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Grahame Prebble White

Portrait, Weekly News - This image may be subject to copyright

Portrait, Weekly News - This image may be subject to copyright


  • Title
  • Forenames
    Grahame Prebble AWMM
  • Surname
    White AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
  • Service number
    • NZ411484 AWMM
    • WWII 411484 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi / Hapū / Waka / Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    3 June 1919 AWMM PictonMarlborough AWMM
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    WW2 Parents: Mr & Mrs H. W. White. 97 Marjoribank St, Wellington AWMM
  • Relationship status


Wars and conflicts

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Military decorations

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Training and Enlistment

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  • Military training
  • Branch Trade Proficiency
    Pilot/Military RNZAF Biographies (R17845617)
  • Enlistment
    WW2 Unknown AWMM Commercial artist/Civilian AWMM
  • Occupation before enlistment
  • Age on enlistment


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Prisoner of war

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  • Capture details
    • WW2 POW - Ambon, Ambon Island, Indonesia AWMM
      Java, Indonesia AWMM
      8 March 1942 AWMM
      Surrender to Japanese military forces AWMM
    • WW2
    • WW2 POW - Java, Indonesia POW Deaths (R25405152)
  • Days interned
  • Liberation date
  • Liberation Repatriation
  • POW liberation details
  • POW serial number
    3656 K AWMM

Medical history

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  • Medical notes
    Killed or died while a Prisoner of War, Cause of Death AWMM
    Killed or drowned as a Prisoner of War aboard the Japanese vessel 'Suez Maru' AWMM

Biographical information

Biographical information

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    • Grahame White was the son of Harold Webb White and Gertrude Isobel White (parents), Wellington, New Zealand

      The Suez Maru was torpedoed and sunk in the Java sea by a United States submarine USS Bonefish in the Java Sea.

      Listed by CWGC as 24 years and by E. Martyn as 22

      Attended Wellington College (Source: RNZAF Biographies (R17845617)) AWMM
    • Operation: Transportation of PoW’s

      Date: 29th November 1943 (Monday)

      Unit: No. 605 Squadron

      Type: None

      Serial: Not applicable

      Code: None

      Base: RAF Tasikmalaja, Java

      Location: Java Sea

      Pilot: Fl/Lt. Grahame Prebble White NZ/411484 RNZAF Age 24. Missing believed killed


      The Allied forces surrendered Java to the Japanese forces on Sunday 08th March 1942. Survivors from the Squadron and other units were then taken PoW. Later transported to the Island of Ambon to help build an airfield.

      On the 29th November they were redrafted to return to Java when the Steamship they were on, the ‘SS Suez Maru’ was torpedoed at 08:00 hrs by the US Submarine ‘Bonefish’ North East of the Kangean Islands in the Java Sea.

      Fl/Lt. Grahame Prebble White was on this ship and his body as that of all the 605 Squadron members lost that day were never recovered.

      At 09:40 hrs the ‘SS Suez Maru’ disappeared from the surface - taking down many of the dead and seriously wounded who were unable to reach the decks. Some 200 plus survived and were on the surface clinging to pieces of the wreckage. The captain of the Minesweeper that was acting as escort to the steamship orders the machine guns to kill all those in the sea. By 16:30 hrs the killing stopped and the minesweeper left the area. (After the war at Japanese War Crimes no action was taken against the Japanese Commander for this atrocity)

      A memorial to the 414 British PoW's aboard the Suez Maru, who were murdered by the Japanese was dedicated on the 29th November 2013 at the National Memorial Arboretum, Alrewas, Staffordshire. A Detailed account of the ship, the sinking and subsequent atrocity, along with the trial documents and descriptions can be found in the book; The Suez Maru Atrocity - Justice Denied! ISBN-13: 978-0954272500

      Burial details:

      Fl/Lt. Grahame Prebble White. Singapore Memorial. Column 431. Born on the 03rd June 1919, the son of Harold Webb White and Gertrude Isobel White, of Wellington City, New Zealand.

