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October 03 , 2007

The Story Of Billy Young


Billy Young was a boy of 15 when he joined the AIF in 1941. He was an orphan hungry, broke, with nowhere to sleep and the army offered him a feed, a blanket and five shillings a day in his pocket. The trouble was, the army sent him off to Malaya where he became a POW when Singapore fell to the Japanese. From Changi, 'Billy the Kid' went on to spend the rest of his teenage years in some of the most barbaric Japanese prisons: the notorious labour camp at Sandakan (from which he escaped), and solitary confinement in the horrific Outram Road prison. Billy survived by a combination of luck, larrikin humour and native cunning, learned as a market boy growing up in Sydney during the Depression. He has lasted into old age by virtue of his extraordinary spirit. In this powerful account of one of the youngest-ever prisoners of war, award-winning author Anthony Hill takes us into the hearts and minds of the POWs, who refused to ever wholly submit to their captors.

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