Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 21°C

min temp: 18°C

ESTD 1874 Search

The pigs have arrived. See the latest

Pigs Gone Wild

news here.

Sudbury: ‘There’s not many of us left,” says POW veteran

08:00 28 December 2012

Archant

FOR Suffolk war veteran Harold Lock, Christmas is a time for contemplation.

The 89-year-old from Sudbury finds it hard to celebrate during the festive period because of the suffering he experienced in the Japanese prison camps during the Second World War.

Mr Lock, who joined the Royal Navy, aged 15, just before the outbreak of war, spent a total of four years as a prisoner on the Indonesian island of Java where beatings, death and starvation were a daily occurrence. And when he returned to the UK at the end of 1945 he found it was the company of men who had undergone a similar ordeal that helped him cope with the hellish memories.

But as each year ticks by there are fewer and fewer Far East prison of war survivors left.

Mr Lock said: “It makes me feel sad to think how our numbers are dwindling.

“There used to be around 40 of us in Sudbury - now I’m the only one left. There’s only two I know of in Bury and two in Haverhill. It’s the same in the Ipswich area.

“We still meet up but we don’t talk about what we suffered out there. We like each others company and to laugh about things. But there is something between us that we know what the other man has been through.”

This decline in numbers caused Carol Cooper from Great Yarmouth to start an organisation called COFEPOW - the Children of Far East Prisoners of War, more than a decade ago. The organisation is dedicated to keeping the memory of these men alive and to piece together the stories of individual British servicemen who were held captive in the region.

Ms Cooper, who’s father died in Burma in 1943, says around 55,000 British troops were dispatched to the Far East and just over 30,000 returned. But because of the suffering endured, much of the information about what went on has been suppressed and lost.

She added: “The British campaign in the Far East was a disaster and those who returned were told not to talk about it.

“We are always appealing for veterans to come forward to give us their account of their experiences while they can. It’s like putting together a giant jigsaw.

“There aren’t many of these men left and when they die their stories will go with them unless we record them.”

Naval researcher David Verghese, who has visited Mr Lock, has similar fears.

He said: “ When I retired about five years ago, I wanted to write a book based on interviews with these veterans but many of these men are in their 90’s and are now just too infirm.

“I suppose I started ten to fifteen years too late.”

0 comments

Jousting at Framlingham Castle. Two magnificent knights on horseback clash in an epic battle of bravery and honour as Framlingham Castle hosts its first ever medieval joust.

Two knights on horseback clashed in a battle of bravery and honour as Framlingham Castle hosted its first medieval joust.

Brian Williams

Tributes have been paid to a Suffolk rugby stalwart who dedicated his time to promoting grassroots rugby in the region and across England.

Brightlingsea Regatta fun and games at Sunday afternoon
22/7/2016 Kallum Jagger

Thousands made a splash at the Brightlingsea Regatta this weekend, taking to the water in a range of motor boats.

BHS is closing down in Ipswich

BHS staff in Ipswich have still not been told when the store will close, the Star understands.

George Blagden in Versailles as  Louis XIV  (C) Canal +

He is television’s latest heart-throb, playing a starring role in the BBC’s steamy drama series Versailles.

Newmarket High Street.

Two fire engines were sent to reports of smoke coming from a premises in Newmarket High Street at around 1.35pm today.

Halesworth Golf Club and its members raised more than £13,000 for the East Anglian Air Ambulance in a series of challenges

Halesworth Golf Club and its members raised more than £13,000 at its annual fundraiser for the East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) recently.

Most read

Great Days Out

cover

Click here to view
the Great Days Out
supplement

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24