Wednesday, September 3, 2014
A daughter of a former war prisoner is to make an emotional visit to a memorial on the site where her father was enslaved by the Japanese.
Corporal Arthur Robert Jones, of the 6th Norfolk Regiment, was one of hundreds trapped in forced labour when Britain surrendered to Japan in 1942.
His daughter Linda Nicholls, along with partner Kevin, campaigned for several years when – after making a trip to Tokyo in 2010 – realised there was no memorial on the Omi Camp where Cpl Jones of Downham Market was kept.
The memorial is finally set to be unveiled on September 5, nearly 70 years after his release.
Linda said: “We were kindly shown the site back in 2010 and it was a very emotional sight.
“But we realised that at all of the other camp sites we visited there was a memorial, but at Omi there was no recognition for the sixty that died.
“We met the British ambassador and discussed the possibilities of getting a memorial erected.”
After three years of wait and frustration, the pair got a response in spring 2013 to promise the installation of a memorial by the Denki Kaguku Company who the inmates worked for.
Cpl Jones, along with 295 other British soldiers, was transferred to Tokyo 13B Omi Camp in May 1943, where he stayed until the Second World War ended in 1945.
Sixty men died during their two- and-a-half-year incarceration, including 15 from Norfolk, four from Suffolk and one from Cambridgeshire.
Cpl Jones went to work in maltings in Narborough and King’s Lynn where he met his wife, Netta. He died in 2008, aged 90.
The cost of the memorial is £150,000 and the president of Denki has decided to demolish some buildings to put the memorial in a prestigious location.
Mrs Nicholls said: “It is a wonderful gesture to the UK-Japan relations and reconciliation that they have agreed to the upkeep for evermore.”