Mr Alec Gibson
14 January 1921 - 03 November 2015
Resident of The Royal Star & Garter Homes, 2014-2015
Alec joined the Army aged 18. Although he was in a reserved occupation in an armament firm, Alec knew that his friends were fighting for their country and felt it was his duty to join up. He was commissioned into the Indian Army and served in Burma with the 77th Indian Infantry Brigade, otherwise known as the Chindits, commanded by Brigadier Orde Wingate.
Alec was a cipher officer and his duties included using a code book to decode and code messages, which made good use of his excellent numeracy.
In 1943 and behind Japanese lines, his brigade came under attack and Alec, and his unit, were eventually captured by the Japanese as they tried to escape across the Irrawaddy River. Alec was held in a POW camp in Rangoon for over two years, where he suffered very hard conditions.
Fifty years later on a Government sponsored visit to the cemetery in Rangoon where many of his fellow Servicemen were buried, Alec was astonished to discover that many relatives had no knowledge of what their loved ones had experienced. He felt moved to ensure that these stories were shared, to help raise awareness about the treatment of POWs.
After his eventual release from the POW camp, Alec had returned to India in 1945. He was promoted to Lieutenant and served in India for another two years before being demobbed. Back in the UK Alec trained to become an accountant and was eventually appointed deputy treasurer for Lambeth Council.
Alec came to live with The Royal Star & Garter Homes at the end of 2014. He was a keen artist and remained active throughout his life, enjoying the morning workouts in the Solihull Home. He was happily married to Kathleen for 64 years. Alec passed away peacefully on 3rd November and will be missed by all his friends and loving family, including his two sons, six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Image 1, ©Soldier Magazine