Mr James Smith Hart
Friday, March 17, 2017 - 13:13
ISLAND man James Smith Hart, one of a handful of survivors of the infamous Eucliffe massacre after Hong Kong was taken by the Japanese in 1941, died last Wednesday, aged 101.
Born in Wishaw, Glasgow, on January 26, 1916, Mr Hart served in the Royal Army Service Corps for 22 years after he joined up in 1935.
The Second World War was a punishing experience for him.
One of seven survivors of the Eucliffe massacre, he was held as a Japanese prisoner of war until he was freed by the Allies in September 1945.
After the taking of Eucliffe, during the Battle of Hong Kong, the Japanese executed many Allied POWs.
During his four years in a POW camp in Japan, Mr Hart survived seven bayonet wounds administered by his captors.
He rose to the rank of sergeant and left the army in 1946 to marry Elizabeth Yardley in his home town of Wishaw.
Mr Hart spent a year employed at the Excelsior Steel works but he was lured by the army and served in the British Army of the Rhine, Germany, until 1953.
His final posting was at Golden Hill Fort, Freshwater, and he married West Wight resident, Annie Jennings.
Mr Hart had five sons from his first marriage.
When he left the army, following the closure of Golden Hill Fort, he worked for Pittis and Sons estate agents, then became a postman — a job he continued on the Island until retirement.
Mr Hart, who died at Wishaw General Hospital last week, was a well-known and active member of the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes on the Island, until his hearing became a problem in 2013.
In retirement, he enjoyed travel — visiting of Australia, Italy and Canada, as well as Hong Kong, which he visited many times to view the war graves of fallen comrades.
Mr Hart was a sports fan and enjoyed playing outdoor bowls and darts.
A service of cremation will be held at Holytown Crematorium, near Wishaw, on Monday.