If not for the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki in 1945, Gordon Highlander Alistair Urquhart wouldn’t have lived to 97.
Urquhart died recently from natural causes and not from the effects of the bomb that blew him off his feet August 9, 1945. Ironically, the bomb also saved his life.
The Japanese Army had issued an order to massacre all prisoners of war on August 12 if Americans invaded Japan, he explained.
He was in a labor camp just ten miles from Nagasaki when the bomb exploded. He recalled hearing and seeing the plane as it flew over followed by the blast.
Given what he had been through up to that point he was fortunate to be alive. He was a survivor of the infamous Burma-Siam railway – allied soldiers were forced to build by the Japanese after the fall of Singapore in 1942, where he arrived just a few weeks before serving with the Gordon Highlanders Second Battalion.
Approximately 13,000 POWS died building the railway, BBC News reported.
When the construction ended, prisoners were returned to Singapore to be transferred by ship to Japan. His ship was torpedoed by an American submarine.
He spent five days on the ocean in a raft, until a whaler rescued him.
Mr. Urquhart’s son, Philip said he looked after himself until he moved into a care home in February. It cannot be said his life hadn’t been full.