The Japanese captured eighteen-year-old Tony Cowling when they invaded Singapore in February 1942. As a new recruit in the RAF, he spent the next three and a half years slowly being starved to death in a Japanese PoW camp. In the last months of his war, Tony attempted to escape but was caught by a senior Japanese officer. Punishment for such attempts was immediate beheading.
The officer who caught him was preparing to carry out this punishment on Tony with his sword
as this part of the story begins.