Billy : My Life as a Teenage POW
Billys Story: My Life as a Teenage POW has been compiled from a personal chronicle penned by Billy Young throughout the 1970s, supplemented by hundreds of conversations that Lynette and Billy have shared in the course of their close friendship spanning more than two decades. It is the only first-hand published account by an ordinary soldier imprisoned by the Japanese at the infamous Sandakan POW Camp, and one of only three books by a survivor at the Kempeitais equally notorious Outram Road Gaol. Billy is now the only soldier left alive from Sandakan, and the only Australian prisoner still alive from Outram Road. Lynette Silver provides historical details gleaned from years of combing archival documents, and Billy gives his unique narrative immerse vibrancy and life as he takes the reader on a very personal journey. Through the eyes of a tearaway teenaged soldier, Billy shares his thoughts and experiences, some of which have never before been revealed secrets that he has kept even from his closest family.
Keith William (Billy) Young was born in Hobart, Tasmania, in 1925. After joining the army in 1941 at the age of 15, he was sent to Malaya, only to become a prisoner of war when Singapore fell to the Japanese in February 1942. One of the youngest Australians to be taken prisoner in WW2, Billy spent the remainder of his teenaged years at the notorious Sandakan Camp in Borneo, and the even more notorious Outram Road Gaol in Singapore, where he was imprisoned after an escape attempt. He was 19 when he was released from captivity. Now aged 90, Billy is the only soldier still alive who spent time in the Sandakan Camp, and the only surviving inmate of Outram Road Gaol. For many years Billy worked tirelessly to keep alive the story of Sandakan and the subsequent death marches, which took the lives of all but six of Sandakan's 2,500 POWs and, in 2004, was awarded an OAM in the Australia Day Honours for his efforts. Billy lives in quiet retirement in Sydney, where he spends his spare time indulging in his favourite hobby - painting. Some of the artwork depicting his wartime experiences has been used to illustrate Billy: My Life as a Teenage POW. Lynette Silver is a military historian, the author of a number of books on Australian history, including The Battle of Vinegar Hill, Fabulous Furphies, The Heroes of Rimau, Krait - the Fishing Boat that went to War, Sandakan - A Conspiracy of Silence, The Bridge at Parit Sulong, Blood Brothers, Deadly Secrets- The Singapore Raids 1942-45 and most recently a novel In The Mouth of the Tiger. Apart from being reported in various radio and TV news items, Lynettes research work has been featured in scores of newspaper articles and journals, and she has been interviewed for the electronic media many times. She has also played a pivotal role as consultant on history programs and appeared on numerous current affairs programs and in TV documentaries.
Authors note; Prologue; 1. In the beginning: 19251941. 2. Fending for myself: 1934 July 1941. 3. Youll be sorry: July November 1941. 4. War games: 8 December 1941 13 February 1942. 5. Reluctant guests of the Emperor: 13 February 7 July 1942. 6. To Sandakan: 7 July November 1942. 7. Camp life: September 1942 February 1943. 8. On borrowed time: 19 February early April 1943. 9. Out of the frying pan : mid-April 23 August 1943. 10. and into the fire: 23 August 1943 early 1944. 11.Riding a receding tide: Early 1944 early 1945. 12. Out of the shadows: early 1945 19 August 1945. Epilogue: Afterwards; The Australian dead of Sandakan