Les Cooper lays a wreath on behalf of the 8th Division at the remembrance ceremony at Kranji War Memorial Cemetery in Singapore. Les is assisted by his daughter, Gloria Mogridge, and Simon Brown.
Les Cooper lays a wreath on behalf of the 8th Division at the remembrance ceremony at Kranji War Memorial Cemetery in Singapore. Les is assisted by his daughter, Gloria Mogridge, and Simon Brown. Contributed

Former POW attends anniversary

WARWICK man Les Cooper has returned from his trip to Singapore, where he attended a service for the 70th anniversary of the Fall of Singapore.

Mr Cooper, a 93-year-old former prisoner of war, joined 11 other veterans at the memorial service at Kranji War Memorial Cemetery on February 15, accompanied by his daughter, Gloria, and son-in-law, Ken Mogridge.

Mr Cooper was taken prisoner on February 15, 1942.

Speaking to the Daily News last month before his trip, Mr Cooper was adamant he was no hero.

"I don't forget what happened and I don't condone it," he said.

"I just try not to dwell on it."

Mr Cooper spent three and a half years as a prisoner of war and has previously returned to Singapore several times.

"It's a different place now, I'll be lucky if I recognise anything," Mr Cooper said before the trip.

At 21, Mr Cooper enlisted in the army and on February 4, 1941, he boarded the Queen Mary to sail for Singapore.

"In August 1945, when they dropped the bomb on Hiroshima, that's when they reckoned the war was over in the camp," he said.


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