The Forgotten Highlander: My Incredible Story Of Survival During The War In The Far East

The Forgotten Highlander My Incredible Story Of Survival During The War In The Far East Alistair Urquhart was a soldier in the Gordon Highlanders captured by the Japanese in Singapore Forced into manual labor as a POW he survived days in the jungle working as a slave on the notorio

  • Title: The Forgotten Highlander: My Incredible Story Of Survival During The War In The Far East
  • Author: Alistair Urquhart
  • ISBN: 9781408702116
  • Page: 205
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Alistair Urquhart was a soldier in the Gordon Highlanders, captured by the Japanese in Singapore Forced into manual labor as a POW, he survived 750 days in the jungle working as a slave on the notorious Death Railway and building the Bridge on the River Kwai Subsequently, he moved to work on a Japanese hellship, his ship was torpedoed, and nearly everyone on board thAlistair Urquhart was a soldier in the Gordon Highlanders, captured by the Japanese in Singapore Forced into manual labor as a POW, he survived 750 days in the jungle working as a slave on the notorious Death Railway and building the Bridge on the River Kwai Subsequently, he moved to work on a Japanese hellship, his ship was torpedoed, and nearly everyone on board the ship died Not Urquhart After five days adrift on a raft in the South China Sea, he was rescued by a Japanese whaling ship His luck would only get worse as he was taken to Japan and forced to work in a mine near Nagasaki Two months later, he was just ten miles from ground zero when an atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki In late August 1945, he was freed by the American Navy a living skeleton and had his first wash in three and a half years This is the extraordinary story of a young man, conscripted at nineteen, who survived not just one, but three encounters with death, any of which should have probably killed him Silent for over fifty years, this is Urquhart s inspirational tale in his own words It is as moving as any memoir and as exciting as any great war movie.
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      Posted by:Alistair Urquhart
      Published :2019-02-12T15:08:25+00:00

    216 Comment

    • ``Laurie Henderson says:

      Do you think it's possible to survive having malaria, dysentery, beri-beri and tropical infected skin ulcers all at the same time while being worked to death during WW2 in a Japanese prison camp building a railroad in Burma?The Forgotten Highlander, Alistair Urquhart, managed to do just that, surviving to return home to tell of his hellish experiences in this book.In a strange way this book was almost uplifting instead of depressing. Alistair nearly died so many times it's a miracle he survived. [...]

    • Chrissie says:

      On completion: Even before I finished the last chapter I knew I would give this book five stars, but the last chapter concisely and honestly tells how he reacted to civilian life after the war. His struggles were not simply over when he returned to Scotland. I am speaking of the psychological battles that remained to be surmounted. This moved me to tears. He was gone for six years, but even beyond the six years he had terrible memories to conquer. There was euphoria when the Japanese capitualted [...]

    • Bev Walkling says:

      This book tells the story of Alistair Urquhart's wartime experiences as a member of the Gordon Highlander's focusing in particular on his time as a prisoner of war of the Japanese. It is a difficult book to read because of the many horrors which he faced and lived through in his six years as a member of the army. It is also, however, a very clearly written and informative book which includes information on how his life was affected in the long-term because of his captivity. One of the particular [...]

    • Chin Joo says:

      This is the first time I read a first-hand account of a POW involved in the Malayan Campaign. I am greatly affected by it, despite being brought up on a diet of Japanese atrocities in Asia in World War 2. Much is said about the killing, maiming, raping and torture, but a reader is usually left to imagine the magnitude of these atrocities through the statistics; this book describes in graphic details the actual behaviours of the Japanese and their equally brutal Korean subjects and the horrible c [...]

    • Cynthia says:

      Somehow the Second World War is often thought of as a kinder War than Vietnam or Iraq or Afghanistan. Urquhart’s memoir graphically details the horrors of ANY war. As a 20 year old he’s drafted into the British army and spends almost his entire war in the hands of cruel Japanese and Korean soldiers as he’s forced to build a railroad in the Malaysian jungle along with other UK and Australian soldiers. His keepers completely ignored the Geneva Convention and its tenets. It would have been ea [...]

    • Kathy says:

      I was recommended to read this book by Alistair's niece whilst I was promoting my father's account of his time as a POW in Upper Silesia.I have just finished reading this book. Any words I write will not do justice to this book or his suffering. I read the book with horror, sadness and rage.I also feel awful to be thinking that compared to Alistair's experience, my Dad's experience seemed like a walk in the park. Of course, it wasn't, but my Dad appeared to hang on to his dignity, and was not tr [...]

    • Gerry says:

      If you enjoyed this book then you will equally like Laura Hillenbrand's "Unbroken".Mr. Urquhart is a hero to all who have ever served their country in time of war. A brave person who confronted an evil capture and managed to survive the ordeal. He also gains a practical insight as to "why" Great Britain (and to the larger extent the USA) sort of wanted to push these attrocities aside and act almost as if they didn't occur. A book worth every single page in my view.

