True Story to put this Coronavirus thing into Context.

Here’s a true story to put all this coronavirus rubbish into context.

My Dad’s Uncle

My grandmother’s brother was called Ernest Hughes. He was my dad’s uncle. My great-uncle. Dani’s great-great-uncle.

In 1989 he was consulted about events towards the end of the second world war in which he was one of 1300 prisoners being shipped to Japan to work as slave labour for the ailing Japanese war effort. On the way to Japan the ship was sunk by an American submarine and only 104 made it off the ship. Even then the ordeal was not over as the Japanese refused to pickup any of the Allied forces. He spent five days in a tiny boat being baked by the sun and with sharks ever present, looking for an easy meal.

The Film

The reason he was consulted about all this is because in that year they made a film called “Return from the River Kwai.” I remember my dad telling me about this many years ago. Then my sister dug up the newspaper article (see below) while doing some family tree research. You can read the article in full below. I had never seen it until now but I found the whole film available on Youtube – link here. Please watch it. It is not a sequel to the fantastic “Bridge over the River Kwai” but it is related to the events that followed, specifically the shipping of slave labour to Japan.

He had nightmares about his ordeal and the treatment he and many others received at the hands of their Japanese captors. As a result he never had anything of Japanese origin in his house. Not an easy thing for many post war years – as Japan was much like China is now producing much of the cheap stuff that we don’t really need but buy anyway because it so cheap. I can actually remember that his sister – my grandmother – was the same, and would not tolerate Japanese products in her house.

So what’s the link with today?

Well, there are three things that spring immediately to mind for me when reading this true story:

  1. The anti Japanese sentiment in the newspaper article would never be printed today. It would simply be edited out. Leaving the story largely incomplete.
  2. We should all being doing something similar now and avoiding anything made in China  in the aftermath of this coronavirus nonsense. It is not just because of the origin of the virus or even that they covered it up. It is more to do with being self-reliant and not being economically controlled – and bullied – by China; something that is only going to get worse unless we become more independent. We really do not need most of the things made there, and there are alternatives. This is something we can all do without leaving it to the useless politicians.
  3. Finally, and this one really struck me the moment I read the article: This really shows what a bunch of pathetic bed-wetters people have become. While people like my great-uncle went through serious ordeals and saw fellow soldiers starved and tortured to death, so many people today are hiding behind the sofa frightened of catching a glorified cold. For me that really puts this current situation into perspective.

The Article

The Book

The film is based on the book of the same name written by Ex-US submariner Clay Blair Jr and his wife Joan. They travelled to the UK and Australia to interview survivors. The book is a true account of the prisoner’s lives under the Japanese while the film is a suitably sanitised Hollywood version of events. The film was OK, but I feel I must now read the book.


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