Details have emerged of the discovery of a Japanese WW II veteran in a small wooded copse just outside the small town of Dorking in Surrey.
It appears the man, now aged 97, has been waging a solitary war against The Allies for the past 70 years in the mistaken belief that he was still in the jungles of Burma surrounded by The Chindits, completely unaware that Emperor Hirohito had surrendered to the Americans in The Potsdam Agreement of 1945.
In 1944, Toshiro Shigamitsu, a corporal in the Imperial Japanese Army, was sent on a solitary forward reconnaissance mission to locate the position of British troops. Having discovered a small patrol of Royal Engineers setting up camp by a river ,the slightly built soldier had then crawled into the rucksack of an English Lance Bombardier, intending to lie concealed until first light before launching a sneak attack on the unsuspecting Tommies.
In an ironic twist of fate, the British soldier in question went home on leave to Dorking the following morning and unwittingly took the diminutive Japanese with him, along with his belt kit and smoking paraphernalia.
It would appear that on arrival in the sleepy stockbroker belt village, the unsuspecting Oriental crawled out of the rucksack and entered a nearby copse to lay up until further orders came from his commanding officer. He then remained secreted there for the next 70 years, ready to fight and die for The Emperor.
He apparently lived on a diet consisting entirely of berries and small Grayling that he’d caught from the nearby River Mole, using a shoelace with a rudimentary hook attached. He’d then baited the hook with bits of cheese and other morsels that he’d found in the discarded sandwiches of local picnickers and hikers.
Through an interpreter, Corporal Shigamitsu spoke to reporters last night
“As far as I was concerned the war was still on and I was determined to do my bit for The Emperor and my beloved homeland. I must admit I was a bit concerned when I didn’t hear from my unit for over 2 years, but I put it down to the fact they were probably lying low and keeping radio silence whilst luring the British into a cunning trap. “I also noticed the weather had changed considerably, and that the piercing cries of Howler Monkeys and the sound of exotic bird-call had tailed off a bit. But I was determined to stick it out. I fashioned a sturdy shelter and an ad hoc machine gun nest from bits of twigs and old shopping trolleys I found partially submerged in the river and waited for any sign of the enemy.
“As the years passed my resolve strengthened. I felt sure that my comrades would send word at any moment that victory was ours, and that the British dogs had been cleansed from The Far East forever. However, I must confess that I sometimes yearned to be able to abandon my post and go back to my former life as a bell boy in a small hotel.
“Now that I’ve done my duty to the best of my ability, all I want to do is return home to my wife in Hiroshima. I last spoke to her in early August 1945, via a forces telephone, but our conversation was brief and ended suddenly after she said “Hang on a moment dear, there seems to be a bit of a kerfuffle outside”
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