    • AnaVlădescu says:

      Alistair is a Scot from Aberdeen, drafted with the Gordon Highlanders in the Second World War. Following a deployment to Singapore, he is captured, alongside thousands of other men, by the Japanese army. From then on, six years of horrible treatment ensue. Made to work on the Death Railway between Thailand and Burma, he was beaten and tortured more times than one can count. The diseases he suffered from are painful to just hear of, let alone imagine what he's been through. The reason he wrote th [...]

    • Regina Lindsey says:

      The Forgotten Highlander by Alistair Urquhart5 Stars and a HeartAlistair Urquhart, the Scottish version of America’s Louie Zamperini tells his story in his own hand. It may not be written with same panache as Laura Hillenbrand’s effort, but it is simple, descriptive (sometimes painfully so), and inspiring. Alistair, a native of Aberdeen, Scotland, was drafted into the Gordon Highlands, a unit that until 1994 comprised of young men from the highlands area of Scotland dating back to 1794. Sent [...]

    • Janice says:

      If this were a work of fiction, you'd have a hard time suspending disbelief that the protagonist could survive so much. But this is the true account of Alistair Urquhart's survival of being a Japanese POW in WWII. To say I enjoyed this book makes me uncomfortable, because there is nothing enjoyable about it. But I couldn't stop reading. I was shocked at the atrocities that human beings can be capable of. I was amazed at how seemingly impossible it would be to survive on a cup of rotten rice and [...]

    • That70sheidi says:

      I don't like books about war, but the summary for this man's survival of amazing events was so astounding I had to try it. What could have been a crushing, demoralizing book was read in such a way that while you felt the horror, you never succumbed to the hopelessness of man's inhumanity to man (and boy did that inhumanity to veterans ever continue once the war was over.) There's so much to say about this story and yet so few words. I HIGHLY rec this book, even if you "don't like books about war [...]

    • Susan says:

      I read this book for two reasons. I'd been reading another book about prisons in WWII (Ravensbruck) and I was curious about the background for Richard Flanagan's THE NARROW ROAD TO THE DEEP NORTH which is one of the best novels I've read recently and the main character of which was an Australian Army doctor who was in a prison camp building the railroad in Thailand. I wanted to read a memoir of someone who'd actually been there.This was an excellent memoir, written by a hear 90-year-old who'd no [...]

    • Tony Johnston says:

      I loved this book although I'd be careful in recommending it to everyone.I only say this since I do seem to like stories about nasty things happening to people and some people may just find this story a little too extreme for their own enjoyment.Alistair Urquhart seems like he began life as a fairly ordinary sort of man. His CV at 19 certainly reads that way: brought up in a normal family in Aberdeen with a Mum and Dad, siblings and a first job with a local firm. Pretty sporty, likes dancing wit [...]

    • Emma says:

      I've been really busy this past month & finally found time to finish this. This book first grabbed my attention after I heard bits & pieces of it read on a podcast. This book was pretty intense at times, & I'm still thinking about it hours later. I can be pretty naive when it comes to war & the awful situations people go through during those times. Alastair was captured by the Japanese & spent several years in what I can only describe as Hell. There are times that I wanted to [...]

    • Nigel says:

      How do you tell of the unspeakable (indeed in some senses how do you read the unreadable)? This is a remarkable tale simply told that, at times, is very moving. To survive the Burma railway, being sunk in the Pacific and then taken to a prison camp 10 miles from Nagasaki. I'd say this would be a good read for anyone with an interest in wartime survival stories generally and a must for those interested in the death railway. Personally I'd suggest reading the Railway Man first which I found somewh [...]

    • K.N. says:

      It took me a while to become engaged with this memoir. I've read so many personal POW accounts that it's only when I start spotting the differences that I really get interested. Urquhart's account is probably the loneliest I've read. Where Wade's account in Prisoner of the Japanese was extremely clinical, factual, and emotionally distant, he touched on some of the relationships he had with other prisoners and there was a sense of camaraderie with his fellow prisoners. Urquhart had a few people t [...]

    • Ellen Welch says:

      I was lucky enough to meet the author of this book, when he attended the medical centre I was working at on a cruising holiday around the med. i found this all the more random, since i admit to being a bit of a war geek, and take an interest in the stories these survivors have to tell. now in his 80s, he makes it his mission to continue to speak to schools and other groups about his experiences, a mission that becomes more important as his fellow FEPOWs become fewer and fewer.This guy is a bit o [...]

    • Vandaair says:

      I found the text very provocative, and got me to thinking of man's inhumanity to man. Alistair never gave up, even when pitted against unimaginable odds. His ferocity to hang onto life was inspiring, even as comrades fell around him. He could be considered the "luckiest", unlucky man alive. To survive not only the ineptitude of the British officer class which lead to the Fall of Singapore, the Burma railway, the Japanese "hellships" and the then the atomic blast by "Fat Man" at Nagasaki defies a [...]

