By Alistair Urquhart
A outstanding tale of survival in the course of international conflict II—a Scottish soldier that survived paintings camps, 5 days adrift at sea, and the atomic bomb!
Alistair Urquhart used to be a soldier within the Gordon Highlanders, captured by way of the japanese in Singapore. pressured into handbook hard work as a POW, he survived 750 days within the jungle operating as a slave at the infamous “Death Railway” and development the Bridge at the River Kwai. therefore, he moved to paintings on a jap “hellship,” his send was once torpedoed, and approximately everybody on board the send died. now not Urquhart. After 5 days adrift on a raft within the South China Sea, he used to be rescued by way of a jap whaling ship.
His success might purely worsen as he used to be taken to Japan and compelled to paintings in a mine close to Nagasaki. months later, he was once simply ten miles from flooring 0 while an atomic bomb used to be dropped on Nagasaki. In past due August 1945, he was once freed by means of the yankee Navy—a residing skeleton—and had his first wash in 3 and a part years.
This is the extreme tale of a tender guy, conscripted at nineteen, who survived not only one, yet 3 encounters with demise, any of which must have most likely killed him. Silent for over fifty years, this can be Urquhart’s inspirational story in his personal phrases. it really is as relocating as any memoir and as interesting as any nice warfare motion picture. 24 colour illustrations
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Extra info for The Forgotten Highlander: An Incredible WWII Story of Survival in the Pacific
I considered suicide and began to fantasise that the train would jump its tracks and that I would be killed swiftly without any more suffering. I was so delirious and out of my head that I willed the RAF to drop bombs on us and end our misery that way. Again and again we stopped at sidings and would pray for the doors to open only to have our hopes crushed as the train picked up steam and rumbled on once more. On the fourth day of this living hell we stopped again in the middle of the jungle. It could have been the same place as our first stop for all we knew.
We got our ration of rice and eagerly took it to him. He was quite a character, short and stout, not much taller than Freddie. A typical chef, he had a fiery temper but good humour in equal measure. He idolised Freddie, who never failed to cheer him up. This culinary conjuror would transform our weevilridden rice into mouth-watering kedgeree, delicious risotto and savoury rice balls – it did not mean more food but more variation and taste. One of my favourites was a risotto of plain rice that the chef would add all sorts of spices to – God knows what – and it tasted superb.
When the padre finished his sermon on our mount in Changi prison, thousands of miles from home, hundreds of voices joined in a moving rendition of ‘The Old Rugged Cross’. The first verse seemed so appropriate to all of us caught up in the fall of Singapore: On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross, The emblem of suffering and shame; And I love that old cross where the dearest and best For a world of lost sinners was slain. The Brinds were both devout Roman Catholics. Freddie never talked about his beliefs but the brothers were always missing on Sunday mornings and were friendly with the Roman Catholic padre.