Memoirs of Reg Bulled
The Story Behind the Story
I am writing this booklet to try and put down clearly and firmly the atrocities and brutal treatment I and many thousands of others suffered at the hands of the Japanese during World War II in the prisoner-of-war camps. As these memories are being recalled 50 years or more later, they may not be in any chronological order. They are memories that will not go away and many of the incidents written here are still as vivid in my mind as they were when they actually occurred. Unfortunately I feel sure that even after all these years I, and all the other ex-P.O.W.s who survived the Japanese holocaust and are still living will remember until time passes into eternity.
Why am I doing this now? Why not 50 years ago! The reason is that on our way home after 3 1/2 years of captivity and slavery we were ordered, not once but three times by government agents, not to discuss our treatment with anyone else. Their excuse at the time, and it seemed reasonable enough, was that it could interfere with War Crimes Trials. But if this was the case, why does our government still keep quiet even though they must know what happened at that time. Don’t they care that thousands of their troops were murdered by the Japanese army! Why is the war with Japan never discussed or even remembered each year on Armistice Day? It would almost seem as if it had never happened.
To try to correct the erroneous impression left in the minds of the viewers by that film “The Bridge Over the River Kwai”, I want to be certain that it is placed on record that we never, for one moment, collaborated with the enemy, even though by delaying the railway we were subjected to more inhuman beatings and starvation. I hope that it was because of our delaying tactics that the completion date of the railway was changed three times, from May to August to October. Also, the officers were never out to work with us, at least not during the very bad times, they believed that, as officers, they should not be made to work alongside the rank and file. They stayed in the “comfort” of their billets. Perhaps they could have made things a little easier for us and fewer men would have been worked to death.
I was fortunate to see a film on the television called, I think, “The Real Story of The Bridge Over The River Kwai.” In that film it showed the inhuman working conditions, the lack of food and the complete absence of medical drugs; the men were seen as they were - walking skeletons. I wish I had noticed it earlier, then I would have taped it because it has never been aired since. What are our governments hiding? They robbed us of any chance to get reparation from the Japanese. One can only wonder what sort of a deal they made with the enemy to bring the war to an end. I was 20 years old and perfectly fit when I entered the prison camp, I came home 3 1/2 years later physically and emotionally scarred. I am still suffering from the effects of those years now.
I would also like to put into print my spiritual experiences. I proved time and time again that God does keep His promises.