BRITAIN’S youngest surviving Japanese prisoner of war lead a group of ex-servicemen on an emotional trip yesterday.
Harold Lock, who lives in Sudbury, was just 16-years-old when he was imprisoned by the Japanese after the battleship on which he was serving sunk.
Yesterday the veteran, took seven ex-servicemen who served in the Second World War and attend the town’s Buffalo Lodge at the Conservative Club to the National Memorial Arboretum.
Mr Lock, 88, said: “I have been to the memorial a few times before, but the others haven’t, so I decided to organise a trip.
“It was quite emotional as these trips give us a chance to reflect on what we went through and to remember our comrades who lost their lives.”
Mr Lock lied about his age to join the Royal Navy at the age of 14. He was serving on HMS Jupiter in the Second World War when it was sunk by a torpedo of the coast of Java in 1942. Mr Lock swam through miles of shark infested waters to reach land, only to be met by Japanese soldiers. He was held captive for more than three years until the end of the war. His book, The Forgotten Men, was published in 1995.
The trip was made possible thanks to community transport group Go START, which stepped in to provide drivers and a mini bus.
The National Arboretum is the UK’s all year round remembrance centre and attracts 300,000 visitors a year. It is set in 150 acres of wooded parkland in Staffordshire, and the Armed Forces Memorial at the site pays thanks to all those who have lost their lives serving their country since the Second World War.