Mr Barton – Soldier and Fireman – 1912 – 2008

Maurice was born in 1912 and died at the age of 96 having spent nearly all of his life living in the town.  When Maurice left school he wanted to be a bricklayer but was unable to find work and spent his early life as a gardener.  He spent nearly three years as a prisoner of war in Changi Jail in Singapore and on his return to Thame joined the family decorating firm.  He became a voluntary fireman and attended many fires in and around the town.

These recordings were made on the 16th May and the 25th July 2007 when Maurice was 95 years old.

Local Characters – ‘Posh Price’ has a tame rate which he uses to trick unsuspecting ladies in North Street into giving him money; Pincher Wells’s dog takes meat from outside a local shop.

Shooting down the enemy plane over Thame – Maurice is involved in shooting down a stricken German plane, returning from bombing Liverpool and on its way back to Germany.

Pearl Harbour, Java and adventures in the Far East – Maurice is at sea when the Japanese attack Pearl Harbour, and ends up on Java.  After three months he is eventually captured by the Japanese.

A Prisoner of War in Singapore – from Java, Maurice is taken to Singapore.  After taking advice from an army medical officer not to work on the Burma Railway, Maurice is taken to Changi Jail where he remains a prisoner for nearly three years.

Rescue at last – Maurice is there when Lord Louis Mountbatten enters the Changi Jail to receive the formal surrender of the Japanese forces in this region at the end of the Second World War.

Fire in the post office in Long Crendon – Maurice was a voluntary fireman and describes a fire at the old post office at Long Crendon, near Thame.

Return to Local Memories Page