Fred Seiker, one of the last surviving WWII PoWs by the Japanese, died aged 101
Fred Seiker was imprisoned in Thailand for three years and forced to help build the death railway to Burma – including the infamous bridge over the River Kwai.
The brutal project claimed the lives of 100,000 Asian labourers and 16,000 Allied servicemen – but Mr Seiker survived to tell the tale.
He wrote a book, called 'Lest We Forget', about being a prisoner of war (PoW) which received worldwide critical acclaim.
Words cannot describe the horror of the dying – and the living
The work even received backing from Chinese ambassador Liu Xiaoming and was published in Mandarin.
Mr Seiker died peacefully at his home in Worcester on June 1.
His wife of 45 years, Elizabeth, said tributes had been coming in from across the world.
She said: "People from Japan, Thailand, Holland, France and China have emailed messages after hearing the news.
Mr Seiker was imprisoned in Thailand and wrote a book about the horrors lived
"He will be well known in the county, through the book, and he also gave a lecture to Kings School pupils, and to organisations, about what happened.
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"We are very proud of him."
Mr Seiker was born in Rotterdam in 1915, and followed his father, Frederick, into engineering, and was serving in the Dutch Merchant Navy when the war broke out.
He was on the Indonesian island of Java when the Japanese invaded in 1942 and taken prisoner along with 18,000 other Dutchmen.
He was forced to spend the next year building the railway. Describing the conditions PoWs endured, Mr Seiker wrote in his book it was "hell on wheels."
In one terrifying passage of his book, he remembers how Japanese guards left the men to die when cholera broke out in camp.
Those who were not afflicted were forced to burn the remains of their fallen comrades.
He wrote: "Death becomes acceptable as a routine. Words cannot describe the horror of the dying – and the living."
His ordeal eventually ended when their guards had left a few days after American airmen dropped the first of the two atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagaski.
Recalling the moment he escaped in an interview before his death, he said: "I just stood there, tears running down my face, being free again."
The Dutch government recognised Mr Seiker's contribution as a war hero
The Dutch government recognised his contribution as a war hero, when he was later awarded a medal of service.
In January 2014, Mr Seiker made headlines around the world when he wrote to the Chinese ambassador saying Japan's refusal to acknowledge its aggressive past posed a serious threat to world peace.
A week later, the embassy's press attaché was dispatched to Worcester.
Not only did he bring a lengthy response from the ambassador, but he wanted permission to publish the correspondence in the Chinese media.
By the end of the fortnight, Mr Seiker had been interviewed by two Chinese newspapers and a film crew was preparing a documentary about his experiences.
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Speaking on his 100th birthday in 2015, he said: "Reaching 100 years is not a very important thing these days but in my particular case it is a miracle that I'm here.
"As a prisoner of war I never would have imagined I'd reach my 100th birthday.
"I have had a lot of ups and downs in my life."
In accordance to his wishes, no funeral will be held for Mr Seiker and instead his body will be donated to medical research.