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Lucky Johnny: the footballer who survived the River Kwai death camps

Lucky Johnny: the footballer who survived the River Kwai death camps

Sherwood, Johnny, author; Doe, Michael, author

In 1938 Johnny Sherwood was a young professional footballer on the brink of an England career, touring the world with the all-star British team the Islington Corinthians. By 1942 he was a soldier surrendering to the Japanese at the siege of Singapore. Taken prisoner he was sent to a POW camp deep in the heart of the Thai jungle, where he was starved, beaten, and forced to build the notorious 'railway of death' on the River Kwai. Johnny kept his and his men's spirits up with tales of his footballing past, even organising matches until he and the other prisoners became too weak to play. This book tells his story

Book. English.
Published London: Hodder, 2015
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Statement of responsibility: Johnny Sherwood and Michael Doe
ISBN: 1444790331, 9781444790337
Note: Originally published: London: Hodder & Stoughton, 2014.
Note: Includes index.
Physical Description: viii, 309 pages : illustrations (black and white) ; 20 cm
Subject: Prisoners of war Thailand.; Sherwood, Johnny.; Prisoners of war Great Britain.; World War, 1939-1945 Personal narratives, British.; Soccer players Great Britain.; Warfare and Defence.; World War, 1939-1945 Prisoners and prisons, Japanese.

Author note

Johnny Sherwoodwas one of eleven children, and played professional football for Islington Corinthians, Middlesbrough, Reading, Aldershot and Crystal Palace. During the war, he was a Sergeant in the Royal Artillery. Johnny suffered lifelong effects from his POW years, but nonetheless went on to become a pub landlord and successful bookie. He raised three children and was the proud grandfather of six grandchildren.

Michael Doegrew up in Reading and lived near his grandfather. He discovered his grandfather's manuscript hidden in the attic of his mother's house in 2013. Michael lives with his wife, step-son and newborn twins in the Wirral, Cheshire, where he runs his own business and continues the family tradition through his keen interest in football.


Vivid...what is so remarkable about his tale is Johnny's heart-warming humanity, which persists through the blackest times.
Daily Mail