A hero’s return for war veteran

PRIDE: Maurice lays a wreath on Norman's grave in Singapore this year.
PRIDE: Maurice lays a wreath on Norman's grave in Singapore this year.

Heroes Return campaign, funded by the National Lottery.

The charity is currently running a series of national television adverts highlighting the struggles British forces faced when fighting in the jungles of Asia.

Maurice said: “My regiment was disbanded immediately after the war and it is only through my recent research that I realised it is now known as the ‘forgotten regiment’.

“For me, it is important that my comrades are far from forgotten.”

Maurice was joined by his daughter Julie and son-in-law Stephen Ward for the emotional journey to find Norman’s grave, in Kan Chanaburi, Thailand.

He added: “I knew this was my opportunity to find Norman’s grave. It was important for me to be able to lay a wreath.

“Singapore is completely unrecognisable from its jungle days but it was amazing being able to go to Raffles with my daughter, which during the war had been an observation post.”

By 1945 Maurice was interned in a coal mine 100-miles from the city of Nagaski when the American Forces dropped the Hydrogen bomb.

He was freed from the camp upon the surrender of Japanese forces, yet the journey back to the UK took six months.

Daughter Julie said: “He is a very stoic person from what he has been through. There was the odd moment during the visit to the Death Railway Museum – I think that was very emotional for him.

“It has taken him so long to go back because he needed the time to be ready to get the closure he needed.

“Visiting Norman’s grave gave him that.”

Upon his return to Liversedge, he initially struggled to return to normality. He spent many years as a carpet fitter for Heckmondwike Carpets, until he retired.

Julie added: “Had he returned home straight away after the war, it would’ve been horrendous for his family to see him. He needed time to recover and feel like a human being again.”