The Forgotten Highlander: An Incredible WWII Story of Survival in the Pacificby Alistair Urquhart
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Alistair Urquhart was a soldier in the Gordon Highlanders, captured by the Japanese in Singapore. Forced into manual labor as a POW, he survived 750 days in the jungle working as a slave on the notorious “Death Railway” and building the Bridge on the River Kwai. Subsequently, he moved to work on a Japanese “hellship,” his ship was torpedoed, and nearly everyone on board the ship died. Not Urquhart. After five days adrift on a raft in the South China Sea, he was rescued by a Japanese whaling ship.
His luck would only get worse as he was taken to Japan and forced to work in a mine near Nagasaki. Two months later, he was just ten miles from ground zero when an atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. In late August 1945, he was freed by the American Navy—a living skeleton—and had his first wash in three and a half years.
This is the extraordinary story of a young man, conscripted at nineteen, who survived not just one, but three encounters with death, any of which should have probably killed him. Silent for over fifty years, this is Urquhart’s inspirational tale in his own words. It is as moving as any memoir and as exciting as any great war movie.
- Skyhorse Publishing
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Meet the Author
Alistair Urquhart was born in 1919 and is the last surviving member of the Scottish regiment the Gordon Highlanders who were captured in Singapore. He teaches computer skills in Scotland. He is currently battling skin cancer—a probable result of his years of forced labor in the tropical sun. He lives in Dundee, Scotland.
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After meeting Alistair at the USS pampanito, I had to read his book. To make it through everything he did and still be thankful and be able to smile with us, I can't understand that power. He is a true surviver, surviving off love and hope. they gave him nothing in the POW camps but he still fought to survive. Everyone takes a journey in life, most of us choose the route, but to make it through his and the man (true gentleman) he is. how amazing. for all of you that still have war hero parents and grandparents around, hold them close and make sure you appriecated what they did to protect us. Lets never forget, lets never repeat the past. Godspeed Alistair Godspeed.
Actually this book is two stories, the first is a story of ones man will to survive. Along with an eye witness of the horrors of war, and what cruelties men are capable of inflicting on one another. What he and his comrades were put through is almost unbelievable. A must read for any military or history buff.