Kanyu Camp - Working Men -2b

Sketch by Jack Chalker

Britain at War
Fepow Community
Far Eastern Heroes
Private 5776807
My Youth
Sailing to War
Under Siege
Death Railway
Going Home

siver_weddingI was born just after the war in 1947, pop always seemed thin and ill compared to my friends fathers. He never talked about those POW days but nightmares often accompanied his sleep. He was admitted into hospital in 1950 for an operation to remove a large part of his left lung. Tests carried out confirmed it was caused by a tropical disease, which he could only have caught whilst in the Far East. The illness killed off his football career but his enthusiasm for all types of sport lived on.

He found work at the Eastern Electricity Board, Great Yarmouth as a storeman, where he worked for over thirty years till his early retirement in 1976.

His brother Jack and POW companion, died in 1987.



Phil and Fred with their three children and six grandchildren celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in 1990.


Phil passed away peacefully, her fight for life ended at the James Paget hospital, Gorleston at 9.50am on the 17th September 1997. After a long illness she taught me how to die with dignity and love.

She will always be missed.


Double Scroll Sharp 


Pop did not want to go back to their house after mum died as they had lived there about 46 years, he lived with us for nine months but had to go into the shop during the day with us, he did not like being by himself. He got the flu and I could see the present situation was not ideal and I did not want him to go into a home. I was at my wits end, then one day in the shop he was having a laugh with a customer it turned out that the customer, John Green worked with him at Eastern Electric. John was awarded an MBE for his work on pensions carried out for ex-servicemen. Very soon John had his teeth into the problem and got me some leaflets on Halsey House, this was run by the British Legion at Cromer. Because of pops work and war pensions the government would not help him get into the home and he did not have sufficient funds. John wrote letters and achieved what I thought was impossible, pop got a place in Halsey House where he has settled in and enjoys it. I will remain in John´s debt, a truly great friend now. John´s story is also on the net at John Green MBE


An unexpected reunion occurred with Jack Symon in July 2000, which was featured in the Yarmouth Mercury, EDP and Daily Mail. The Daily Mail article is featured below with the addition of the Great Yarmouth Mercury picture.


 Reunion1 Daily Mail ; Thursday, August 17th 2000

How a chance glance at a computer reunited old soldiers after 57 years

As young men going off to war in 1939, they vowed to try to stay together come what may.

But four years later, after being captured by the Japanese, Jack Symon and Freddie Taylor were parted in a prison camp - where their last sight of each other was at an impromptu football match.

After the war, Mr Symon tried in vain to trace the friend who had suffered alongside him. But 57 years of searching were in vain and he thought Freddie must be dead. Then - while looking for a computer for his wife Clare - the 80 year old retired publican walked into an electrical shop a few doors along from his home in Great Yarmouth and saw a photograph on a computer screen .... of Freddie Taylor.

Stunned, he asked for the manager, who told him his name was Ron Taylor. and added `Freddie´s my father - and he´s alive.´

Then Ron expanded the picture - to show a young Mr Symon standing behind Mr Taylor in the wartime photograph.

`I just couldn´t believe it,´ said Mr Symon. I told him, `Ron I´ve been looking for your father for 57 years.´

`He told me his dad was now living in Cromer in a residential home run by the Royal British Legion.´

`I asked why I had not come across Freddie in all these years and Ron told me his dad had not been to any of the reunions and did not like to talk about his prisoner of war life.´

Mr Symon later paid a surprise visit to Mr Taylor. `He was in his room and I decided to introduce myself in a humorous way, so I said `Stand by your bed´, the way they used to in the Army.´

`He didn´t recognise me, but when I told him who I was, he remembered our pact.´ The two were among five young recruits who shared a railway carriage in October 1939 as they left Great Yarmouth for Colchester to enlist in the Royal Norfolk Regiment.

Mr Symon recalled: `We put our hands on top of each others and I said, `This is a new life for us, guys. We don´t know what´s going to happen, but let´s keep with one another.´


Jack Symon and Fred

picture by Yarmouth Mercury

One of the five later left the army, one was killed in action and three - including Mr Symon and Mr Taylor - were taken prisoner at Singapore in February, 1942 and put to work on the infamous Burma railway.

Mr Symon, a Scot, said: `I last saw Freddie in 1943 in Chungkai PoW camp. We used to get one day a month off and we could play football. He played for England and I played for Scotland.´

The other soldiers who made the 1939 pact are now dead - so Mr Symon is delighted at finding Mr Taylor after so long. He puts their reunion down to fate. In 1945, he survived the atom bomb dropped on Nagasaki because, at the time, he was working down a coalmine.

`I believe I came back from the war by being in the right place at the right time.´ he said, `It looks like I was in the right place at the right time to see this photograph in Ron´s shop.´



Fate or luck ? I´ll let you decide on that one but first. Unknown to me John Green, also helped Jack Symon sort out some problems with his war pension. When Jack mentioned he had written a book on a typewriter John told him to come and see me about a computer and when Jack came into the shop, out of the 18,000 pages I have written for the Internet, why did I leave the computer on that particular one that day ?

It seems Pop and Jack were travelling through life and eventually their paths were destined to cross again.


Jack Symon has written a book on his exploits called Hell in Five and has given me, permission to put it on the net this is now on



Double Scroll Sharp 


In Memory of my dad Private 5776807


The Fisherman´s Son


Noel, Noel, Angels did sing,

Glory to the new born king.

In celebration on that night,

A cry of pain and then delight.


A child was born, a fisherman’s son,

Life’s long story had just begun.

In his time many changes to see,

Love and torment, bore them he.


The leather ball, was his start of fame,

Town Boy Colours was his to claim.

Local cups and medals won,

His country to war called the fisherman’s son.


Farewells to wife and their new born babe,

To the Far East his journey made.

Fighting samurai on Singapore’s soil,

Captured, then started a three year toil.


Building railways was never his intent,

Bamboo Interpreters kept his back well bent.

Working, dying, how could this be,

Away from home across the sea.


Hold on to life, was on his mind,

A family awaits, “I must be blind”

“To the horror these years have brought,”

“My family must be my only thought.”



“I’m waking now, the nightmare ends,”

“Farewell my pals, mates and friends.”

Travelling home the story was told,

Not to be forgotten when he is old.


The years passed by, a family was born,

Cloths were bought but hardly worn.

Those years and memories he did keep,

Nightmares accompanied many a sleep.


Early in two thousand and one,

His call was answered, his battle won.

Glory to an earthly king.

Noel, Noel, the angels sing.



My pop Frederick Noel Taylor, Private 5776807, passed away peacefully on the 16th January 2001 at 2.30pm.

Now united with his life long friend and wife, Phil.

We´ll miss you both but pleased to be a part of your story.

God bless you both.

(Please click on the picture)

I love you because

The End


Your Memory Lives On


Double Scroll Sharp 


Part Of








Britain at War



Honorary Life Membership

Honorary Life Member-1tn






Design by Ron Taylor

Copyright © East Anglia Network 1997