contrary to the film

The building of the bridge on the River Kwai took a terrible toll on us, and the depiction of our sufferings in the film of the same name was a very sanitized version of events.

Alistair Urquhart. For 60 years, he has remained silent:

Sergeant Seiichi Okada, known to us Brits simply as Dr Death. Short and squat, he took the roll-calls and carried out all of the camp commandant’s orders.

Ruthless in the extreme, he loved tormenting us. He especially reveled in a sickening brand of water torture.

He had guards pin down his hapless victim before pouring gallons of water down the prisoner’s throat using a bucket and hose. The man’s stomach would swell up from the huge volumes of water.

Okada would then gleefully jump up and down on him. Sometimes guards tied barbed wire around the poor soul’s stomach. Most died; only a few survived.