Daniel C. Snaddon

CHAPTER 19 Safely Home

The last thirty miles of my journey brought back many pleasant memories. Memories of yesteryears that seemed like distant dreams. Our conversation in the railway coach was exciting and interesting as we each tried to catch up with the events of the past five years. One by one the old familiar landmarks came into view, then receded quickly into the evening twilight. Soon the winter darkness enveloped the drab landscape, but in our little compartment it was bright and cheerful. The long-awa...

CHAPTER 1 Triumphant Faith

It was midday at Tonshon South Prisoner of War Camp in the inhospitable jungles of Thailand. Suddenly, the stillness of the hot, humid jungle was shattered by the agonizing scream of someone being clubbed to death. Early that morning the so-called fit men and the sick men had dragged their aching bodies down the narrow jungle track to the infamous “Railway of Death.” Left behind in that cheerless clearing in the hostile jungle known as the hospital compound, were the physical wrecks o...

CHAPTER 2 Early Days in Scotland

Tillicoultry, Scotland, is a beautiful little town. It lies couched in the bosom of the Ochil Hills and nestles quietly in the shadow of Ben Cleuch, the highest mountain in the range. Oddly enough Tillicoultry is situated in the smallest county in Scotland, which boasts of the longest name: Clackmannanshire. The setting is just perfect, the beautiful Ochils to the north enclose a sheltered valley bordered on the south by the lower reaches of the River Forth. This river cuts its tortuous way ...

CHAPTER 3 The Complexities of Youth

My father’s tragic and premature death caused quite a stir in our community. Several well-meaning sportsmen became interested in my talents as a cricketer. During my days at school I had won every prize awarded for outstanding performance. Since I was bereft of my father’s counsel in these matters, these kind-hearted gentlemen sought to fashion a career in professional sports for me, hoping thereby to blunt the edge of my tragic loss. It was customary in those days for most of the vil...

CHAPTER 4 Royal Army Medical Corps

Strong convictions prohibited me from taking up the weapons of war to kill. But for an able-bodied young man to be assigned noncombatant duties was unheard of. There seemed to be only one way around this, register as a conscientious objector. Although this was expedient, in many aspects it was very unpalatable. Nevertheless the inherent principles and ideals woven into the pattern of one’s life could not be ejected at this time of crisis. The day came for me to appear before the Tribuna...

CHAPTER 5 The Horrors of War

December of 1941, found us aboard the “SS Oronsay,” a huge ship of some 35,000 tons. The crew was not very encouraging, telling us that this was the ship’s first voyage since Nazi shells blew her superstructure away. We sailed from Bristol, then to Canada, the British West Indies, South Africa, and India. Our final destination was Singapore, where we disembarked amid a hail of shells and bullets. Singapore Harbor is reckoned to be one of the largest natural harbors in the world. The...

CHAPTER 6 Prisoner of War

The realization of being a prisoner of war with an inhuman enemy is very frightening. During the Malayan campaign the Japanese had shown no mercy and had executed all prisoners in cold blood. Many reports had filtered through the grapevine of the utter disregard for human life displayed by the arrogant foe. Mercifully, we were so busy attending to the wounded and sick and adjusting to our new conditions that the real impact of what could possibly happen was lessened. Faced with a record h...

CHAPTER 7 Conditions in the Prison Camp

Men are strange creatures: so weak, yet when occasion demands, so strong. Large groups would meet when prevailing conditions allowed and sing their hearts out. Usually these songfests began with the old favorites but nearly always ended with several sacred numbers. Singing these hymns did a lot for the men, bringing together the best of the old life and the aspirations of the uncertain future. During these times lone figures would rise slowly, make their way through the crowd, disappear into...

CHAPTER 8 Captain Sheridan

Before passing from this phase of the story I would like to relate the incident involving Captain Sheridan of the 125th Anti-Tank Regiment. As the ship which carried this regiment approached Singapore it was bombarded mercilessly from the air. The ship was an old one, very slow, and became a “sitting duck” for the exuberant Japanese gunners. When the bombing became excessively heavy, the stokers left their posts under the terrific pressure; consequently, the ship’s engines stopped comp...

CHAPTER 9 Journey into the Unknown

The Japanese were masters of subterfuge. “H Force” was to go north to the hills; they were due a rest after their long siege in Singapore. “Take your sports gear and musical instruments along so that you may obtain the fullest enjoyment from the long days of relaxation,” they said. “H Force” was not a happy one. Most of the physically fit had already gone north. Many sick men had been included in this work party, and it was a rather straggly and pitiful column that left the ba...
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