Samuel Morrison

Leading Aircraftman
Service number 1231102
Died 13 Feb 1942
Commemorated on Singapore Memorial, Kranji War Cemetery, Singapore
Age 19

Samuel was born on 8 July 1922 in Pancras, London to Lithuania born father John, a fish fryer, and Annie nee White (Weissman) who was born in Grodno. John and Annie married in 1909 and had six children. In 1921, the family lived at 98 Chalton Street in Camden, London where John was listed as a fishmonger. By 1939, John had died, Annie was living in Scotland and Samuel was living with some of his siblings at 10 Hermitage Road in Stoke Newington and was working as a junior filing clerk.

Samuel enlisted into the RAF and he was one of 14 fatalities on board the SS Empire Star, bombed by the Japanese on 13 February 1942 during the evacuation of Singapore, a boat he was not supposed to be on. Samuel and his party were detailed to proceed to the docks at Singapore to board a vessel leaving at 10 pm on the 11 February 1942. On account of shelling and skirmishing the vehicle was driven without lights and was thereby involved in a head-on collision miles away from the docks. Samuel sustained slight facial injuries and was taken to a small first aid post. After some delay the party eventually reached Singapore Harbour to discover that the vessel had already sailed. The Empire Star was the last boat leaving and the group boarded it. The Empire Star remained in port until the morning of the 13 February in order that further people might be picked up. Once at sea, Japanese aircraft sighted and bombed the vessel from approximately 9 am until noon and scored three direct hits. One or more bodies were reported to have been seen blown overboard by the blasts. Any attempt at rescue was impossible. Samuel was not among the killed or wounded on board when the attacks ceased. No trace of him or his kit was found by his friends, who searched the ship on various occasions before disembarkation at Batavia on the 14 February 1942 and subsequently at the several temporary camps. It was 30 November 1945 before Annie finally got confirmation from the Air Ministry that her son had definitely been killed aboard the SS Empire Star in 1942. He was 19 years of age. We are grateful to Samuel’s family for providing the above information.

Jewish Chronicle
1939 Register