      Others from the Squadron lost from ‘SS Suez Maru’:
      AC.2. Victor Lewis Clarke Brown 1407313 RAFVR Age 24. Singapore Memorial. Column 429. Son of Lewis William and Mary Jane Clarke Brown, of Buckland Brewer, Devon, England.
      AC.1. Ernest Edward Checketts 1211362 RAFVR Age 21. Singapore Memorial. Column 428. Son of Mr. and Mrs. E. W. Checketts, of Worcester, England.
      AC.1. Colin Stuart Earl 1143310 RAFVR Age 42. Singapore Memorial. Column 428. Husband of Kate Earl, of Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England.
      AC.1. Alfred Frank Harris 1213243 RAFVR Singapore Memorial. Column 428. No further details.
      Fl/Sgt. Stanley Kemp 531925 RAF Age 25. Singapore Memorial. Column 425. Husband of M.H. Kemp, of Bispham, Blackpool, Lancashire, England.
      AC.1. Cecil Frank Love 1046901 RAFVR Age 38. Singapore Memorial. Column 428. Husband of Annie Love, of Ashingdon, Essex, England.
      Cpl. John Eden Palmer 903290 RAFVR. Singapore Memorial. Column 426. No further details.
      LAC. Alfred Leslie Frank Pont 1012421 RAFVR Age 30. Singapore Memorial. Column 427. Husband of Minnie Pont, of Northfield, Birmingham, England.
      AC.1. Derrick William Shouler 906113 RAFVR Age 23. Singapore Memorial. Column 428. Son of Frederick Percy Shouler, and of Doris Freda Shouler, of Torquay, Devon, England.
      LAC. Cyril Geoffrey Tooth 805530 RAFVR Age 28. Singapore Memorial. Column 427. Husband of Winifred M. Tooth, of King's Norton, Birmingham, England.

      Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to the research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Cenotaph, Weekly News of New Zealand, The Burma Star Association. Public - Kelvin - Researcher - 7 November 2017 -
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About death

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  • Memorial name
    Singapore Memorial, Kranji War Cemetery, Singapore AWMM

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  • External links
  • References
    • Martyn, E. (1998-2008). For Your Tomorrow (Vols. 1-3). Christchurch, N.Z.: Volplane Press. AWMM
    • Martyn, E. (1998-2008). For Your Tomorrow (Vols. 1-3). Christchurch, N.Z.: Volplane Press. AWMM
      Martyn, E. (1998-2008). Vol. 1, p.187, Vol. 2, p.167 and Vol. 3, p.503 AWMM
    • Deaths While Prisoner of War - Navy, Army, Air Force and Civilians [WW2 NZ POW Deaths], Archives New Zealand, Wellington, AAAA 7393 Box 1 (R25405152). AWMM
      Wikipedia (Suez Maru) AWMM
    • RNZAF [Royal New Zealand Air Force] Biographies of Deceased Personnel 1939 - 1945 (Bound Volumes) - Ue - Z. Archives New Zealand (R17845617) - Former archives reference: AIR118 AWMM
    • Please note that the 12 volumes of the "RNZAF [Royal New Zealand Air Force] Biographies of Deceased Personnel 1939-1945" held at Archives NZ (formerly known as AIR118) should be used in conjunction with Errol Martyn's "For Your Tomorrow". FYT reflects detailed examination of all of the AIR118 bios which contain many inaccuracies and omissions. AWMM
    • List of RNZAF [Royal New Zealand Air Force] Personnel - List of Personnel Killed or Missing in Various Theatres, 1940 - 1945. [List of Killed - Officers (Canada, Pacific, Europe) - Airmen (Canada, India and Far East)]. Archives New Zealand (R17845748) AWMM
    • Information on Japanese-run internment (prisoner of war) camps was kindly provided by Chris Brooks. More than 350 Japanese-run military prisoner-of-war and civilian internment and concentration camps were run throughout the "Far East" during World War II. AWMM
    • List of RNZAF [Royal New Zealand Air Force] Personnel - Embarkation Lists, November 1940 - July 1942. Archives New Zealand, Wellington (R17845762). AWMM


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DateFirst namesLocationRelationshipContact
07 November 2017KelvinNorfolk, EnglandResearcher

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