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Captivity, Slavery and Survival as a Far East POW: The Conjurer on the Kwai

Captivity, Slavery and Survival as a Far East POW: The Conjurer on the Kwai [Kindle Edition]

Peter Fyans
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

Captivity, Slavery and Survival as a Far East POW is the incredibly moving story of Gus Anckorn, a British soldier who was captured by the Japanese and held for over three and a half years. Before the war, Gus was a magician and throughout the war, entertained both fellow soldiers and Japanese guards with his tricks.Gus has a brilliant sense of humor and a 'tell it as it is' attitude which got him into a number of scrapes with both the Japanese and his own side. He has a remarkable humility to his character and is extremely endearing, both in the book and face to face guaranteeing massive media attention.Gus experienced terrible ordeals that no one should have to face. He should have been killed on four or five occasions, but remarkably survived due to quick thinking and good luck. Gus also reveals the heartache of leaving his fiancee behind and not knowing if he would ever see her again.This is an incredibly moving book and will surely be considered as one of the classic Far East POW stories. Gus is still alive and active today, very publicity focused and well connected. He still holds the unique claim of being the youngest ever member of the Magic Circle and is now currently their oldest ever member. He is also a member of the Masons. Gus has appeared on BBC TV when they arranged for him to meet a Japanese POW camp guard on the bridge at Kwai.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2671 KB
  • Print Length: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Pen & Sword (12 July 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #289,366 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read! 7 Dec 2011
This book is beautifully written, a moving account of a man born and raised in Kent, ending up as a POW of the Japanese for three and a half years, and surviving through the most horrific of situations with pure luck, instinct, willpower and magic!
The book pulls no punches, and creates a picture in one's the mind of the man, the conjurer, the survivor. Peter Fyans has captured the spirit of Fergus Anckorn (the subject of the book), and the courage he shows not only in surviving at least four occasions when he should have died, but the willpower needed to get through each day without thinking about the tomorrow. Peter also describes the tenacity and will shown by Fergus in coming to terms with the 'real world' post war which took him many years.
This book is a 'must read' for us all to experience to some small degree what really happened to so many thousands of our ancestors, we owe it to them.Captivity, Slavery and Survival as a Far East POW: The Conjuror on the Kwai
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Hasn't everything already been said about the Burma-Siam "Death" Railway even after a film about the story?

Just mention Alec Guinness as Col Nicholson in David Lean's famous or infamous Bridge on the River Kwai (incorrectly named as Kwai meaning river, whereas the river in question was the Khwae Mae Khlong)The Bridge on the River Kwai [DVD] [2000], and it is certain to transform a quiet Burma Star Association veteran into an angry old warrior. A book on Lt. Col. Philip Toosey, CO of 135th Field Regiment, the real Nicholson, has even been written by the granddaughter author, Julie Summers, to give a balanced reply to the invented storyThe Colonel of Tamarkan: Philip Toosey and the Bridge on the River Kwai. Surely, one might think that can be none other than equally enraged family propaganda?

The story of Gunner Fergus Anckorn, of 118th Field Regiment, RA, from Sevenoaks, is a tale of adventure and misadventure, but in particular of luck. He was wounded in the last days during the Japanese invasion of Malaya and Singapore in February 1942; treated by Brig. Julian Taylor, the best surgeon in Malaysia Command; he experienced the first days and the gradual transformation of POW conditions ordered by the war criminal Gen Fukuye at Changi prison into a living hell; subsequently, he was sent north as part of the "supido" or "speedo" frenetic 18 months (initially estimated for 5 years) completion of the Bangkok-Rangoon railway, where thousands of Allied POW and Burmese and Thai natives died. Anckorn lived at the "hospital camps" at Chungkai and Tamarkan, and that is the uniqueness of his never recorded story.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The luckiest man alive 14 Mar 2012
Fergus Anckorn, the subject of the book, is a remarkable man with a remarkable tale to tell. To call him the luckiest man alive might seem odd, given the horrors he endured. But luck and chance are threads that run through this book. In Singapore he was saved from being slaughtered in his hospital bed by the Japanese. He avoided the amputation of his hand, enabling him to carry on entertaining both his comrades and captors, securing priceless extra food in the process. He lost and recovered a gold ring - a precious reminder of home - on three occasions, risking life and limb in the process. But his luck came at a price, with hospital visits to treat his battered body continuing for six years after the war.

Author Peter Fyans has packed a lot in, as the bibliography at the back testifies. It is part autobiography and part history, and the two don't sit particularly well at times. Fergus Anckorn's narrative at times seems overlong and perhaps could have been more tightly edited. But it has the realistic ring of the man himself, who has opened his soul and his memories, so that we might learn what his generation faced.

The book will appeal to anyone with an interest in the Far East campaign and wants to understand why veterans have such an enduring bitterness of the Japanese. Anckorn provides the answer.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Captivity,Slavery And Survival As A Far East POW 14 Feb 2012
By colin
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Very good read about the life of Fergus Anckorn written by Peter Fyans.It gives a real insight into his captivity following the fall of Singapore and the trials and tribulations suffered by him and the thousands of men captured at that time.But also looks at his life prior and up to him joining the army,also more importantly his very hard adjustment to life back in post war Britain.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Conjuror on the Kwai 18 Dec 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Wonderful story, well written of a True Hero.
We will never know the Unbelievable Cruelty these Guys were subjected to by Sub Human Captors.
Every one of them a True Hero.
I recommend the read to anyone who is interested in this Infamous chapter of our recent history.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Friend Fergus. 27 Nov 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
Fergus is an old friend of mine and I have to tell you he really is an amazing man.
I have ordered a book from him and will pick it up when I visit his soon.
His first book was great and I believe that this now book is even better.
You would never know Fergus is over 90 yoars of age.
He still does a magic show and always fills the halls up.
Fergus IS magic.
Barry Watson, Sundridge Kent.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars An education in itself
Everyone should read this book - Fergus is so matter of fact. He was also a tutor of mine many years ago and talked first hand of his experiences to his students - the stories are... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Annie
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read
A must read, you won't be able to put it down once you've started reading. A remarkable story about a far East pow by a remarkable man. These men should never be forgotten.
Published 20 months ago by Alfie Alford
4.0 out of 5 stars If you like reading about WWII survivor stories, you'll like this.
Fantastic book ... i have read quite alot of WWII books but never one regarding the Japanese POW's ... Read more
Published 23 months ago by JoParky56
5.0 out of 5 stars Brave, Captive, Fergus Anckorn. Lucky to be alive!
Reading the book took me less than a week reading it, in not very much spare time, but I couldn't put it down! Read more
Published on 8 Aug 2012 by J. Robertson
2.0 out of 5 stars Captivity, Slavery and survival as a far east POW
This book is completely over rated and quite boring. I bought the book hoping to read about the atrocities in the japenese POW camps but this book only skims the surface. Read more
Published on 19 Jun 2012 by Cath
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read
This is an amazing story of life as a POW with the Japanese. Everyone should read it to realise what these men went through to try to provide a safe Britain for us. Read more
Published on 14 Mar 2012 by B. Young
5.0 out of 5 stars How it really was.
An extraordinarily vivid and detailed account of one man's experience as a POW on the infamous Burma-Thailand Railway. Read more
Published on 20 Feb 2012 by HilaryCustanceGreen
5.0 out of 5 stars BOOK REVIEW
Bought as Christmas gift recepient just started to read book
after three chapters thinks its very interesting,hopes the rest
of the book lives up to part read so far.
Published on 17 Jan 2012 by ISABAIQ
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