A night not to be forgotten

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THE HUGE demand for tickets for last week’s ‘Evening with the Forgotten Highlander’ has resulted in the possibility of a second event.

Over 100 people crowded into the lounge at Gayfield last Wednesday to listen to the stories of Second World War veteran, Broughty Ferry man Alistair Urquhart.

Demand outstripped tickets and Mr Urquhart has kindly agreed to arrange a second evening with organisers Arbroath Round Table.

Mr Urquhart gave a harrowing and graphic account of his three and half years as a Japanese prisoner of war.

He was part of the forced labour used on the Burma Railway, also known as the Death Railway due to the high mortality rate among workers.

Mr Urquhart’s tenacity saw him endure the brutality of his captors, build and also help sabotage the Bridge over the River Kwai and survive the atomic bombing of Nagasaki.

Organiser and Arbroath Round Tabler Jamie Buchan said: “Alistair’s story was incredible.

“The adversity he faced in his time as a POW would be enough to make any man crumble and think twice about carrying on.

“To his credit, despite suffering what he politely called ‘Delhi Belly’ and malnutrition living only on a cup of rice per week, he had the wherewithal to sabotage the original Bridge over the River Kwai, swim out of the hold of a torpedoed ‘hell ship’ and hear those not strong enough to swim free singing hymns.

“He felt the heat of the atomic bomb blast at Nagasaki and the cancer he suffered was attributed to the nuclear fallout and radiation.

“The audience was spellbound by the Forgotten Highlander’s story.

“We will never truly know the brutality of a war fought in his time.”

Arbroath Round Table extended thanks to hosts, John Christison and Arbroath Football Club for the use of the facilities, Tracy Gibson who treated the crowd to a few fitting songs and Ian Wren who catered the event.

Jamie added: “Our greatest of thanks go of course, to Alistair Urquhart who took the time to tell his story first hand and the people who came from far and wide to hear him. A donation of £100 was made in Alistair’s name to the Gordon Highlanders Museum by the Arbroath Tablers.”

A date is still to be set for the proposed second evening with Alistair Urquhart, interested parties should contact Jamie Buchan on 07786036470.