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Sunderland Death Railway PoW honoured by family of man he saved

(l-r) Andrew Young, Dr Tony Pollard and Allan Pratt .

(l-r) Andrew Young, Dr Tony Pollard and Allan Pratt .

A HERO prisoner of war has been honoured by the family of a comrade whose life he saved.

Wearside pensioner Allan Pratt, 94, who survived a prisoner of war camp in Thailand, sold his gold signet ring, which was a present for has 21st birthday, to buy food to keep fellow inmate, Stuart Young, alive.

Now, the memoirs of Mr Young, who died in 1995, have been published in a book, Life on the Death Railway: Memoirs of a British POW, and dedicated to Mr Pratt.

Published by Pen & Sword Military, the book tells the true-life story of the servicemen who were used as slave labour by the Japanese.

The compelling account of Mr Young was picked up last year by Dr Tony Pollard, director of the Centre for Battlefield Archaeology and best known for his role on Channel 4’s Time Team.

It came after Mr Young’s widow, Ethel, allowed Dr Pollard’s nephew to read the memoir as part of his Second World War school project.

Mr Pratt, who is married to Margaret, 91, and has two children and five grandchildren, was among thousands of POWs forced by the Japanese to construct the Thailand-Burma line during the Second World War.

The veteran, who went on to work for Sunderland Marine Mutual Insurance Company Ltd, said: “Many soldiers kept a diary during their time in captivity to maintain some aspect of self-discipline and structure, but never did it cross our minds that they would be published for the world to read.

“Although it brings back a lot of memories, I’m pleased to see Stuart has been able to remind people of the difficulties we endured during our time as prisoners of war.”

Mr Young’s son, Andrew, from Wythall, near Birmingham, helped with the publishing process after his mother’s death in February.

He said: “After my father passed away, it became my mother’s dearest wish to get his story published.

“My family are immensely pleased that fate managed to put the book into the view of Dr Pollard and with his help, we knew her wish would finally come to fruition.

“I’m thrilled the book has been dedicated to Allan, without whose kind comradeship in looking out for each other during a time of grave danger, none of this would have been possible.”

The book can be bought for £19.99 at www.pen-and-sword.co.uk.

 
 
 

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