Veteran, 100, forced to work on Burmese railway shares memories ahead of VJ Day

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Jack Ransom VJ Day veteran
Jack says today he remembers those who perished when the atomic bombs fell on Japan.

AN 100-year-old veteran who was captured by Japanese forces and forced to work on the construction of the infamous Burma railway has spoken of his experiences ahead of Victory of Japan Day.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of VJ Day, as it is more commonly known, and the story of Robert John “Jack” Ransom will form part of the commemorations.

Mr Random believed he was just weeks from death before the dropping of the Atom Bombs brought the Second World War to an end.

His incredible tale will be told through a series of virtual events organised by Armed Forces charities Legion Scotland and Poppyscotland, in partnership with the Scottish Government.

Veteran Jack Ransom
Veteran Jack has lived a “fruitful” life and received a card from the Queen.

Programmes will be broadcast live via the charities’ social media channels to mark the milestone anniversary.

A virtual Service of Remembrance will be shown from 10:35am, and will be followed at midday by a virtual concert.

Mr Ransom was forced to surrender to the Japanese in February 1942 and remained a prisoner until August 1945.

 

He was eventually forced into back-breaking work on the Burmese railway.

Mr Ransom, who is originally from Peckham, in London, and now lives in Largs, said: “Thinking back the past 75 years to 1945, there are three things that are in my mind. One, I never forget my comrades; those that did not come home. And there were many of them.

“The second thing is, I always think that if it hadn’t been of the dropping of the Atom Bombs I would not have been released in time to save my life, but, of course, in my mind is the thought that by dropping the Atom Bombs all of those civilians – men, women and children – died in Japan.

Veteran Jack Ransom
Jack was forced to surrender to the Japanese in 1942.

“And last thing, now that I am 100 and have received a birthday card from Her Majesty The Queen, I think of the Emperor of Japan who should have also sent me a birthday card.

After all, I did work for his grandfather, too.”

Legion Scotland Chief Executive Dr Claire Armstrong added: “Mr Ransom is well loved and respected amongst our Legion membership and in the community of Largs.

“It’s easy to see why. His account demonstrates a man of great resilience and humour, who, despite his experiences during the War, has gone on to live a long and fruitful life.

“His story gives great insight into the experience of Prisoners of War and the horrendous conditions they had to endure. And yet he, and many, many others like him, carried on with a spirit of optimism and determination. We are truly grateful for the men and women of the Second World War generation for their service and sacrifice.

“On the eve of the 75th anniversary of this important milestone in our nation’s history, we are calling on the nation to pause, to remember and to pay tribute to Jack, and so many other like him.”

 
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