While there have been many fine and inspiring individual POW accounts, Scattered Under the Rising Sun is unusual in that it describes the horrific ordeal at the hands of the Japanese of the officers and men of 2nd Battalion Gordon Highlanders.
The Battalion was posted to Singapore in 1937 with their families. When the Japanese invaded Malaya in December 1941, the Gordons fought bravely until the surrender of Singapore on 14 February 1942 and those who had not been killed became POWs. After initial incarceration in Singapore the Battalion was dispersed. Many were sent to work on the infamous Thai-Burma railway, others in the mines of Taiwan and Japan and the remainder to other slave labour projects. Many also had to endure long periods in ‘hell-ships’, only to be killed when torpedoed by allied submarines.
All suffered crippling hard labour, starvation, brutality and tropical diseases. Rank was no protection from death. Of the 1,000 men involved initially, only some 600 lived to be liberated in summer 1945.
The author of this moving and superbly researched book captures the strong collective regimental spirit and the humour
and cooperation without which so many more would have otherwise succumbed to the unimaginable conditions and brutality. By any yardstick, this is an inspiring tale of sacrifice, courage and survival against appalling odds.
Including an appendix listing each member of the battalion (as well as a portrait where available) the author, a volunteer researcher at the Gordon Highlanders Museum, examines its fate in the Far East.Britain at War
What Stewart Mitchell's book, about the Gordon Highlanders in the Far East during the Second World War, has achieved is to highlight the true ethos of the old regimental system, its geographic family ties that... [read full review]Scottish Field
The book contains some excellent photos including the last draft of Gordon Highlanders , liberated POWs at Funatsu and repatriated Cpl William Gray with Donald the Thai Duck. The nominal roll of the battalion is... [read full review]Jonathan Moffat - Researching FEPOW History Group
The triumph of the human spirit of the men of the 2nd Battalion Gordon Highlanders in overcoming incredible odds and adversity in the Far East during World War 2 is brought to life in full... [read full review]The Sun (Scottish edition)
The book tells the story of the men and their families, bringing to light many previously untold accounts of courageous spirit, humour and compassion.Deeside Piper
Stewart Mitchell is to be commended for writing this memorial and celebration of their sheer fortitude in condidtions we cannot now imagine. Many will read this book with sorrow, even tear: but it should be... [read full review]The Scots Magazine
An extraordinary 'band of brothers' are celebrated in a new book commemorating the 70th anniversary of one of the darkest chapters in the history of the Gordon Highlanders.Press and Journal (Aberdeen)
The human side of a story so horrific that few survivors ever spoke of it again is set to be told in a new book. Stewart Mitchell, a volunteer at the Gordon Highlanders Museum ... [read full review]Aberdeen Evening Express
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About Stewart Mitchell
Stewart Mitchell became Volunteer Researcher at the Gordons Museum, Aberdeen in 2005 after a career in environmental protection. He lives with his wife at Bridge of Down, Aberdeen.