I started collecting books about the Second World War after hearing an ex POW being interviewed on the radio one rainy Sunday morning way back in 1982.
“One Man’s War” was written for his family’s benefit detailing a previous life when a young Stan Arneil was a Prisoner Of War in Changi following the Fall of Singapore. Arneil went on to become a family and Church man, and had a successful professional life. Listening to this gentleman being interviewed, and tuning into the hardships he and his fellow POWS endured struck a nerve. How could someone who suffered so much speak with such positivity ?
My collection of autobiographies and POW biographies has continued to grow. I love reading of those whose resiliance and mental strength saw them through such dreadful days. I wonder how they moved past the darkness to find their peace and build upon their lives. I wonder too at times, if tested, how would the current generation fare. ( Yes, more self indulgence. Bite me!)
My most recent read was a book I purchased from Elliots Bookshop in Bundaberg, Queensland. 50,000 preloved books with more in storage. What an Alladin’s Cave of treasures.
Arthur’s War by Arthur Bancroft with John Harman is the author’s story as a twenty year old seaman on HMAS Perth which was sunk during the Battle of Sunda Strait. Arthur then became a Prisoner of War on the Burma- Thailand Railway. Some time later he was on a Japanese ship which was in turn sunk by the Americans. Just as well poor old Arthur was a strong swimmer! I don’t suppose he took his wife on a cruise following his retirement.
Bancroft was in his late eighties when his story was finally published. He had lived a full life with work and family commitments and a wicked sense of humour. A great read, and a wonderful reminder about gratitude, personal strength, and the strength of a generation, and why we honour the 25th of April.