Sketch by Jack Chalker

Reg Rainer Returns


Reg Rainer Returns

Private 5826866

4th Suffolks

18th Division


Poems by Win Rainer


I will wear my poppy with pride

For all those gallant lads who died,

They belong in my young years

The fear and heartache worry and tears,

They didn’t have any teenage time

Abruptly thrown into the front line,

The anguish of those will never be told

When young boys became men never to grow old.


“The young soldier is me, Private Reg Rainer, 5826866, taken after the war, do not look so young now as I’m now over 80 years old.

I was in the 4th Suffolks, same brigade as the Norfolks, during the war we spent some time training with them at Norwich and later shared time with them as a Jap pow and on the death railway. Being with the first party to travel in those hot cattle trucks into Thailand, we were based at Non Pladuk, making ready the huts and clearing the jungle for the parties that were to follow.

Have re-visited with the Norfolks, being the first party to go back after the war. We made a film of this which I’ve shown to many organisations in this area now on a video.

I’ve now been back three times so my wife (Win) tells me.”


      Those War Years Those War Years

          Leaving Home Leaving Home

          A Soldier Battles On A Soldier Battles On - Singapore

          When Hope is Gone When Hope is Gone - Changi

              History of Changi History of Changi

          Act of Courage Act of Courage - Death Railway

              Bridge Over the River Kwae Bridge Over the River Kwae

              History of Death Railway History of Death Railway

              Map of Camps Map of Camps on Death Railway

              Cemeteries Cemeteries

          Deep Despair Deep Despair - Kanasai Camp - Japan

          Free at Last Free at Last - Journey Home

          Courage to Endure Courage to Endure - Post War

      Re-Visited Re-Visited - 1st Party to Go Back After the War

      Win's Poems Win’s Poems

      In Search of Medal In Search of Medal


After the war, Reg married his sweetheart Win, who has written many poems. Some about Reg, others about their life together, but those years in WW2 have never gone away.

“Recently I went to a mobile scooter place, the man who spoke to me was the 81 year old father of the owner. When I told him I was a Jap pow he broke down and tears filled his eyes. He was with the Navy and was one of the first to pick up pows after our release in Singapore. He couldn’t get it out of his mind how the men were so frail, he could carry a man under each arm.

I've been told Changi prison is to be demolished, a place that has the sad memories of the war. It’s interesting to note that many messages of sympathy and remorse posted on the notice board outside, actually came from Japanese People visiting the site. No doubt they feel ashamed of the atrocities that were carried out during the war.

Whenever Ex POWs of the Japanese are mentioned most people connect it with the Death Railway and the film Bridge On The River Kwae because this film had such an impact with the general public. It is true to say that nearly although many POW's were connected with this terrible episode, one must not forget the many others who suffered appalling treatment, like working in the Kinkasaki mines, the Sandakin Death Marches, the Death Ships to name but a few of the Japanese atrocities. Considering the health of these young boys, the desperation of health and mental torture was sometimes too much to bear. One thing it proved, that life had to go on, and from its great distress, the ones who were stronger, in health and mind, were able to sustain, those in pain, so much to learn from day to day. We also must not forget the doctors and those in higher places who played their part, with much brutality directed at them, but carried on, to comfort and pass on their knowledge without them, many of us would never have survived .

When we returned and began to settle to a more civilised life it was decided to get together and meet once a month this became known as the Fepow club it was well attended and after a short time we received about 62 which was from the sale of the railway and a kind of compensation payment for our work. However as the years rolled by it began to slim down many passed away others found it difficult to attend this was known at the beginning we could not go on forever and so it was by sheer luck that I clicked on to fepow-community and was so pleased to see that not all had been lost. The relatives of lost love ones stepped in to keep it alive and I'm sure everyone must appreciate the hard work they have done. In particular our thanks and appreciation must go to Ron Taylor for all his efforts and patience in making this possible. Thank you Ron

One of the questions I’ve been asked is how we see the world today. In the eyes of a FEPOW, it seems at times, a strange world we live in. Life now moves very fast and because we had that gap away from civilisation, it has made it that much harder to adjust. The amount of waste these days, remind us of those awful years when we could have benefited from it, what a difference it would have made.  As pow’s, we were starved to death, when freedom came we were told to eat what we wanted  and we ate like kings. This turned out to be a five minute wonder because after filling your stomach, what more could you then ask for, life went flat, the only consolation was the thought that we would not go hungry anymore. We soon adjusted and found it was better to have a meal at the correct time each day and try to lead a normal life. There will only be one thing that is very dear to all us FEPOWS, which money cannot buy, freedom.

No doubt it must reflect in every ex POWs mind, apart from getting older, we find it hard to understand the modern generation. We were ingrained with a life of discipline and understanding. Even before the life of a POW and the treatment we endured, discipline was firmly embedded in our minds, it  makes it even harder to try and adjust to the new way of life. It's a common saying " if that had happened in my young days we wouldn't have got away with it" Perhaps it was a good thing that we were trained in this way because it helped us as POWs.

The thinking was much the same after the First World War, men suffered in the trenches, from deadly gas attacks, only to live a lingering death for the rest of their years, their battle  was the same as ours. We don't want pity or thanks, but only hope that what we gave is appreciated. The sacrifice that was made in order for others to live in a free world.

God bless them all.”


Win and Reg pictured June 2003


Still night in Solitude walk I

The stars in all their glory shine on high

Nature sleeps while moonbeams softly play

This is perfection at close of day

Beneath the trees I stand and raise my eyes,

But can only stare

For the stars come down and cling,

To the branches that are bare.



Reg Rainer-tn

Reg passed away peacefully on Monday 21st December 2009

It was a privilege to have known him

God Bless





Fepow Prayer by unknown


Win Rainer’s Poems

© Copyright Win Rainer


Bridge Over the River Kwae - Booklet

Printed by Sirichai Press


Railway of Death - John Coast

Printed by Hyperion Press


The Bridge Over the River Kwae - Pierre Boulle

Bantam Books


Hellfire Pass - sketch by Jack Chalker


Reg and Win - talked freely about those war years and I would like to thank them both for sharing their thoughts, poems and memorabilia.



And we that are left grow old with the years

Remembering the heartache, the pain and the tears

Hoping and praying that never again

Man will sink to such sorrow and shame

The price that was paid we will always remember

Every day, every month, not just in November.

We Shall Remember Them




Story compiled from Reg Rainer’s emails to Ron Taylor

©  Reg Rainer - Win Rainer - Ron Taylor 2003



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