A 90-YEAR-OLD former prisoner of war has published an account of his time in captivity to help others understand the stresses suffered by ex-servicemen.

Bill Troughton’s account of his time spent imprisoned by the Japanese in a Rangoon prison was undertaken at the suggestion of his doctor, who thought the process would prove therapeutic.

The book, entitled Surviving The Red Chapatti, is an account of how the prisoners kept their spirits up to survive their time in captivity.

“I was in York when I was called up to the Army and I did my training in the city” said Mr Troughton.

“Then I was sent to India and to Burma. The Japanese were there in their thousands and we were overrun in no time.”

Mr Troughton spent the next three years in an overcrowded Rangoon prison until his release at the end of the war.

“There was 250 prisoners in our block – Chinese, American and Indian,” he said. It was pretty rough.

“You got to eat boiled rice with practically nothing else. You had to pick out the glass and bits of muck.

“It was overcrowded too. I think the rooms we were in were made for 20 prisoners, but they shoved upwards of 30 in each room. There was a terrible lot of illness – dysentery and scurvy.”

After getting in touch with the charity Combat Stress, an organisation for servicemen suffering from service-related psychiatric conditions, Mr Troughton was persuaded to write the book by a doctor he had been referred to.

“I wanted to get the book written and distributed so that people could know a lot more,” he said. “I wanted to show how we got through it.

“We still had a sense of humour and it was that which kept us going through the hardship.”

Now a resident of Silsden, in West Yorkshire, Mr Troughton originally lived in North Eastern Crescent, in York, before it was demolished to make way for the National Railway Museum.

It was from there he was called up for service in September 1939.

Surviving The Red Chapatti is priced at £5 and can be obtained by phoning Combat Stress, on 01372 841616.