To honour those who served their country

“In this their finest hour”

Royal Corps of Signals-tn



John Craig


 1922/09/26 - Born Glasgow

Son of William and Mary Craig

Occupation - Shipping Clerk

1941/02/17 - Enlisted

Royal Corps of Signals

18th Division Signals


Japanese PoW

1942/02/15 - Captured Singapore

PoW No. 17570

Japanese Index Card - Side One


Japanese Index Card - Side Two










Keppel Harbour

Lt-Col. Flowers



Lt-Col. Flowers


Nagoya 4B - Iruka, Japan

Capt. Thornhill

1945/09/09 - Liberated



Anzac Day: Convinced by his grandson, a WWII veteran is marching today in his first parade

There was a new face among the World War II veterans at the Anzac Day march in Sydney today.

It took some convincing, but 94-year-old Scotsman and former prisoner of war John Craig joined the procession for the first time.Craig-John-6

"The main reason is that I have a grandson of 22 years of age who's very anxious to march," Mr Craig said ahead of the march.

"We'd gone as spectators quite often over the years, but it never occurred to me to march, but it should have I suppose.

"Marshall is  happy to push me in a chair all the way around so I agreed to go with him, providing the sun is shining."Craig-John-7

Marshall wore the medals of his great grandfather James Marshall who fought in both World Wars and received a Distinguished Service Medal from the King.

Another of his grandchildren, 17-year-old Hugh Craig, will also be in the march, playing bagpipes with his school band.

It has been almost eight decades since Mr Craig joined the army at the age of 18, just as the Germans were advancing in western Europe.

"We expected the Germans to land in the UK and here I was, a young man without a rifle. And the only way I could get a rifle was to join the Army," he said.

Expecting to be sent to fight in the deserts of North Africa, his ship was diverted to defend Singapore from the Japanese, arriving with little more than a rifle.

"It wasn't at all successful, it wasn't a good war because the desertion of troops from British and Australian armies was dreadful, they wandered back to Singapore town," Mr Craig said.

"We who were loyal stood where we were but somehow or other we didn't win anyway, so we found ourselves captives, which wasn't a very pleasant situation."


Decades on, it's hard to shake the memories

Mr Craig was sent to the Changi camp and later to work on the infamous Burma-Thailand railway, forced to sign a document promising not to attempt or help anyone escape.

Once he awoke in a tree after falling asleep there on the job, only to find all his fellow prisoners of war gone along with his Japanese captors.

He finally reconnected with his camp and got a reprieve, but not before a dressing down from the Japanese camp leader about sleeping on the job.

"I was very fortunate because my friends and everyone thought I was going to dig my own grave," he said.

He was one of 300 prisoners who were sent to work underground at a copper mine at a small Japanese village called Iruka, where 16 of his fellow prisoners died.

In 1945, after the atomic bombs was dropped on Japan and the war came to end, Mr Craig was rescued from a nearby beach and taken home to Glasgow.

Today, he harbours no ill will towards the Japanese, but he cannot forget what happened either.

"The Japanese were good soldiers but they're hyper-militant, they're cruel, they're sadistic and they did things to us which we thought dreadful at the time," Mr Craig said.

"But nothing like [Islamic State] is doing now."

Mr Craig moved from Glasgow to Sydney with his wife Joan in 1954, but the sound of bagpipes still evokes powerful memories.


For his grandson Hugh, it is an instrument creating links between generations: "I quite like the bagpipes and Hugh's quite good at them."

This Anzac Day, Mr Craig hopes Australians realise the horrors of war.

"My advice to my young people is they should be appreciative of the sacrifice made by many young men on their behalf to give them the way of life they now enjoy," he said.

"I sincerely hope none of my grandsons will have to face a war because it's not a pleasant thing seeing your friends killed.”


Beth Weldon - newspaper article

KEW:- WO 361/2166, WO 345/12, WO 361/1985,


''Our Thanks are for being a Chapter in Life.''




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