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Fergus Anckorn

Discussion in 'WWII Obituaries' started by The_Historian, Mar 30, 2018.

  1. The_Historian

    The_Historian Pillboxologist Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

    Oct 26, 2003
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    Stirling, Scotland
    "AS a soldier and PoW during the Second World War Fergus Anckorn survived being blown up, shot at, butchered in his hospital bed and having boiling creosote thrown over him.
    It’s not surprising he once remarked that, “Every day is a wonder to me”.
    While luck was certainly on his side, Fergus’s skill as a magician also helped to keep him alive.
    During the three years he was imprisoned in a brutal Japanese PoW camp he would regularly perform tricks in front of his captors to earn vital extra food for his starving fellow prisoners.
    As a result, he became known as the Conjuror of the Kwai, after the notorious river where thousands of Allied PoWs laboured and died.
    More recently, Fergus was the inspiration for Britain’s Got Talent winner Richard Jones, who recounted his remarkable story through a series of card tricks.
    Born in Dunton Green, near Sevenoaks, Fergus Gordon Anckorn was given his first magic set aged four and performed tricks at parties.
    In 1936 he became the youngest member of the Magic Circle.
    At the outbreak of war in 1939, he enlisted as a gunner in the 118th Field Regiment Royal Artillery.
    By the time he was shipped out to the Far East, arriving in Singapore in early February 1942, he had met his wife-to-be Lucille Hose, a nurse.
    Within days of the regiment arriving, they were bombed by the Japanese while on duty at the docks and Fergus plunged into the sea, unaware that if a bomb hit the water the blast wave would kill him. Remarkably he survived but five of his companions were blown to pieces.
    A few days later, shortly before the fall of Singapore, he was terribly wounded when a shell exploded close to him and it was only when the surgeon learned he was a magician that he decided not to amputate his right hand.
    Having already escaped death twice, Fergus found himself at the centre of a massacre in hospital.
    On the morning of February 14 Japanese troops entered the building in force and unleashed an indiscriminate orgy of shooting and bayoneting patients and staff.
    Semi-conscious and covered in blood from his hand injury, Fergus was convinced he was about to die but instead the Japanese saw the amount of blood on his sheets and assumed he was dead already.
    He later recalled: “I was one of four men still alive. The other 72 in my ward had been murdered.
    The ground floor was total carnage while, upstairs, the killing continued.”
    lwd likes this.
  2. Owen

    Owen O

    May 14, 2006
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    I have his book "Surviving by magic". It's a good read. Sad to read that he's now gone.
    The_Historian likes this.

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