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Penang Flood Brings Back Bitter Memories For War Veteran

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GEORGE TOWN - The images of people carrying the elderly and sick through the waters during Penang’s flood brought tears to war veteran James Jeremiah.

The only surviving World War II veteran of Penang’s Eurasian “E” company, Jeremiah, 94, reminisced about how he and his comrades had to carry the dead and injured during the Japanese bombing campaign.

“It was more horrifying than the flood as there were many who had their limbs blown off during the relentless bombing.

“Fear of death could be the biggest motivation to stay alive as I could hear the pain and cries of prisoners when they were tortured,” said Jeremiah when met after the 16th Annual Remembrance Day ceremony at the Esplanade’s Cenotaph yesterday.

“My brother was sent to the Death Railway (a 415km railway between Thailand and Burma – now Myan­mar – built by the Japanese in 1943 to support its forces in the Burma campaign), but he survived.”

Penang Veterans Association president Major (Rtd) Sivarajan KM Ramanathan said the first Remembrance Day was held at the Cenotaph in 1919.

“We have made history for remembering our fallen heroes for the 99th year.”

More than 200 people attended the ceremony where Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng laid the wreath on behalf of the state government and people of Penang.

The act was followed by Defence Adviser to British High Commission Col Stephen Hall on behalf of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland followed by representatives from other countries.

-THE STAR