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Martin W.

POW mail from a British Merchant Seaman.

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This letter came from a large Hilfskreuzer THOR grouping i picked some years ago.

Amongst the dozens of items in the folder was this letter from a captured British Merchant Seaman.

It was written in a POW camp in Tokyo,Japan.

As we know the HK THOR on her second cruise operated in eastern waters and was eventually destroyed by fire in Yokohama Harbour.

Unfortunately,i have no name of a THOR crewman to associate this letter with.


Now,i can only presume that the writer of the letter,Alan Morris probably served on one of the British Freighters that was captured or sunk by the THOR on her second cruise.He was captured and handed over to the Japanese authorities when the THOR reached Yokohama ??


I am still puzzled as to how the letter ended up in this THOR grouping.I can only speculate that Morris may have befreinded one of his captors on the THOR and they met postwar ?


Here is a list of the British ships that were sunk or captured by the THOR on her second cruise.

I have to beleive that Alan Morris was a crewmember on one of these ships?


Willeseden,freighter,sunk 1-4-42.

Kirkpool,freighter,sunk 10-4 42.

Nankin,freighter,captured 10-5-42.

Indus,freighter,sunk 29-7-42.

Wellpark,freighter,sunk 30-8 42.


I wish i could research this name of Alan Morris some more,and if anyone has an idea as to where i could,i would certainly appreciate the input.



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Hi Martin,


That is really an interesting letter you show us here on the forum.


I have no idea how that letter did end up in that large Hilfskreuzer Thor grouping.


One can see that the letter is opened by examiner (to the public that did sound better than sensor), so it did arrive at the other side of the world in the UK.


Did the grouping come from a Thor crewmember, the crewmember's family or from a collector ?


With the name of the Merchant Seaman I think that it is possible to find information on him and the ship(s) he served on in the National Archive in Kew.


Another nice and interesting research project you have there in your hand Martin !


Thanks for showing it.


Best regards



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Hi EJ,


unfortunately a cannot link this letter to any individual Thor crewman.


It came in a group from a collector of HK items.The collector has now passed away and this letter along with many other Thor albums,documents,came from his family.

With the exception of one album that i have that was compiled by an officer from the Thor,the rest of the material was just "piled" in folders,for want of a better phrase on my behalf.


It is fascinating stuff and includes photo's,postwar Kameradschaft newsletters,etc.


As i said i just cannot link this British MN seaman to an individual Thor crewman.

When i finally manage to find the time to study the German language,i might eventually be able to translate the "piles" of documents i have on the Thor,Komet and the Stier.


Thanks for your reply here.



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