Former prisoner of war Les Cooper.
Former prisoner of war Les Cooper. Contributed

Prisoner of war in Singapore

WARWICK man Les Cooper joined 11 other survivors in Singapore yesterday for an emotional service to remember the fall of Singapore 70 years ago.

The 93-year-old former prisoner of war is one of just 520 - out of 18,000 - veterans who were 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.

"I just try not to dwell on it."

The 12 Australians gathered at the Kranji War Memorial yesterday.

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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