This is a an escape story. It is the story of escape from a Japanese Prisoner of War camp in Singapore to India across coastal waters and Malayan and Burmese jungles.
Capt Mark Pillai was a Bombay Sapper officer in Malaya when Singapore fell and the Allies surrendered. This is the story of his escape from the Changi POW camp in 1942. He was 31 years old at the time and he was accompanied by an Indian medical officer and an Indian civilian acquaintance.
It is an inspirational story of escape. Escape stories frequently tend to chronologically list events without adequately conveying the fears and apprehension or the anxiety and the hardships that soldiers endure, nor the will and inspiration they galvanise in doing so.
This is a compelling story, simply told, which brings to life the meaning of escape from captivity in enemy territory in an age long gone.
It is a story of understated bravery and gallantry, where three Indians made a daily tryst with destiny over a protracted period of time, attempting as it were to do their duty as they saw it, in an effort to live to fight another day when both the big picture and the tactical situation seemed hopeless.
It is a story of hope which reveals the stubborn spirit of humanity and courage that epitomizes good soldiers anywhere when they turn adversity into opportunity and inspire others to do the same.
Mark Pillai was awarded the Military Cross by Field Marshal Archibald Wavell for his gallantry.
Author: Brig MM Pillai, MC