Now you may recall in the course of my story I related how I was recaptured in the Philippines and taken to an American
P.O.W.Camp in Cabanaturn. The Japanese forbade us to speak to these Americans for at least three days, they did not want us to relate how we, under the circumstances, got to this camp.
Eventually we were given our freedom to walk into their area and on doing so, I met up with an American Colonel by the name of Bodeen. By the end of our conversations, he was pleased at what was going on on the outside, the sinking of the Jap convoys, the bombings and the advances and gains of the American forces.
In 1982, my son and family and my wife and myself went to America on vacation. We toured Texas and on one of our stops in the city of San Antonio something very unique happened. We visited a military museum in San Antonio and my son came upon a diary of the war in the Philippines and in this diary was a quote of how forty British troops were marched into our camp after being sunk off Manila by American aircraft, 'Father,' was the cry, 'There's somebody mentioning your exploits in the Philippines.' On reading this part of the diary, I noticed it was written by a certain Colonel Bodeen. At once I felt a cold sweat coming on and I immediately asked the curator of the museum if this gentleman was still alive. Fortunately he was and on enquiring where he lived, he gave me his address, but he went one better than that, he said he would try and get him on the telephone. He did this and handed me the phone and the next fifteen minutes were spent recalling our meeting in the Philippines. Fancy that, thirty-eight years after release, you speak to someone who was in the same P.O.W. camp as yourself, but it was the way we found one another up that intrigued me by reading his diary.
I asked if I could meet up with him again, but unfortunately he was catching a plane that evening to go on vacation, and he promised to send me a copy of his diary. This he did and this has become one of my treasured possessions. What a small world! All those miles apart and to meet up in such a way was marvellous, if my son had not glimpsed at this diary, I would never have met or rather talked to this gendeman again no doubt.
Since I have returned home, I have given talks of my experiences in these P.O.W. camps and this diary I always take with me and the audience are quite flabbergasted at how I met up with this gentleman in such a unique way.
Another reunion happened by accident only 200 yards from my home, the full story is on Reunion.
In conclusion I would like to say that recendy I visited with my wife the cemeteries which I was concerned with: Chungkai in Thailand, Kachanbuki in Thailand and Kranji in Singapore. I found these cemeteries extremely well kept and the wives and sons of the men who lie there can be assured that they are at rest and their graves well looked after, thanks to the War Graves Commission.