VJ Day 75th Anniversary: Harold Knowles ate insects to stay alive in Japanese prisoner camp

Harold Knowles was a POW in Japan.

Harold Knowles was a POW in Japan. - Credit: Archant

Harold Knowles served in the Royal Corps of Signals and by 1942 he was a sgt in the 44th Indian Infantry Brigade.

This was when he was sent with his brigade to reinforce Singapore. The brigade were forced to surrender to the Japanese Imperial Army and Harold and his garrison were taken prisoner.

He became one of 60,000 allied prisoners who were used by the Japanese to build the 258-mile-long Burma railway, also known as the death valley railway.

Construction of the railway continued until October 1943.

Conditions were appalling and 106,000 men died during the construction.

Harold developed Cholera at the camp and was sometimes so hungry he would eat insects.

Harold wrote an account of his time as a POW, which is on display at the Imperial War Museum.

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His daughter-in-law Jenny Longhurst sent this photo of him receiving a medal after the war.