Sketch by Jack Chalker

Memoirs of Reg Bulled

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Memoirs of an Ex Japanese PoW


Reginald C. Bulled


Reginald Charles Bulled

1940 - Aged 19

2586526 Signalman Royal Corps of Signals

Preface - 2005

A group of about twenty men, they have to be men - they live and breath and function as men; after all they are not quite animals, are sitting around a small camp fire talking about the past 3-1/2 years they had survived as slaves of the Japanese army.  Their feet still bear the scars of having been torn by bamboo thorns as they walked and slaved without boots, in bare feet, for a long time. Their flesh is pockmarked with the scars of healed tropical ulcers and still some that have not healed.  The flesh on their bodies and limbs, although now lightly covered was, not long ago, shrivelled and lifeless like old men whose muscles had long since died.  Their thigh bones and pelvis stand out sharply and on the points of each thigh bone is a red patch that stands out like a saddle sore, the results of endless nights with bed bugs sucking the life blood out of them.  One could play a tune on their ribs that stand out clearly, the chest sloping backwards to the hollow of the throat and collar bone. Arms hang down like sticks with huge hands on the ends.  Heads are shrunken onto skulls with teeth, those they still have, standing out abnormally large; with still faintly glowing eyes, showing the determination and refusal to bow to the horrors, torture, starvation, beatings, inhuman working conditions of the past few years.  Hair is matted and lifeless.  This is what the Japanese and Koreans did to men who worked on the railway and lived.  Over half of those men who slaved are now buried in unmarked graves alongside the railway track.

The men sit, still hungry, but looking forward to soon receiving good food and medical supplies. The air is often punctuated with laughter as they tell jokes that have been told and retold during those nightmare years to keep the spirits up.  Then one man speaks: “It will be just my luck to get home, walk out the railway station and be knocked down and killed by a man on a bicycle."  Such was the hopeless philosophy of men who had looked death in the eye and won. After a brief silence another man muses, just wait until we get home and tell them what happened during our incarceration. Another answers, “No, the full story will never be told - they will never be able to realize the depths of depravity men could stoop to against other men. They will think you are stretching it out for sympathy”.

How true were those words to become, as the full story of those years and of the more than 120,000 men who died building that railway, in about nine months, is rarely mentioned not even now after many years.  So here, in response to many urgings of my family, especially my grandsons, is my story.

As God is my witness it is the truth.  I still bear many physical and mental scars to this day, and still have nightmares caused by those years.

      The Story Behind the Story The Story Behind the Story

      The Road From Freedom To Captivity The Road From Freedom To Captivity

      Life in the Camps Life in the Camps

      Freedom at Last Freedom at Last

      Really On Our Way Back Home Really On Our Way Back Home


All the way my Saviour leads me

What have I to ask beside?

Can I doubt His tender mercies

Who through life has been my Guide!


Reg still gives talks to schools on his experiences as a FEPOW


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[Memoirs of Reg Bulled] [The Story Behind the Story] [The Road From Freedom To Captivity] [Life in the Camps] [Freedom at Last] [Really On Our Way Back Home]


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