A WORLD War II veteran from Wirral has died.
Arthur Coxhead, from Wallasey, passed away last week in a nursing home following a short illness.
The 98-year-old had survived years in a Japanese prisoner of war camp and worked on the infamous Burma Railway.
When war broke out, Arthur joined the Royal Artillery and was posted to Singapore, which fell to a Japanese advance in 1942.
Arthur, of Winton Close, was looking forward to his 100th birthday and a telegram from the Queen.
His neighbour of 30 years, Robin Bird, paid tribute.
Robin said: “Arthur was a lovely man and never complained. Especially when you think of the horrors he went through.
“He survived the horrors of a Japanese concentration camp in World War II to live to a long age.
“Not many people live to 98 after surviving years in a Japanese prisoner of war camp.
“After the outbreak of war, Arthur joined the Royal Artillery and was posted to Singapore, which fell to a whirlwind Japanese advance in 1942.
“The Allies lost almost 9,000 dead and 130,000 as prisoners of war in the Malayan campaign.
“Prisoners were treated with appalling cruelty and inhumanity by their Japanese captors. Arthur said in later life he was one of ‘Churchill’s Presentos’, as the Japanese called them.
“From February, 1942, until August, 1945, Arthur was forced to work on the Burma Railway – or Death Railway as it became known – that claimed 6,318 British lives. Following the defeat of Japan, Arthur was freed.
“He joined the shiploads of British nationals including women and children, being repatriated from Japan.
“The ship brought him home to Liverpool, and he went on to enjoy 50 happy years of marriage to Agnes and their two children. Agnes passed away 10 years ago.
“After the war, he was a manager in the printing industry, and invented a cutting machine that he had thought about in the prisoner of war camps. He remained active in retirement, and was still driving his yellow VW Beetle at 90.
“The fact that Arthur was looking forward to being 100 and receiving a telegram from the Queen reflected his stamina.”
Arthur is survived by this two children.
His funeral will take place on Monday, December 9, at Wallasey Rake Lane Cemetery, at 11am.