Hebburn hero featured in new Japanese prisoner of war book

Harry Brant settled in Hebburn after the Second World War.
Harry Brant settled in Hebburn after the Second World War.

A war hero who suffered the horrors of Japanese prisoner of war camps before settling in Hebburn is set to feature in a new book.

Harry Brant, who was born in Walsall, in the West Midlands, moved to Hebburn in 1946 after meeting future wife Doris, who was from the town.

Harry Brant settled in Hebburn after the Second World War.

Harry Brant settled in Hebburn after the Second World War.

Brant was one of three Walsall men who were among 1,150 prisoners of war captured by the Japanese during the Second World War.

Their story will be told in a 172-page book titled Three Heroes of Kinkaseki, which has been written by Philip and Patricia Andrews and will be published on August 15, the 70th anniversary of VJ (Victory over Japan) day.

Brant, along with George Horton and Joseph Walker, is featured in the book, which tells the story of their capture at the fall of Singapore in 1942 and their shipment to Formosa (now Taiwan), where they were held until 1945.

Brant met Doris Robinson in 1945 at Catterick, and they married a year later, moving to Hebburn in the process.

It was only because he was a fit and strong young man that he got through it

Philip Andrews, author

Mr Andrews said: “Harry was a soldier just before the war, and served through it.

“He was a prisoner-of-war for three-and-a-half years in that dreadful camp in Taiwan, and was sent in February 1945 to Japan to be a prisoner of war at Omine, where he worked down a coal mine. The conditions they lived in were absolutely dreadful. They were ill-treated by the guards, and the conditions were unbelievably bad.

“They had to walk for miles to get down to the mine every day, and it was extremely hot.

“It was only because he was a fit and strong young man that he came through it all.”

Harry Brant features in the new book Three Heroes of Kinkaseki.

Harry Brant features in the new book Three Heroes of Kinkaseki.

Mr Brant died in 2008, aged 91, but in the years before his death, he went back to Taiwan five times to visit the camps, and also visited Japan and his former camp at Omine.

On his return following the war, he became a coal miner and worked at Boldon Colliery, before going on to work in the licensing trade.

The book in which he is featured is available for £10, plus £3 postage and packaging. It can be bought by sending a letter to Philip Andrews, 7 Lovell Court, Parkway, Holmes Chapel, Cheshire, CW4 7FW or by emailing hclovell67@yahoo.co.uk

Harry Brant settled in Hebburn after the Second World War.

Harry Brant settled in Hebburn after the Second World War.