Old Family Photos Help Heroes Stay Alive in Our Hearts, Minds and Memories
Old family photos help heroes stay alive in hearts, minds and memories.
My grandfather, His Honour John Rutter (2nd from right) arriving back at Cardiff Central Station in late 1945 after imprisonment in Japanese POW camps in the Far East.
At the age of 19, my Grandfather’s university studies were interrupted by the outbreak of World War II, and he joined the 77th Regiment Royal Artillery, serving as a Second Lieutenant.
Posted to the Far East in 1942, his regiment diverted to Java after the fall of Singapore, where he was captured. First in Java and then in Changi, my grandfather was held as a prisoner of war for three and a half years.
Although happy to talk about it, he only ever referred to his imprisonment a positive way, as if his way of dealing with it was to block out negative memories.
I cannot comprehend how it must have felt to hear the news that the war was over; they had been told by the Japanese guards shortly beforehand that they had to choose how they wanted to die: by firing squad or jumping off a cliff on to rocks below.
On his 26th birthday, he boarded the ship that took him home.
After the war, my Grandfather completed his law studies, reaching the position of Wales’ most senior lawyer by the end of his career.
On Fridays he would deal with the week’s guilty pleas and, after one of his rare absences, he received a letter from inmates at Cardiff Prison. It read: “Get well soon. Fridays are not the same without you.” The way he treated those he sentenced and those on remand was informed by his own time spent in captivity. He was keen to ensure that nobody spent a moment longer in prison that was absolutely necessary. ~shared by @missemma1006