My name is Reg Rainer ex POW Far East
Formally from the 4th Suffolk Regiment territorial battalion.
I joined at age of 15, had to put my age up to 18 so I could be with my mates and we could all keep together.
Sent to Singapore in January 42 after training in India as part of the 18th division. Worked on the Thailand-Burma Railway all the way From Thailand to the end in Burma during which time lost many friends and mates. Looking back it must have been the most gruelling experience known to man, a will to survive.
When the railway was finished I was transported by sea on a hell ship to Japan, where after a time we were liberated.
At last recognition is on the way to promote a Remembrance Day which I'm sure will help many relatives of POWs because so many questions have been asked in the past about our time as POWs, this will also help to clear the minds of my fellow POWs.
NOW is the time to speak out and we must not forget those who are making this possible .Their efforts must be recognized for all the work in trying to promote this day.
Well done Ron for bringing this forward and I hope you will receive the satisfaction you deserve for all the effort you have made over a long period of time and appreciated by many. Our thanks also to Mary for all the work she has put into this project and the many others for their help
Best Wishes To All Reg
My name is Alistair K Urquhart ex Japanese POW.
Conscripted September, 1939 in the Gordon Highlanders, Depot , Aberdeen. Drafted November, 1939 to Singapore, arriving late December, 1939, to join the 2nd. Battalion, Gordon Highlanders.
Served at their barracks in Selerang 1939-1941, and Transferred to the Headquarters at Fort Canning in the Garrison Adjutants Office, on clerical duties. A compulsory transfer was made to the RASC (Royal Army Service Corps) with the rank of Corporal.
Taken prisoner at Fort Canning on 15th. February 1942 along with three boy soldiers, sent from the Regiment to be in my care during the hostilities. Taken with all other personnel to the Gordon Highlanders barracks at Selerang.
After 7 months there, put on working party to Thailand as it is now called.
1942 - 1943 slaved in camps Kanyu 1 and 2.
1943 sent down to Chungkai too sick to work.
1943 - 1944 Returned to Singapore by rail , in the steel trucks again, to work on the docks.
1944 - From Singapore, we were battened down in the holds of the freighter KACHIDOKI MARU, en route to Japan, sunk in the China Sea by the American submarine PAMPANITO.
1944 -September survived this sinking and picked up by a Japanese whaling ship and transferred at a port, thence to Fukuoka 25 camp in Omuta, until released at Nagasaki around the 25th August 1945.
My feeling on the selection of a FEPOW DAY on the 15th. August to remember our fallen comrades, is personally that date, is the most memorial day and the greatest milestone, of my life. Just imagine, what we suffered under the Japanese, not even being allowed to bury our dead, with a proper ceremony, just a burial party, as you had to work, no matter what !!. The chosen day, is to me, a day that I will cherish for the rest of my life, when I can pay homage to all my friends and fellow prisoners, their loved ones, all their relatives, many never knowing what horrors, their grandfathers, fathers and sons underwent, as , I, along with so many did not talk of our experiences, alas too late for so many relatives and friends.
I am guilty of waiting 60 years to unfold my experiences, and having done so, can give some, solace or help to you, and thank Joanne, for her wonderful endeavour, to track me down, which has opened a whole new vista on life now and then, which I find rewarding, knowing I can, in some way help others, with the knowledge of those 3.5 years as a prisoner of war under the ------ Japanese.
May God bless you all and hope I can survive longer, as I have still much to give and best of all, help others.
Kindest regards to all and hope to meet you at the Conference in May 2008, God willing.