Ink in memory of a war hero grandfather

Maurice Crowther, who was held as a prisoner of war by Japenese forces for three years.
Maurice Crowther, who was held as a prisoner of war by Japenese forces for three years.

The granddaughter of a war hero who was held as prisoner by Japanese forces has made sure his memory will never be forgotten.

Mother-of-three Melanie Howram had her forearm inked in memory of her hero, Maurice Crowther who died aged 93 in 2013.

Melanie Howram, 37, had her forearm inked with a picture of her war hero grandad Maurice Crowther.

Melanie Howram, 37, had her forearm inked with a picture of her war hero grandad Maurice Crowther.

Maurice, from Liversedge, was captured in 1942 and made to work in gruelling coal mines and railway salt works for three years in Fukuoka - 80 miles from Hiroshima in Japan.

Mrs Howram, 37, said: “My grandad endured a lot for our freedom and the tattoo is my tribute to him.

“It’s my little bit of him that I will carry around forever with me.

“I looked after him during his last years, he was more like a dad to me and we were best friends.

“He wasn’t just my grandad, he was my hero.”

After Maurice’s death a number of moving poems, which he penned while being held in the camps, were unearthed by his daughter Julie Ward.

Mrs Howram, who was born in Dewsbury but now lives near Selby, said: “It amazes me that he was so young and he was to able to write those profound words.

“It makes me cry even now when I read them, not just because he was my grandad but because we can’t even comprehend what they went through.

“I don’t think I will ever get my head around how brilliant he was.

“Despite everything that he endured and went through he was still a happy and fun man.

“He never let it break him.”

Maurice was 18 when he volunteered to join the army in 1938 and was stationed in Singapore when he was taken prisoner.

He was captured while fighting at the fall of Singapore on February 15, 1942, along with his best friend Norman Wood. Norman was sent to work on the death railway in Burma and in 2012 Maurice was awarded a National Lottery grant to visit his grave.

He was then invited to a special Buckingham Palace Garden Party for JAVA Far East POW veterans the same year and was featured on the BBC’s Remembrance Parade programme at the Cenotaph.

After his release Maurice became a councillor for Liversedge and worked for Heckmondwike Carpets.

He moved to North Yorkshire when he was 89.