I was delighted to receive a wonderful letter containing a review of my third book: - Chinese Save Brits – in Burma..
‘I have read your book Chinese Save Brits – in Burma and as surprised by the length and scope of the work. The amount of work you clearly carried out on such a variety of topics must have been a colossal task. A fascinating read all the way through. You certainly don’t mince your words and aren’t afraid to name names! It must have been very gratifying to receive such appreciation from the authorities in Taiwan. Very well done. A splendid book.’
I’d like to thank JS for taking the time and trouble to send this letter to me it was very much appreciated.
12 May 2014
My wife, Patricia and I attended a discussion over High Tea, "Soar on the Wings of Partnership," held by the Taipei Representative Office in the UK, House of Commons.
I was very pleased to receive a letter from The Inniskillings Museum, Northern Ireland. I had sent a letter to them some months previous.
Here is a short paragraph from the letter, which as you can imagine was most welcome.
'Your account of the rescue of some captured Inniskillings from the Japanese by the Chinese Army at Yenangyaung oilfield on April 942 is very interesting. The regimental history does not mention it, but the writer may not have had much written evidence to go on, given the dreadful retreat which followed.
As soon as our current work on the First World War gives us time, we will research the incident in our archives. It would help us focus our work if you would donate a copy of your book ‘Chinese Save Brits: in Burma’, to our museum, and I hope you will do so.
I feel it is unrealistic to expect a response from the British Government at this stage. However, if we can relate your account to our records, it will add a valuable human story to illustrate the hardships endured by the Inniskillings, the KOYLI and your good self in that harsh and difficult campaign.'
I’d like to thank MS for taking the time and trouble to send this letter to me it was very much appreciated.
My books ‘Ditched in Burma’, and ‘Chinese Save Brits: in Burma’, are essentially recording events, experienced by me whilst in service with the British Army. It was the absolute joy of escaping the hum-drum, and meeting so great a variety of individuals.
Not brilliant, but a competent all-rounder at sport, particularly rugby league, boxing, and swimming, successful enough to train with the local City of Leeds 1936 Olympic training squad. A former army boxer himself, my father considered me good enough to become a successful professional at the game.
Engineering experience, amongst men of the highest caliber, particularly under one who guided superbly, and died far too young, was my grounding for respect, of confidence and competence, in any field of activity. There was always the odd charlatan exception, and it proved useful to recognise this throughout my long life of 94 years.
With never a thought of authorship, the urge came upon my finding of the treacherous Churchill's signal of discard secreted away for thirty years. It was sent to Roosevelt, at the time I was serving with the British Army in Burma, and denied medical, ammunition, and food services, to the point of utter desperation.
My pre-war training in sport, and in employment, came to the fore in wartime emergency, and when meeting the necessity, I was not lacking. Recognising the dire situation, in which a dithering titular commander faltered, I usurped, and of necessity assumed command.
There was no hesitation in my dispatching rogue Burmese, particularly when armed, they fired on, and wounded, amongst others, a precious Corporal under my command.
To receive a letter, from Margaret Liu Sun in Washington DC, following her reading my 2001 issue book, ‘No Mandalay, No Maymyo’, more than seventy years after the war, was incredible. To be told that her father was Chinese General Liu Fang-Wu, Commander of Chinese Forces at the Battle of Yenangyaung, in 1942, was a revelation beyond my wildest dreams.
For my wife, Patricia and me, to be invited as ‘Guests of the Republic of China Government – Taiwan’, in March 2013, was absolute magic. To meet with President Ma Ying-jeou and Defence Minister Kao Hou-chu, have an Audience with each, and be decorated by them, puts indifferent Britain: - Churchill, Thatcher, and their numerous followers, in the shade.
When asked four times, of the ‘general standing’, between Britain and the RoC, Britain’s William Hague, Foreign Minister, disgusted, and failed to make one single reply…
To write, rewrite, and edit three books, over more than forty years, with the unstinting help of Patricia, my wife, is demanding in the extreme, although so highly satisfying upon publication.