Remembering the hardships of war

LOCAL HERO: Maurice Crowther was a prisoner of war in Japan for three years.
LOCAL HERO: Maurice Crowther was a prisoner of war in Japan for three years.

A WAR veteran from Liversedge will be one of the guests taking part in the annual Armistice parade service in London.

Maurice Crowther, 91, was a prisoner of war in Japan for three years, and will take part in Britain’s biggest remembrance service at the Cenotaph, which will be televised on Sunday.

Maurice worked in Japanese salt depots from 1942 to 1945, and is one of only four surviving far-eastern prisoner of war heroes in Britain. Not only will he be seen by thousands on the street representing his old regiment, but the BBC is to feature him as part of its broadcasting coverage during the day.

Despite his hardships, Maurice went on to lead a rich and full life upon his return to Britain. He became a councillor for Liversedge and, as a lifelong Huddersfield Town fan, was the chairman of the club’s patron’s association. He worked for Heckmondwike Carpets and, having lived in Liversedge all his life, moved to North Yorkshire two years ago.

He returned to Singapore in January this year to lay a wreath on the grave of his best friend, Norman Woods, who was also taken prisoner of war, and died while working on the “Death Railway” in Burma.

Maurice will be travelling down to London tomorrow with his daughter, Julie, and her husband, David. As he will not be able to march round himself, his daughter will be assisting her father by pushing him in a wheelchair down past the Cenotaph and the Queen along with other veterans and soldiers from more recent conflicts.

He said: “I think I might get a shock at how few other former PoWs there will be. There’s not many of us left, as I was one of the youngest members in the regiment.

“I feel very honoured to be going down.”

Julie said she was expecting it to be an emotional, but memorable occasion.

She said: “It will be very moving – even all the London cabbies will be helping out taking the veterans across London free.”

The event will be shown on BBC1, Sunday at 10.25am.