Alistair Urquhart was nineteen in 1939, living with his ‘parents, auntie, sister and two brothers in a newly built granite bungalow on the western fringes of Aberdeen’, and working as an apprentice in a firm of plumbers, merchants and electrical wholesalers. Within weeks of the outbreak of war he was called up, and joined his home regiment, the Gordon Highlanders. After a few months he found himself stationed in Singapore, where he was taken prisoner when the city surrendered to the Japanese. This is the story of his survival.
Like almost all prisoners of the Japanese, he lived through a scarcely believable ordeal, one which has coloured the rest of his long life. If General (later Field Marshal) Slim’s Fourteenth Army, which fought the Burma campaign from 1943, regarded itself as the ‘forgotten army’, our POWs in