    • Michael says:

      The author takes us through his life, his childhood and then from the time he started working in Aberdeen, not long before the start of World War 2, and to his subsequent call-up into the Gordon Highlanders, who had a fine tradition of bravery and success on the battlefield. He was shipped out to Singapore with his regiment and from that point on he experienced life steadily degrading through each major event; the surrender of Singapore to the Japanese and his internment in Changi Prison; forced [...]

    • Michelle says:

      Another one of those books where you wonder how on earth humans can survive all this. This is the story of a Scot drafted into military service in WWII and sent to Singapore. He was captured there, survived a dreadful train ride in steel cattle cars, then a march, then months of terrible treatment while building a railroad in Thailand, suffering dysentery, cholera, beriberi, ulcers and I can't even remember what all else. Finally he was sent to a hospital camp, recovered somewhat, then was sent [...]

    • Lora says:

      My teen son and I loved this book, despite the fact that it's a horrifying true story. I had heard of the Bataan Death March, but didn't realize the extent of the Japanese atrocities. And this one man, Alistair Urquhart, saw more than his share. Alistair was (among other things) involved in building a bridge and railroad over the River Kwai, but the prisoners could bare stay alive, let alone whistle (like they do in the movie). "Death chipped away at your spirits like a jackhammer," and avoiding [...]

    • Kelli says:

      I don't know what possessed me to pick up this book, really. I've never read anything about WWII outside of the occasional story of concentration camp prisoners. However, I am very glad I read this book. Mr. Urquhart's story is astonishing, sad and heroic. Captured by the Japanese and placed in POW camps for several years, Urquhart's struggles and the struggles of his fellow prisoners show the strength of the human urge to survive. It is astounding what humans will do to one another and even mor [...]

    • Carlton Whatley says:

      An incredible story of survival as a POW at the hands of the Japanese army during WW2. That anyone survived the atrocities is amazing. Even more amazing is the predominance during this time of history of world leaders imposing suffering upon the masses of human beings that they've enlisted as slaves to fuel their own war machine. Hitler, Stalin, Hirohito all employed people whose job it was to figure out just how long it takes to starve or otherwise torture other human beings to death and just h [...]

    • lux says:

      People often hail Guy Sajer's "The Forgotten Soldier" as the definitive memoir on the Eastern Front, and considering that I believe that to be true, I can say without a doubt that Urquhart's "The Forgotten Highlander" is the definitive memoir on the Asian theater of the war. While Urquhart could have written a book that would make even the most hopeful of individuals lose all faith, he didn't. While it successfully ripped the heart right out of my chest several times only to stitch it back in (a [...]

    • Collin Wood says:

      Harrowing and moving story of Alistair Urquhart. Urquhart was conscripted into the British army in 1939, at the age of 19, and stationed at Fort Canning in Singapore. He was taken prisoner when the Japanese invaded the island in the Battle of Singapore, which lasted from December 1941 to February 1942. He was sent to work on the Burma Railway, built by the Empire of Japan to support its forces in the Burma campaign and referred to as 'Death Railway' because of the tens of thousands of forced lab [...]

    • Guido says:

      A strangely compelling read, with Urquhart giving vivid descriptions, right from the start. The touchingly homeliness in Aberdeen, the journey to the Far East and Singapore before the Japanese attacked. The conditions that he endured from the moment he was captured by the Japs defy comprehension. What was probably most shocking was not so much the brutality by the Japanese, which is well documented. It was the indifference and insouciance of the British Army establishment, something that I have [...]

    • Penny says:

      I have just finished this book a few minutes ago, and Had to come on here and urge you to read it. It is the Story of Alistair Urquhart's(the author), experiences as a Japanese prisoner of war. He was one of the prisoners that slaved to build the bridge over the river Kwai. How he survived is a miracle only the good lord can tell you why!I cried (not often a book does that to me!) when he came home again to his family! Such a remarkable man, such a horrendous life he was forced to endure. And he [...]

    • Adam Spark says:

      What a read, this book is most certainly not for the ones who get upset very easily.The torture and mental and physical strain his body must have been under could not ever possibly be put into words. I have nothing but sheer admiration of the man and his fellow captives that were with him at the camp. And with Alistair even saying he still has the nightmares to this day more than 60 years on just shows how much that 6 years of war changed his life forever.This book is without doubt a must read.

    • Katrina says:

      This book is very good, though heart wrenching. I was not aware of how poorly POW being held by the Japanese in World War II were treated and I think it is appalling that it wasn't until 2000 that the British government really acknowledged what happened to it's citizens. It is even more appalling that this is not more widely taught in school. It seems that in the atrocities committed by Hitler, the atrocities committed by others have been pushed aside and those traumatized have been seemingly fo [...]

    • Dawn says:

      I enjoyed this book. It was well written and engaging. There is no doubt that Alistair's story of survival is incredible. What I didn't gain from this book (hence the rating) is any insight over what made the difference. When he goes to schools, what does he talk about to the kids? If I compare this to Viktor Frankl's "Man's search for meaning", I got a lot more out of Frankl's book in terms of insight into the mentality of a survivor. I would still recommend this book though. It's a powerful re [...]

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