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  1. ITV Report

PoW's remarkable love story amid brutality of war

Paul Davies comforts 98-year-old Jim Crossan as he recounts his emotional story Credit: ITV News

By ITV News Correspondent Paul Davies

Meeting Jim Crossan was at the same time enlightening and uplifting.

The 98-year-old still has the clearest memory of the time he was taken prisoner of war by the Japanese.

He was a victim and a witness to the forced labour camps that would later inspire films like 'Bridge on the River Kwai' and 'The Railway Man'.

His first hand account is also a remarkable love story.

Jim Crossan was one of 80,000 British and allied troops who surrendered as Singapore fell

After service in Europe, Jim was sent to Singapore to fight the Japanese. His war lasted just ten days.

On February 15, 1942 the young corporal in the Royal Army Service Corps was one of 80,000 British and allied troops who surrendered as Singapore fell.

At his home near Preston Jim told me about the next three and a half years spent as a prisoner,often brutalised by his Japanese captors as he and other PoWs were forced to build bridges and roads.

He recalled the many friends who did not survive the labour camps and the moment those who survived discovered the war was over and they were free men again.

Jim also showed me the photograph of his then fiancee, Jean, that he carried with him during those years as a prisoner.

His photograph of Jean is stained from the monsoon rain

It is stained from the monsoon rain he also had to endure. He says it gave him strength. For those three and a half years, Jean did not know if Jim was dead or alive.

She waited for him and they were married soon after his return from the Far East.

Jim and Jean married when he returned from the Far East

Jim is telling his story for Jean and for all the families of those who suffered in the Far East.

He doesn't want VJ Day to be overlooked or forgotten and will be travelling down to London this weekend for the special 70th anniversary service.

Watch Paul's report with Jim Crossan: