Last British soldier from the Bridge on the River Kwai has died at aged 94

May 22nd, 2015  

Topic: Last British soldier from the Bridge on the River Kwai has died at aged 94

Last British soldier from the Bridge on the River Kwai has died at aged 94

Hellish: Allied POWS suffered terrible treatment building the bridge on the River Kwai.

Last updated: 18 May 2015 | 10:54
One of the last known British soldiers who helped build the infamous Bridge on the River Kwai in Burma has died of cancer aged 94.
Harry Motteram endured appalling conditions for three years as a PoW in a Second World War Japanese camp, where he was forced to work on the 258-mile “Death Railway”.

His daughter, Diane Seville, said: “He never really wanted to speak about what happened. I just think at times he wanted to blot it out.”

She added: “They lived on a cup of rice a day. There was no nutrition. They worked 18 hour days.

“He did not want to really talk about it.”

After the war, plumber Harry married wife Eileen, 84, and had six children. he carried on working till he was 86 and became a great grandad.

And six years ago he returned to Thailand to see part the railway he helped to build.

His family believe he is the last member of the 137th Field Regiment – also known as the Blackpool Regiment - and ex-servicemen are urging people to attend his funeral today in Blackpool, Lancs.
Sgt Rick Clement, who was severely injured in May 2010 after stepping on an explosive in Afghanistan, aid: “It is vitally important to remember these guys.

“If anyone can make it I would ask them to do so.

“The conditions they suffered were absolutely horrendous. The rules of war did not exist in terms of treatment of captured prisoners. Some were horrific. We should honour them.”

Mike Warren, chairman of the Fylde Ex-Service Liaison Committee, added: “I doubt we will see their like again. I would urge anyone to be there and register their gratitude.”

The Burma Railway was built between Ban Pong, Thailand, and Thanbyuzayat, Burma, by Japan in 1943, to support its forces in the Burma campaign.

Forced labour was used in its construction. More than 180,000 Asian civilian labourers and 60,000 Allied prisoners of war worked on the railway.

About 90,000 civilians and 12,621 Allied POWs died during the construction, includeing 6,904 British, 2,802 Australians, 2,782 Dutch, and 133 Americans.

Their heroics inspired the 1957 film Bridge on the River Kwai, with Alec Guinness and Jack Hawkins.

(Mirror UK)
May 22nd, 2015  
May he rest in peace at last.

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