In 1940 Sapper James (Jim) Curson set sail with his British unit- 251 Field Company, Royal Engineers and joined the fleet to India. His ship, The Empress of Asia was bombed and sank off the coast of Singapore. Rescued, he found he’d been reported missing, and his wife told he’d been killed in action.
'When Singapore fell to the Japanese Jim became a prisoner of war, toiling in the jungle in the slave labour camps to build the infamous Burma Railway. The line was completed in a year, but it cost the lives of more than 22,600 POWs and 100,000 native labourers. Many of them were buried there. 70 years later, Jim is one of the few survivors who came home, and is still alive to tell his account of their life; a story that can now be told by only a few Japanese prisoners on the notorious death railway.He tells of the ability of the human spirit to overcome the most unbearably cruel conditions … the misery, brutality, squalor, the diseases, and the starvation the prisoners suffered under the Japanese.
'Farm boy Jim never gave up hope that he would return to his wife, and she too held the hope he was alive. Returning to Britain he found the Japanese nation was being remade to become a Western ally and nobody wanted to know about the horror he’d been through. Despite having to learn to live in civilisation again, Jim and Dorothy lived a happy life for almost seventy years. This is his story.' (Publication abstract)