Released From Captivity

by jdurney on February 24, 2011

Leinster Leader, October 20th 1945

Released From Captivity

“The last time I saw Derry Fleckney of Ballylinan, he was working in a Japanese labour camp in Burma.” This news was contained in a letter received at home a few weeks ago, from Mr. Peter Whelan, son of Mr. and Mrs. John Whelan, Kilmoroney, Athy. Peter, a member of the R.A.M.C. was captured in Malaya by the Japanese in 1942. Grave fears for his safety were entertained for a long time, until the news reached his parents recently that he had been released from a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp and was in hospital in Calcutta recuperating from his terrible ordeal. Derry M’Donough Fleckney, eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. William Fleckney, Ballylinan, served in the R.A.F. in the Asiatic theatre of war in 1942. When the Japanese overran Malaya he was cut off from his comrades in a jungle swamp. “When we last saw him” reported three soldiers who escaped from Malaya to Australia. “he was wounded and bleeding and unable to travel. We did what we could for him, but when the Japs were closing in on us he urged us to leave him and try to save ourselves.” This was the last news the anxious parents received of Derry until Christmas of 1942 brought a postcard from him from a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp to say that he was well. As the war continued, no further news of him was received, despite enquiries through the International Red Cross Society, and fears for the worst again assailed the family. Then, last Saturday, came the most welcome news that he had been released from the Japanese prisoner-of-war camp and had reached Canada, and that he would be sailing for home around October 25th. His mother, Mrs. Fleckney retired on pension a few years ago from the position of Assistant Principal of Ballylinan National School. She is a sister of the celebrated Irish stage and radio impersonator, Val Vousden. Mr. Fleckney is Company Commander of Ballylinan L.D.F. Both are held in high esteem.

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