POW Rescue Video

During September of 1944, submarines USS Growler, USS Pampanito and USS Sealion attacked an Imperial Japanese convoy. Unknown to the Allies, there were over two thousand British and Australian prisoners of war aboard these ships. These were the survivors of the fall of Singapore and forced labor on the Burma-Thailand railroad ("Railway of Death"). Four days after the attack Pampanito returned to the area and found and rescued 73 of the prisoners of war. Sealion, Queenfish and Barb, were alerted and returned to rescue 86 more men. The boats had 16 mm periscope cameras that they used to film some of the rescue. The un-edited clips below are now in the US National Archives. RG 428-NPC-5864 (We are unsure which boat this is from.), RG 428-NPC-5865 (Pampanito), RG 428-NPC-5743 (Pampanito). Note that film clips appear in the order they were pieced together by the Navy and are now in the archives, not in the order in which events occurred. So for example, the film clips of the survivors being delivered safely in Saipan appear before their rescue.
RG 428-NPC-5864 rescue video in color YouTube Video
RG 428-NPC-5865 rescue video from Pampanito YouTube Video
RG 428-NPC-5743 rescue video from Pampanito YouTube Video

The story of Pampanito's Third War Patrol is available on the third war patrol page.
Clay Blair's book tells the story of the P.O.W.s and their rescue:
Blair, C., Blair, J. (1979) Return From the River Kwai. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.
Pampanito war patrol reports.
Sealion war patrol reports.
Growler war patrol reports.


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Version 2.04, 18 Apr 2023