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Survivor on the River Kwai Audio Cassette – Audiobook, Unabridged


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Product details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Soundings Audio Books; Unabridged edition (1 Jun 2014)
  • ISBN-10: 1407949330
  • ISBN-13: 978-1407949338
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)

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Review

One of the finest accounts yet of life in the jungle PoW camps, at once humbling, heartwarming and enraging (Allan Mallinson The Times) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Reg Twigg was born at Wigston (Leicester) barracks on 16 December 1913. He was called up to the Leicestershire Regiment in 1940 but instead of fighting Hitler he was sent to the Far East, stationed at Singapore. When captured by the Japanese, he decided he would do everything to survive.

After his repatriation from the Far East, Reg returned to Leicester. With his family he returned to Thailand in 2006, and revisited the sites of the POW camps. Reg died in 2013, at the age of ninety-nine, two weeks before the publication of this book.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By ACB(swansea) TOP 50 REVIEWER on 27 May 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Reg Twigg's life story is indeed incredible. His father, Sid, was in the Leicester Regiment returning from the Great War in 1919, 'the hell where youth and laughter go'. Reg had never seen him. He had noticed that few children had dads in those early years. He had become hardened and streetwise, excelling as a footballer, cyclist and distance runner. He describes his childhood in a single word - hunger. He learned that 'if you're faced with an ongoing problem, find a way round it'. Aged 26, 5'4" tall, wiry, strong and fit, Reg was conscripted in 1940 to the Leicesters and out of Britain for the first time.

A stormy and colourful journey on a trooper ship ended in Penang and then on to Singapore. Unbeknown to the regiment, Japan had attacked Pearl Harbour, taken Hong Kong and Siam (Thailand) and the Leicesters were totally unprepared for the assault on Singapore. Twigg's comments on the officers and circumstances surrounding this make fascinating reading with incompetence bordering on the farcical. From January,1942 until August,1945, Twigg was a prisoner of the Japanese. He had made his mind up he was 'going to survive; if needs be on his own'.

Transported from one prison camp to another, Twigg and fellow captives were forced to build a railway (Thailand-Burma) through thick and hazardous jungle, hacking bamboo as hard as iron and digging unyielding clay soil, barefooted and wearing little more than a loin cloth. The atrocities and the systematic brutality of the guards, both Japanese and Korean, were barbaric and are vividly described. Deprivation of possessions came with malnutrition (walking skeletons on a diet of pap rice; 'The Nippon Slimming Club'), dysentery, cholera, malaria, beriberi, pus-filled sores and mental illness (madness).
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By johnc on 17 July 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Reg was my wife's uncle and I had the pleasure of knowing him for the past 40 odd years.He was a remarkable man who had no real interest in material possesions and always seemed at ease with himself.He loved the countryside,biking and camping.He was great with children,a sort of pied piper character.I can recall him playing football with my grandkids when he was well into his eighties.
After he retired he used to do gardening jobs,mainly for pensioners, and would often tell us about 'the old dears' that he did work for,most of them were much younger than him but he was still a kid at heart.
He died in May,a couple of weeks before this book was published.At his funeral it was evident how many peoples lives he had touched.This book is a remarkable story of a simple,generous and amazing man.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Derek Griffiths on 29 Dec 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
How anybody survived the appalling conditions and the barbaric treatment by the Japanese and Korean guards in the labour camps described in this book is almost beyond comprehension. In an ironic kind of way, Reg's difficult childhood (not that untypical of a working class lad in the 1920s and 1930s), summed up by him early in the book with one simple word - "hunger" - prepared him at least in some way for the horrors that followed his capture in the Far East.

Ultimately, along with a huge slice of Lady Luck, it was Reg's indomitable spirit and his ingenuity that earmarked him as a survivor, when so many of his friends and colleagues didn't make it.

This book is not only an excellent historical account of his time in captivity, but it is superbly written to convey all the thoughts, feelings and emotions that a human being experiences when pushed to and beyond the limits of their physical and psychological capacity.

The very best and the very worst of the human condition are on display in this book - and it will move you to tears. Reg Twigg was an amazing man amongst many. Sadly they didn't all come home.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Dr Barry Clayton TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 25 May 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Just before WW11 the American anthropologist Ruth Benedict wrote a brilliant little book entitled: 'The Chrysanthemum and the Sword'. It is about the many facets of Japanese culture, some of them very disturbing. The latter were displayed in full measure in the atrocities committed against the Chinese and in the many barbarous acts against defenceless soldiers and POW's during the Second World War.

Unlike the atrocities committed by the Nazis, and their many supporters among the German people, those by the Japanese were carried out by soldiers in accordance with policy laid down in Tokyo by their political and military masters.

Many of these atrocities were of almost indescribable bestiality, bayoneting a tied up prisoner was a particular favourite. Attempts to explain, even excuse such sadistic acts have failed miserably. As Benedict and others have shown there is something in Japanese culture that lends itself to acts of utter barbarity.

I very much doubt if Reg Twigg who died this month just short of his 100th birthday,would have any difficulty in describing the brutality of his guards in one of the Kwai camps for POW's. In all he was incarcerated from 1942 until 1945. How he survived-over 13000 Troops from Britain, Holland and Australia didn't, plus around 80000 coolies who also died-malaria, cholera, malnutrition and, in particular, the sadistic violence of his Japanese captors is amazing. That he did was due to an indomitable spirit and sheer courage.

Prior to the war he tells us he was a fanatical cyclist and a very fine athlete.

In 1946 he was discharged from the Leicester Regiment-a very fine regiment-because some desk-bound committee found him 'no longer physically fit for service'! How insensitive can one get!

Do read this heartwarming and uplifting book. It will make you proud to be British. The Japanese however may find it deeply embarrassing.
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