The sword - to be honest it's shrouded a little in mystery! Whenever I asked my dad about it (when I was in my teens), he would simply say it was a present from one of the guards at the end of the war - which is rather vague to say the least! My mum told me that he was sensitive about it and to leave the matter alone - which I did, and therefore never got his story directly from him. However, after he died I asked my mother about it again and she gave me her recollections of what my dad had told her after the war:

At the last POW camp before the war ended both Japanese and Javanese guards were working together in the daily routine of the camp. Also, some civilian Javanese were conscripted to help out in general... shortly before the capitulation of Japan, a dispute arose in the camp between Javanese and Japanese guards due to an elleged infraction of one of the Javanese locals (not one of the prisoners). One of the Javanese guards challenged a Japanese officer in defence of the Javanese local who was about to be beaten..... resulting in the partial drawing of that sword by the Javanese guard. Things could have become very nasty except for my dad stepping inbetween the Japanese and Javanese guards to try and stave off bloodshed and in protection of the Javanese local with whom he'd been working..... (somewhat risky step to take in the circumstances). As the sword was not drawn fully the integrity of the Javanese guard was still intact and he would not lose face. Miraculously the Japanese backed down but gave my dad extra duties to ammend for the Javanese infraction (weird logic!). A few days later and after the Japanese surrender, the Javanese guard presented my dad with the sword for protecting the Javanese local and for also possibly saving his life, as the Japanese certainly would not have let him live if he had fought with a Japanese officer.

Thats all I know about it and I wish I could tell you from my personal chats with my dad, but for some reason he never told me that recollection....he didn't really tell me about the punishments either - indeed I know he got many beatings and torturous punishments but he never liked to talk about them.... for him it was the "comradeship and hope for a better future" that he talked about most, together with the intrigue stories of "how we tricked the Japs" and "impossible to prove sabotage" stories that he mostly concentrated on.

Understandable I think.



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