Harold Bates & Monty Truscott
This is the story of 2 members of the Royal Corps of Signals from World War II -
Harold Bates and Monty Truscott – Far East Prisoners of War
It’s funny how things turn up, isn’t it. Early in 2013 I attended the funeral of an old colleague of my father’s down in Bournemouth. This person had served with my father in Hong Kong and like him, he had been taken prisoner and served as a POW for over 3 ½ years. At this funeral I met members of the family, but quite by chance afterwards I chatted to a brother and sister who had come to pay their respects because their father had been a colleague of the man that had just died. We got talking and the sister, Lizzie, mentioned that she had various pieces of information about her father, who was also in the Royal Signals like my father and served in Hong Kong and was taken prisoner. His name was Harold Bates. Sometime after the funeral whilst I was carrying out other investigations jointly with Lizzie and her brother, I was given a copy of a recording in which Harold Bates speaks about his experiences in the Far East. The interview was done jointly with Monty Truscott.
This recording is especially interesting as both men talk about their experiences in Hong Kong, where my father served. They also go on to talk about their experiences as POWs. Here is a transcript of the recording made in 1973 by the BBC in Hong Kong during a private visit by Harold Bates & Monty Truscott.
[The text in italics is the BBC interviewer. Please note: in a rather old fashioned way the BBC interviewer uses their military titles].
You may also be interested in a recording (available on the Imperial War Museum website) by Monty Truscott, who a great friend of my father, and was in his section of the Hong Kong Signal Regiment (Royal Signals). They were both captured at the end of the battle for Hong Kong on Christmas Day 1941. Here is a link to the recording:
I hope find this window into the past and the experiences of our WWII heroes of interest.
Index (click to take you to a page or click on the menu list on the left hand side)
- Monty talks about joining the Army & Hong Kong before the war
- 1938 - The build up to war
- The Battle for Hong Kong
- Capture and Sham Shui Po POW camp
- The terrible voyage on the Lisbon Maru
- Journey to Japan & POW camp
- POW life, Japanese newspapers, end of the war & a European toilet!
- After the war & the return visit to Hong Kong
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