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Man tells story of soldier who saved dad’s life

Wythall man pens memoir about how his father’s life was saved as a prisoner of war.

Andrew Young, Dr Tony Pollard and Allan Pratt.
Andrew Young, Dr Tony Pollard and Allan Pratt.

A Wythall man has helped put together a memoir about how his father’s life was saved as a prisoner of war.

Before his death, war veteran Stuart Young started to compile the story of how fellow prisoner of war Allan Pratt bought food by selling his gold signet ring to keep Mr Young alive.

The pair survived the notorious prisoner of war camp in Thailand and Life on the Death Railway: Memoirs of a British POW, which was published by Pen & Sword Military in August, tells the true-life story of the servicemen who were used as slave labour by the Japanese forces.

The book has been dedicated to Mr Pratt, now 94. He sold the ring, which was a present for his 21st birthday, to buy the vital supplies. Mr Young’s son, Andrew, from Wythall, helped with the publishing process after his mother’s death in February 2013.

He said: “After my father passed away, it became my mother’s dearest wish to get his story published. My family are immensely pleased that fate managed to put the book into the view of Dr Tony Pollard and with his help we knew her wish would finally come to fruition.

“I’m thrilled the book has been dedicated to Allan, without whose kind comradeship in looking out for each other during a time of grave danger, none of this would have been possible.”

Mr Pratt, married to Margaret, 91, for 65 years and a father-of-two and grandfather of five hails from Sunderland. He went on to work at Sunderland Marine Mutual Insurance Company Ltd (SMMI) and was among thousands of POWs forced by the Japanese to construct the Thailand-Burma line during Second World War.

The veteran added: “Many soldiers kept a diary during their time in captivity to maintain some aspect of self-discipline and structure but never did it cross our minds that they would be published for the world to read.

“Although it brings back a lot of memories, I’m pleased to see Stuart has been able to remind people of the difficulties we endured during our time as prisoners of war.”

The book can be purchased for £19.99 at



Cathrina Hulse
Multimedia Journalist
Annette Belcher
Multimedia Journalist
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