5827402 1st Battalion Suffolk Regiment
Transferred to 5th Battalion Suffolk Regiment
Reginald was born in Sudbury the son of John Thomas and Mary Ann Cansdale. The family lived at 26 Constable Road. His father was killed at Passchendaele during the Third Battle of Ypres in August 1917 and is remembered on the Sudbury War Memorial. His widowed mother later married Frederick C. Gibbons. Reginald had an older brother John Gordon who served during the war as an officer in the Royal Air Force.
At the outbreak of war the 1st Battalion Suffolk Regiment was sent to join the British Expeditionary Force in France. On the 1st October 1939 they embarked on the S.S. Bruges at Southampton and landed at Cherbourg, France. They travelled by train to St. Ouen, 100 miles SW of Paris. Reginald was part of the retreat to Dunkirk and was one of 340,000 troops rescued from the Dunkirk beaches in June 1940, onboard the ‘Ben Macree’.
Reginald transferred to the 5th Battalion and in October 1941 the battalion sailed from Liverpool via Halifax, Nova Scotia, down along the South American coastline then across to Cape Town, arriving in Singapore on 29th January 1942. As they landed the Allied forces were being withdrawn from the mainland to defend the island. The Japanese attacked the island on 9th February 1942.
Reginald died somewhere on the edge of Singapore City on 15th February 1942, the day Singapore fell. His mother did not receive official notification of his death until October 1945. (It is believed that his age was 25 it is shown incorrectly on the CWGC.)
He has no known grave and is remembered on the Singapore Memorial in Kanji War Cemetery, Singapore together with 24,000 other servicemen who died in Eastern Asia and have no known graves.
A Mountain Ash tree was planted in his memory at The National Memorial Arboretum, Alrewas, Staffordshire on 15th February 2002.
A Cross of Remembrance was laid at Kanchanaburi Cemetery by Mr. Peter Smith in April 2007 for all the Sudbury men who died in the Far East.
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