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War Cemeteries

All  the  War  Cemeteries  in   the  Far  East  are extremely  attractive,  beautifully enhanced  with  exotic  flowering  shrubs,   lush  green grass  and  each  is  maintained  to  the  highest  standard.

In each  cemetery  can  be  found    an identical    Cross  of  Sacrifice  in   the most  predominant  spot.   Most  of  the cemeteries have a   "Stone  of  Remembrance"  near  the  entrance,  which  bears  a  similarity  to  an  alter  and   carved  out  are the words

"Their name liveth for evermore"

Those  buried  in  these  War  Cemeteries  are  for  the  largest  part  Prisoners  of  War  of  the  Japanese  during  1942 - 45.

A  small percentage   are  of  those  who  fought in battle  just  prior  to  the capitulation  on  15th February 1942   or  those  who  gave  their  lives  to  set  free  those  thousands  upon  thousands  of  men  who  suffered  and  died  agonising  deaths  by the   barbaric  and  inhuman  acts  inflicted upon  them  by  their  captors.

If  there  is  one  thought  that  stands  out  in  the human  mind  upon  seeing  these  cemeteries  for  the   first  time  and  gazing  over  a  sea  of  thousands  of  small white  head  stones,   it  is  that  all  these  men  did  not  die  as  soldiers, they  did  not  die  fighting  for  their  lives, they did not die  fighting  for  their  king  or country  -  they  died  as  Prisoners  of  War,  they  died  in  miserable  squalor,  in  filth,  starving,  ill,  beaten,  diseased  and treated  as  slaves. In  these conditions  their  lives   were  burnt  out,  they stood no chance  against  the  evil  and black hearted  enemy who  were their tormentors.

This  was   the fate   of  these  hundreds  and  thousands  of  young  men in their prime,   condemned   to  lie  forever  in  the  scorched  baked  earth  in far  off  lands.   They  lie  in  peace,   in  beautifully  maintained  cemeteries  lovingly  cared  for  by  local gardeners.  But  the  thought  remains,  they  should  never  have  died,  they  were  young  men  given  no  chance  and   yet their  country  has  never  honoured  them.

May  the   cemeteries  that  guard  these  broken bodies  be blessed  for   they  have in their  care  the divine  souls  of  our  fathers and  brothers.  We,  the  Children  and  Families  of  the Far East Prisoners  of  War,   will remember  them  forever.

By Carol Cooper