Friday, 12 November 2010
Remembrance Day Singapore 2010
It was a wet 11th of Nov 2010 but a special service at the Singapore Cenotaph with approximately 50 people in attendance and a special tribute by Jeya the Director of the Changi Chapel Museum. The service was made special by the attendance of 93 year old D. M Lea veteran of the fall of Singapore (3rd Corps Royal Signals) who had made his first trip back to Singapore since 1945 when he was released after being a POW in both Singapore and on the Thai Burma Railway. I had a fascinating chat with him after the service where he spoke about being on the Thai border during the invasion (Project Matador) but the folly of not being ordered to proceed with the plan until it was too late. He also spoke about the mix up in communications that left them stranded in Malaya at one point and how at Ipoh he caught Malaria and was transferred to the Alexandra Hospital in Singapore. Just prior to the fall he was working in the Fort Canning vicinity keeping communications lines open. He described one moment when he and a colleague started at a telegraph pole and walked in opposite directions with cable only to return to find the pole gone and a large bomb crater in its place as a result of the Japanese artillery shelling. Upon the surrender he was placed in the River Valley POW camp before being railed up to the Thai/Burma Railway. He said he got through it because he always knew that they would win in the end. Of gentle disposition but looking so well for his age he was an inspiring and amazing man and I feel honoured I had the chance to meet him.