Letter: Emperor and PoWs

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Sir: I was appalled by the discourtesy to the Queen and her guest, Emperor Akihito of Japan. Arthur Titherington, chairman of the Japanese Labour Camps Survivors' Association, who has been given almost unlimited coverage to express his opinions, does not speak for all Far East prisoners of war.

I also worked on the Thai-Burma railway, at Sonkurai, where 1,200 out of 1,600 were dead within three months. I agreed to take part in an escape attempt to let the outside world know how prisoners worked and died. I am now the only survivor of any such attempt from Thailand. Five died on our escape. After being taken for execution, but saved by the intervention of Colonel Cyril Wild, I was sentenced to eight years' penal servitude in Outram Road jail.

I still have nightmares, but these are not caused by the present or immediate past generation of Japanese. We have reached a time, finally, to forgive, even though it is impossible to forget. The future is all- important.