Len Fiske, one of Norfolk’s last Far East Prisoners of War, has died aged 102

Len Fiske (left) outside the North Walsham butchers shop he worked at, with wartime pal Paddy Flemin

Len Fiske (left) outside the North Walsham butchers shop he worked at, with wartime pal Paddy Fleming. Photo: supplied - Credit: Archant

Len Fiske spent three and a half years as a prisoner at Japanese camps during the Second World War and his stepson Robert Craske, 69, said the veteran never fully forgave the Japanese.

Len Fiske celebrating his 100th birthday two years ago. Photo: Karen Bethell

Len Fiske celebrating his 100th birthday two years ago. Photo: Karen Bethell - Credit: Archant

He said: 'He was not vindictive and he never complained about his experiences, but I once had a Datsun Patrol and he refused to ride in it. We understood why.'

Mr Fiske, from Beeston Regis, died at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital on February 4.

Mr Craske, a retired electrician from Sheringham, said: 'He used to say he had survived the war because he was small, and didn't need much to keep him going.'

The middle child of 11 brothers and sisters, born to a North Walsham railway worker, Mr Fiske, was a butcher for 47 years, before and after the war.


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He was called up almost two years after the outbreak of the war. Expecting to be posted to India, he was instead sent to Singapore.

Just days after his arrival, Mr Fiske and his fellow soldiers were ordered to surrender and found themselves forced to march 60 miles to work on the notorious Burma Railway.

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They were made to toil from 8am until 6pm, seven days a week, surviving on just two bowls of boiled rice a day.

After the completion of the railway in 1943, Mr Fiske and his fellow 5th Battalion Royal Norfolk Regiment soldiers were transported to Japan, where they were imprisoned in the Omi POW camp and sent to work in a nearby factory.

By the time Omi was liberated at the end of the war, Mr Fiske had spent time in four POW camps.

He was taken on an American ship to New York, where he dined out at the famous Waldorf Astoria Hotel before returning to North Walsham.

After his first wife died, he married Margaret, Mr Craske's mother, when they were both in their 50s.

He did not have any children of his own, but had three step-children, seven step-grandchildren and 10 step-great-grandchildren.

The funeral will be at Cromer Crematorium on February 24, at 11am.

Are you mourning the loss of a war veteran? Email david.bale2@archant.co.uk

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