Wo­man looks for boy who helped father in WW2

Gulf News - - World -

The daugh­ter of a Royal Navy sailor who spent more than three-and-ahalf years in a pris­oner of war camp in Ja­pan has launched an ap­peal for help to find the Ja­panese boy who helped him sur­vive the or­deal.

Bar­bara Mot­ter­shaw has spent two weeks in Ja­pan at­tempt­ing to track down the then 15-year-old youth who ap­pears along­side her father, Gaythorne Bartholomew, in a grainy pic­ture that was ap­par­ently taken just days after the war ended in Au­gust 1945.

“When we were grow­ing up, my father never re­ally talked about what he went through dur­ing the war, and it was not un­til we were play­ing a game of cards in 1993 that some of it sud­denly started to come out,” Mot­ter­shaw said.

Bartholomew, from Work­sop in Not­ting­hamshire, had been an able sea­man aged 19 aboard HMS Ex­eter, a heavy cruiser that was sunk by Ja­panese war­ships on March 1, 1942, in the Se­cond Bat­tle of the Java Sea.

Picked up by a Ja­panese de­stroyer, he was held in a pris­oner of war camp in In­done­sia be­fore be­ing trans­ported to a camp close to the city of Na­gasaki, in south­ern Ja­pan.

Bartholomew was later trans­ferred to an­other POW camp, close to the city of Fukuoka, where he was put to work in lo­cal fac­to­ries and build­ing an airstrip for the Ja­panese mil­i­tary.

“He told us that some lo­cal stu­dents had been brought in to work along­side them to get the airstrip fin­ished,” said 69-year-old Mot­ter­shaw, who now lives out­side Perth in West­ern Australia.

“Each day the pris­on­ers were given a bowl of rice. It was pretty dis­gust­ing stuff and never enough, but some­how he be­came friends with this boy,” she said. “The boy of­fered him what was in his own lunch box and from that day on they shared his meal,” she said. “It was a brave thing to do be­cause if he had been caught help­ing the enemy he would have been se­verely pun­ished.”

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