Roll of Honour

Oliver Bellingham-Smith

Oliver and Irene Bellingham-Smith
Oliver and Irene

Captain Oliver Bellingham-Smith served with the Federated Malay States Volunteer Force. He died age 41 on 11th June 1943 as a prisoner of war on the infamous Burma Railway.

He was mentioned in dispatches entitling an oak leaf to be worn with his victory medal.

He was the son of Guy and Ellen Bellingham-Smith, and the husband of Irene Bellingham-Smith.

He is buried at the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery, Thailand. The cemetery is only a short distance from the former 'Kanburi' prisoner base camp, through which most of the prisoners passed on their way to other camps. The army graves service transferred to it all the graves from the southern section of the railway from Bangkok to Nieke.


Cap Badge of FMSVF
Cap Badge

George Bellingham-Smith has provided the following biography for his father:

OLIVER BELLINGHAM-SMITH  07/02/1902 TO 11/06/1943

Educated at Felsted School, Monts house, and Christ's College Cambridge.

He joined the Talbot motor company in Paris, and in 1925 helped develop Eldridge`s Special Amilcar, which finished fourth in the Grande Prix de l`Ouverture at Montlhery. His cousin Anthony Bellingham-Smith was one of Tommy Hanns Racing Drivers and won several races at Brooklands, in the Lanchester "Softley Catch Monkey".

In 1926 a newspaper reported that Oliver, with Tom Hanns of Brooklands, a racing car collector of some repute, at a late hour near Tagg's Island, Hampton Court, rescued two of the other three passengers when their De Lage coupe ran off the ferry and into the Thames. Mr Smail of Esher, and a lady known only as Binnie were saved but Mrs Smail was not seen again.

During the general strike that he drove a London Bus, and owing to the unemployment problem, he gained employment in Malaya with The Borneo Company.

During his first home leave in 1930, he met and married Irene Thompson from Great Waltham / Stebbing Green, and returned to Malaya as branch manager of Borneo Motors Kualalumpur. In 1933 & 1934 Jennifer and George were borne at the Bungsar hospital Kualalumpur.

In 1935 during home leave, the family returned to Felsted, with a Chinese Amah. (Gordon Chapple reminded me of this some years ago, and remembered her smart pigtail).

On returning to Kualalumpur Oliver joined the Federated Malaya States Volunteer Force  "to play soldiers" he was a Captain in the armoured car company. The Japanese were not really considered a threat overland, and Singapore was well defended against a naval attack.

The events leading to the surrender of Singapore in February 1942 are well known, and he said farewell to his family who were to sail to Australia, but the ship had been sunk in Singapore harbour, so they sailed to Colombo in the American troopship "The West Point".

He was a Prisoner of War in Changi where he was well treated for the first six months of the war, but then he was sent to Kinsayok, on the Thai railway with a Japanese working battalion on the river Kwai, where he died of dysentery / malnutrition in June 1943 at a railway construction camp Kanu

After the war in August 1946 Captain O Bellingham-Smith was mentioned in a Despatch for distinguished service both in the London Gazette and in Malaya. He has a grave in the Kanchanaburi war cemetery, Thailand, and is commemorated on the family grave in Holy Cross Churchyard, as well as on the village War Memorials.


Grave Marker, Kanchanaburi war cemetery