A proud war veteran believed to be the final survivor of the dreaded ‘Death Railway’ in Burma marked his 103rd birthday wearing his medals.
Jack Jennings was one of 61,000 Allied prisoners of war forced to build the 258-mile line in Burma by the Japanese military during the Second World War.
Around one in five of the Allied labourers died between 1942 and 1945 while working on the track, which joined Thailand and Myanmar, then known as Burma.
Jack, who is believed to be the last survivor of the so-called Death Railway, marked his 103rd birthday on Thursday (Mar 10).
Wearing his military jacket, Jack was joined by around 50 friends and family as well as members of the Royal British Legion and local schoolchildren.
The birthday party, held at his favourite cafe in Paignton, Devon, included afternoon tea and a rendition of Happy Birthday.
Jack, from Torquay, said: “I was surprised to see so many people here.
“If they are here and enjoying it, that’s the thing in life isn’t it?”
Jack wore a jack with his military medals and a baseball cap embroidered with ‘Falkland Islands’ next to a British flag.
He has written a 160-page book on the horrific working conditions on the Death Railway, including how his friends died of malnutrition and neglect.
Some 12,000 Allied prisoners of war died while working on the Death Railway and their experience featured in the Oscar-winning film The Bridge on the River Kwai.
An estimated 250,000 labourers from Asia were also forced to work on the bridge, of which 90,000 are believed to have died.