Saturday 1st October 2016 Return to Alumni Events
Surviving the Death Railway
-A POW's memoir and letters from homeedited by Hilary Custance GreenPen & Sword Military
Our alumnus, Hilary Custance Green, came to Darwin to present a talk on her new book "Surviving the Death Railway". It is a story put together from the memoirs of her father, letters to from his wife from Malaya, Burma & Siam and letters to and from his unit of men to relatives in England all during the time they were in a Japanese prisoner of war camp.
Hilary started by setting the scene of the meeting between her mother and father adding some jollity to the scene, then the events and time before the Japanese involvement in the Second World War when her father Barry, headed a group of soldiers not put together for fighting but to repair and set up communication lines in Malaya. In between she broke the story to explain how she had managed to trace all the information which was quite fascinating.
This led to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour and the rapid take over of Malaya and the story became very black. The brutality as the company were forced to work on the Burma-Siam Railway, the deaths of some, their hardships and inconceivable slavery was incredibly moving as were brave acts of courage shown for each other. Barry survived but nearly half of the company did not.
The story was told beautifully and illustrated with many pictures and maps but it was heart-rendering in places. many people bought her book afterwards and there was a lot of informal discussion which continued as we had lunch at Darwin College. Everyone attending seemed to enjoy it especially because of the way Hilary arranged it. We would all thank her and recommend all our readers to buy the book.
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