Corporal James Clayton (970707) served in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve during World War Two. Born on 19th March 1917, he was the son of James Clayton and Martha Clayton of 3 Prospect Terrace, Gilford, Co. Down.
In January 1942, his name was on a list of recipients of a Red Cross Package from the local headquarters in Gilford, Co. Down. He was an Acting Pilot Officer and Radio Operator at the time.
James died on 2nd March 1945 aged 28 years old. He was a prisoner of war at the Sandakan Camp, Borneo, Malaysia for almost 4 years. In September 1945, the Clayton family received a postcard stamped from the POW Camp in Borneo from James stating he was “in excellent health”. He also said spirits were high and he had received mail from them.
By September 1945, the reality was that the Sandakan Camp had closed. Many of the men had been sent out on what became known as “Death Marches”. Treatment of prisoners at the camp by Japanese guards was brutal. The family learned of the death of Jim in December 1945.
Corporal Clayton has no known grave. His name is on the Kranji War Memorial, Singapore having first been on Column 452 of the Changi War Memorial, Singapore. His name is also on the Gilford War Memorial, Co. Down.