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  • Claire Jordan

Pony Moore's Photograph

When things are bad, I try to hang on to the story of Sgt Stanley ‘Pony’ Moore, Gloucestershire Regiment.

In early February 1942, as Singapore burned around him and the Japanese swept in, he was there, doughtily standing his ground.

One night, he shawshanked his way back from a patrol, still somehow clasping his Thompson submachine gun, with three bullets in his chest and a piece of shrapnel which had made a hole in his torso 9 inches by 4.

They put him in a corner, gave him a cup of tea with brandy in it and then enough morphine to let him go in peace.

Some time later, they were about to hastily bury him, when he suddenly gave some signs of life, enough to be taken instead to the city’s Alexandra Hospital.

Just in time for the hideous massacre there, during which Japanese soldiers rampaged through its wards and corridors, bayonetting patients in their beds, on the operating tables, shooting nurses and doctors, looting everything shiny.

By this time delirious, Pony had no idea how he survived the hospital massacre.

All he afterward remembered was pulling a photograph out of his shredded tunic as the screaming got closer to his bed and then, finding that one of the bullets had obliterated the face of his wife, bursting into tears.

Against every reasonable expectation, Sgt Moore lived through that most awful moment, was taken POW but survived the War and made it home to his wife.

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