This is the gripping story of ex-planter Captain Hugh ('Pilk') Pilkington's disastrous Malaya campaign in which he was shot by a Japanese sniper, survived the Alexandra Hospital Massacre, became a POW while still hospitalised, spent time in Changi, then with only one good arm - was packed off to work on the Thai-Burma Death Railway at the dreaded Hellfire Pass. But he lived to tell the tale, and what a tale...This account is refreshingly different because it gives perhaps the most complete account yet of the cold-blooded Alexandra Hospital Massacre of February 1942. Pilkington also gives the only known account of POWs travelling north by train in Thailand to work camps along the Death Railway (while others were marched up to 300 kilometres at bayonet point). Pilk's memoirs were completed in October 1945 while on a POW repatriation ship from Singapore to England, hence his raw, unfiltered, surprisingly dispassionate voice, undistorted by time. While some parts were extracted for atrocity reports at War Crimes Tribunals, these memoirs were intended only for his immediate family to read.
Enter Stu Lloyd, one of Asia/Pacific's most widely published travel writers, who spent thirteen years in South-East Asia. Captivated by the unbelievable human spirit, he retraces the Captain's steps (on 'Railway Rations' and even spends a night in an historic Malaysian prison) with Pilkington's son, Paul, to uncover Pilkington's colonial past as a rubber planter and soldier, and find out with often surprising results - what the locals today make of that period over 60 years ago they know largely as 'Japan time' ...and Pilkington considered The Missing Years.
Table of Contents
Introduction; Prologue: A World of Fever and Pain; Marching Orders; Coming, Ready or Not; Into the Firing Line; Bleeding Slaughterhouse; Flies and Filth; A Happy Interlude; Signing our Lives Away; A Garden Party of Sorts; Alive and Well; Sayonara Syonanto; Like Pigs to Market; Dying a Slow Death; A Program of Deliberate Murder; One Step Nearer Home; The Grim Circling of Vultures; South to Singapore Again; Waking up in Paradise; Doom and Gloom; Living Like Fighting Cocks; The Turning Point; Saved by the Bomb; Home at Last; Epilogue Sixty Years On; Bibliography; Index.