News Column


July 18, 2013


The story of a Japanese prisoner of war who survived more than three years in captivity will be told as part of a city film festival.

Reg Twigg, one of the longestsurviving prisoners of the Japanese during the Second World War, died at a Leicester nursing home in May, aged 99.

His book, Survivor on the River Kwai, which tells the story of his time working on the infamous Burma Railway, was published by Penguin a few days after his death.

Tomorrow, his son, Clive, 62, will read extracts from the book he co-authored with his father, prior to a screening of 1958 film The Bridge on the River Kwai, starring Alec Guinness. It is one of a series of films with Leicester connections being shown as part of a festival organised by De Montfort University's Square Mile project. Residents in the Tudor Road area of Leicester have worked with the project to create the event.

Tomorrow's screening will take place in a barn in the beer garden of the Tudor pub.

Clive, who lives in Cornwall, said: I will give a short talk as a lead in to the showing of the film. I will talk about the contrasts between the film and the reality faced by my father.

It's a good film, but a lot of it does not reflect the kind of hardships people such as my dad went through.

In the film you see men marching to camp wearing uniforms and boots. There was no marching, there were only jungle trails, uniforms rotted and they had nothing to wear on their feet.

One scene shows an American in hospital, looking clean and neat. In truth they stank and were full of dysentery cases and it doesn't really reflect the squalor and death. My dad learned to cope despite having to burn the bodies of cholera victims - often men he had spoken to days before.

Reg was a Leicester lad and most of the names mentioned in the book are Leicester men.

Square Mile project manager Mark Charlton said: It is accepted there are some historical inaccuracies, despite it being a wonderful film. We are delighted that Clive has agreed to speak before the film, it will really set the film in context.

The festival will end on Saturday with four films, including Toy Story and The Dark Knight, in an inflatable cinema in Rally Park.

All the films are free, but residents must register in order to receive tickets. To do so, call 0116 257 7135 or visit:

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