Suffolk

Funeral for ex-PoW Harold Lock who lied to enlist in Navy at 14

Harold Lock Image copyright Harold Lock
Image caption Harold "Hummie" Lock spent his late teenage years held by the Japanese as a prisoner of war

The funeral has taken place of a decorated war veteran who lied about his age so he could join the Royal Navy at 14.

Harold "Hummie" Lock, 93, was the last known survivor of the sinking of HMS Jupiter in February 1942 in the Battle of Java Sea.

He was captured as a teenager by the Japanese - and imprisoned in terrible conditions until the end of the war.

Former hostage Terry Waite described Mr Lock as "the salt of the earth".

Image caption The funeral of Harold Lock took place today at West Suffolk Crematorium

A service at West Suffolk Crematorium began and ended with the songs of Vera Lynn.

Mr Lock travelled to the Far East as a young seaman in 1939 after lying about his age to enlist.

Recounting the events of 1942, Mr Lock said he thought he would die when he heard the command to abandon ship.

"We got hit, in an explosion, and I forget how many it killed, it was 70 or 80. And then we had to abandon ship, and once you hear that, that's the finish," he earlier told BBC Radio Suffolk.

"It was just a matter of luck, if you were somewhere near the explosion, you'd probably be dead."

'Wouldn't show weakness'

He and his comrades had to swim for eight miles before finding land, where they were captured by the Japanese and imprisoned until the end of the war.

The young seaman was beaten and starved and when he was freed in 1945, he weighed just 4st 10lbs.

His wife of 54 years, Audrey, said the experience deeply affected Mr Lock and he didn't talk about it until his later years.

"He tried to keep it hidden, he wouldn't show weakness," she said.

Image caption Harold Lock didn't speak of his experiences until his later life, when he wrote a private memoir

"A lot of them had hardened emotionally but in later years got emotional. He had nightmares now and again, but he would never talk about it freely."

Mr Lock went on to organise reunions for former PoWs in Suffolk.

In 2005, he travelled to Java in Indonesia and Singapore with the former Beirut hostage Terry Waite, who became a friend.

A message from Mr Waite read out at the funeral said he had the "greatest respect" for Mr Lock, "an old sailor, and salt of the earth."

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