Two of my uncles were born in and around Arnold Nottingham, England and were about the same age.
Both men volunteered to join the Army in 1937. When the Second World War was declared, one went to North Africa and the other went to Malaysia.
Alec Saywell was posted to the deserts of North Africa and went to places like Tobruk in Libya then on to Sicily and Italy. He could speak and write fluent German and was reportedly last seen in Venice only to surface again at the end of the war with numerous commendations.
Fred Ford ended up in Singapore, Malaysia and it was there that he became a prisoner of war captured by the Japanese in February 1942. He was eventually taken to the Burma Railway also known as the Death Railway, which included the Bridge over the River Kwai (Bridge 277).
Tragically, he was there until he died on July 2, 1945 – just a few months before the end of the war.
Fred joined the war as a gunner in the Royal Artillery in the 9 Coast Regiment and is buried in the Labuan Cemetery, which is an island off the coast of Borneo in East Malaysia.
Reg Berrington is the 108 Mile Ranch correspondent.