Tributes to Second World War veteran Jack who survived three years in POW camps
12:42 03 March 2014
Tributes have been paid to a Second World War veteran who spent over three years in POW camps.
Jack Page, who lived in Hemsby for 50 years, was just 20 years old when he was captured in Singapore. While he did not talk much about his time as a prisoner of war in the Far East, Jack kept an almost daily diary during those years and at his funeral next week friends and family will hear one of the poems he wrote to his mother back home.
A well-known villager and friend to many, Jack died on February 10, aged 92.
Paying tribute to their much-missed father, his three children described him as a generous man who never raised his voice in anger and always helped others.
“He was extremely kind and generous,” said daughter Lesley Page, who now lives in Spain.
“He never had a bad word to say about anyone. He liked a catch up with his friends in the King’s Head and he had so many hobbies.”
“He liked his parties and family gatherings,” added daughter Helen Reed, who lives in Great Yarmouth.
Born in Ipswich in 1921, Leonard Jack Page - known to everyone as Jack, grew up in Suffolk before joining the army.
As a private with the 4th Battalion Suffolk Regiment, after being sent to Singapore and taken prisoner in 1942 with thousands of other soldiers, Jack spent years in the Taichu, Heito and Taihoku #6 camps.
“He didn’t talk about a lot it, but he would mention it and answer if you asked him questions,” said Helen.
“I remember him telling us about a monkey he found and about catching snakes,” said Leslie.
“And he had to work on sugar cane machines. They used to make the machine break down so they could steal a bit to eat.”
During his years as a POW, Jack kept a diary which the family still has and also wrote poems - one of which will be read aloud at his funeral service next week.
After the war, he was a reserve in the army and in 1946 married his sweetheart Joyce.
The couple, who were devoted to each other, had three children and lived in Bedford and Filby before settling in Hemsby.
Taking early retirement from his job as a turbine unit operator at Yarmouth power station gave Jack time to indulge in his many hobbies.
From gardening and collecting coins to playing bowls, breeding dogs and keeping an aviary, he kept his mind busy and his body busy. He only stopped driving two years ago.
After Joyce died in 2004, Jack continued to live at the family home and spend time with his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
His funeral service is taking place at St Mary’s church in Hemsby at 2pm today (Monday) followed by a get-together at Hemsby sports and social club. All friends and neighbours are welcome.
“He will be missed so much by all his friends and family,” said Helen.
Jack leaves his children Michael, Helen, Lesley, daughter-in-law Tracey, grandchildren Matthew, Christopher, Genna, Kimberley, Karen, and Jennifer and great-grandchildren Oscar and Erin.