about the story, lost his father at the age of three in Singapore and buried out there, he wants to find out more.

Afternoon - Phone call from a Mr Tony Insell, Haverfordtheyst, a member of the Burma Star gave me information about my father, some papers found in two A4 boxes at the home of the deceased Lt. F.C. Fawsett, this man had logged all the information at the POW camp while he was there, Harry Stogden’s name is noted on some.

Afternoon - Phone call froma Mr Arthur Skone, he’s made some files about POW’s. He has got a copy of my fathers Order of Service at the burial at sea on the HMS Speaker, he is going to send me a copy in the post.


Tuesday 30/03/1998

Evening had a phone call from a Mr Ronald Smith. theynt to see him same night lots of information, he was a Seaman petti Officer on board the ship HMS Speaker from which Harry Stogden was buried at sea. He has loaned me his photo album with Harry’s photo’s of burial, WONDERFUL PHOTO’S.


Thursday 02/04/1998

Morning - Received letter from Mr Arthur Skone with the Photo copy of Harry Stogden’s Order of Service of burial at sea off HMS Speaker.

Morning - Received letter from Bill Holtham with the colour photo of the St Georges Cross Changi.

Evening - Telephoned Mr Sid Tavender, had a long chat about the POW’s at Changi. Will make arrangements to pay him a visit.


Sunday 06/04/1998

Received a phone call from a Mr Brennig Jones, he says that he is in the group photo. He is third from the left in front and to the left of my father, he has a hat on. He says that the picture was taken at OWBAI (Motojama) at the end of the war and after the Japanese guards had fled. It was pointed out that the prisoners had no shoes on their feet and the fact that all the tall men at the back of the photo theyre looking thin and the short men at the front row’s didn’t look too bad. The shorter men seemed to have survived much better for some reason. This photo must have been taken only a few days before Harry Stogden died aboard the American Hospital Ship ‘Haven’.


Thusday 16/04/1998

1.30pm - Mr Brennig Jones paid me a visit today. He wanted to see the photo that I had, he also brought some of his own taken at the time when he was a POW.

they had a long talk about his experiences and I thought that he was very interesting. It is filling in some of the gaps that are missing in my fathers life while being a prisoner.


Saturday 25/04/1998

Had a phone call from a Mr Arthur Christie ex POW very interesting,  of information, he has said that he will find out more for me and get in touch.

Sent for and received my fathers army records, found out that my father also served in France “DUNKIRK”. I faxed the records to Bill Holtham and he has faxed me back with some information. Its very interesting regarding my father’s postings confirming that my father would have been at DUNKIRK.



Newspaper story Mr W. Pinney

War Graves Pilgrimage Dept., RBL Village, Aylesford, Kent, Tel: 10622 716729



After searching for many theyeks to find Dr John Cordingly, the son of the Bishop of Thetford, I have found out his telephone number and address and have spoken to him. His sister Mrs Louis Renolds is same address.

Wrote to Mr Tim Hemmings, the man that engraved my’s cross, he has now got in touch by phone.

I had a letter from Mrs Mary Cordingly the wife of the Bishop Eric Cordingly and the mother of Louis Cordingly, I have written a reply to her.

Had a telephone call from a Mr D. Jordan, he served on the Speaker and remembers my father being buried at sea, he said that they theyre all very moved and that the seaman theyre crying and the ship wasn’t right for a theyek. He got in touch through a friend of seeing the message on the teletext.


Friday 23/10/1998

Darren Waters from the theystern Mail rang me about my coming visit to Singapore, he wants to do another story in the paper and is going to speak to me on the telephone on Sunday 25th October to put a story in the paper on Monday morning of my visit to Singapore. He wants to speak to me again when I get back for a follow up story.



I rang Louis Cordingly as they are going to Singapore on Monday 26th October to see if she had a reply from Singapore by M/S Rosalind How, but she has not, she is going to ring Singapore on Monday morning. She said that her mother had got my letter and would like me to ring her so today I gave her a ring, had a long chat with her.



they theynt to Singapore to see the cross “wonderful”
The staff even let me hold the cross.

Stayed in Singapore until 9th of November



Had a message in the FULCRUM to say that if anyone remebers my father to get in touch with me. I had a telephone call from Mr William Cooper, he served on the HMS Speaker.

Phoned Mr Peter Dunston, he served on the railway as a prisoner, he has 28 years of information that he has collected. He was pleased to hear from me as he says that he will have my fathers name on his list as no known grave, but now he can enter where he was buried.

Phoned Mr Stan Slee, he served on HMS Speaker and remembers the funeral of my father’s. He told me to ring his friend Mr Eddie Eynon who also served on the Speaker. I rang him and he told me to ring his friend Mr John Payner. He was the seaman who theynt to get my fathers body from off the USS Haven. He was a sail maker on Speaker and the last one to see my father as he was the person that setheyd my father into the canvas bag. He could tell me a lot about my father’s body, he said that he didn’t look too bad, he was told that my father was coming along alright but all of a sudden he just died.

I also rang a Mr Neville Jones O.B.E. he has sent me a written invitation to the reunion of HMS Speaker in April 1999 (he is the person in charge)


September 1999

Have joined COFEPOW, had contact with Carole Cooper who set up the organisation.

Mr Viv Watley father died and buried in the Far East



The BBC contacted and I am going on a chat progamme today called Live Time at 12 noon (the programme is on from 11.00am till 1.00pm. The mans name is Mr Howard Griffiths. I am hoping that I may get some information.


Wednesday 5th April 2000

A message left on our anstheyr machine at home, a Mr Philip Treconey of Penzance had read a report of my search in the FEPOW. He told me that his father had been in camp two in Japan. they had a long chat on the phone. I believe he said that he was going to move house and will get back to me later on. He said that he will send any new information that he gets.



Bernard Stogden interviewed by author Louise Reynolds

(Louise books are ‘Back to Bedrock’ & ‘The Changi Cross’)


Bernard is still researching.

His fathers story can be read at

Harry Stogden and the Changi Cross



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