Prisoner of war Syd Brewis dies at 93

Syd Brewis.
Syd Brewis.

A former Far East prisoner of war, described as a kind family man, has passed away, aged 93.

Syd Brewis died on Monday, October 20, after suffering bronchial pneumonia.

His funeral is tomorrow at Cowpen Crematorium at 1.30pm.

The Second World War veteran, who was Northumberland born and bred, was held captive at the Iruka internment camp following the fall of Singapore in 1942.

He was also put to work on the notorious Burma Railway.

He travelled to the Far East many years later to remember fallen comrades and had a surprise reunion with a Japanese woman whose typewriter he fixed while he was a PoW.

The former Northumberland Fusilier was also a member of the now-defunct Norham and District Far East Prisoners of War club.

His daughter Wendy Rance, 70, from Warwickshire, said: “My father didn’t talk about his war-time experiences for a long, long time.

“It was only in recent years that he really opened up about it.

“He did attend Alnwick Playhouse as a guest of honour for the film, The Railway Man, but he found that very difficult and had to leave before the end.

“He suffered permanent ear damage while he was a PoW, but he did make friends with the Japanese after the war and he visited the railway several times.” Paying tribute to her father, she added: “He was one of the kindest people I have ever met. He would have done anything for me.

“He was never nasty to anybody and an awful lot of people spoke highly of him.

“They loved to chat to him as he was very interesting and had a very sharp mind.”

Syd was born in Alnwick in 1921 and lived in numerous areas of the county over the years, including Longhoughton and Rennington.

Most recently, he was a resident at Grovewood House Care Home, in South Charlton, before being transferred to Wansbeck General Hospital.

Syd was married to Jeanne for 67 years, having tied the knot in Alnwick.

His beloved wife passed away earlier this year.

They had one grandchild and two great-grandchildren.

Leading a colourful life, Syd worked around the world, including in Gambia and Kuwait, although he had started off as an apprentice at Alnwick’s Reavell Bros.

He enjoyed playing golf and walking and was a dog lover.