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Obituary: Roy Housden – former POW worked on infamous Death Railway in Burma

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THE funeral has been held of Roy Housden, a 101-year-old who spent three years held captive by the Japanese in the Second World War and credited his positivity to living such a long life.

Roy had been living at The Birches nursing home in Totton. He was remembered as a “strong character” who loved animals.

He was born in Essex on 7th March 1920 and had one sister. Aged 20 he joined the Army and he was assigned to the 5th Battalion Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment as a driver mechanic of a Bren gun carrier.

Roy Housden at 100
Roy Housden at 100

During the Second World War while posted in Singapore, he was captured by and held by the Japanese for more than three years.

He was put to work on the infamous Death Railway in Burma, the story of which was later told in the 1957 film, Bridge On The River Kwai.

After eventually leaving the Army, Roy headed the accounts team of Allied Iron Foundry in Hertfordshire and became general manager.

There he met his future wife, Cynthia, to whom he was married for 69 years.

They moved to Dibden in 2014 along with their daughter Christine, her husband Ian and grandchildren Carlton and Pippa.

He used to enjoy taking his touring caravan to many south coast locations with Cynthia, who died three years ago.

He was a big lover of animals, especially dogs and horses.

When interviewed by the A&T for his 100th birthday, he put his longevity down to “always keeping positive”.

Roy in his uniform
Roy in his uniform

Paying tribute, Christine said: “He was such a strong character.

“We will all remember the stories he told us of his life but he did not mention the time he was a Japanese prisoner of war very much.

“He bought, repaired and sold cars before joining the army.

“We still laugh about the time that he gave a lift to a friend and because the car was being restored it did not have front doors on.

“Unfortunately his friend fell out as they went round a roundabout but was luckily not injured!

“He will be sadly missed. He was a wonderful son, husband, father and grandad.”

Last year Roy suffered a fall at home, breaking his hip.

Following an operation he contracted Covid-19 but recovered and moved to the care home, where his family said he received excellent care.

His funeral was at Test Valley Crematorium on Wednesday.

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