Hiroshi Abe (right) with
former FEPOW, Ron Upton
Hiroshi Abe - former lieutenant of a Railway Regiment

During the Pacific War I was a 23-year-old officer in one of the railway regiments. At that time 7,000 British and Australian POWs, the "F" Force, were sent from Singapore to the mountainous region near the border where I was stationed, to build the Thai-Burma railway. Tropical rainstorms, poor diet and lack of medicine led to widespread cholera, malaria, dysentry, typhoid and malignant ulcers. The railway was completed but tragically 3,200 men did not return to Singapore. I cannot deny the fact that I am partly responsible for the deaths of many POWs and I apologise sincerely for what we did during the war. During the hard years of the war I learnt "Amapola" after hearing a British soldier sing it, and I am very happy that through the efforts of Agape, I can now meet FEPOWs every year and sing this song together with them.