University of Oxford
18 files

Geoffrey Norman Burton, Royal Artillery

online resource
posted on 2024-06-05, 18:03 authored by Their Finest Hour Project Team

Geoffrey joined the Royal Artillery in 1941, and after various training camps, he was posted as a Lieutenant to the 118th Field Regiment. He arrived, via Bombay, in Singapore shortly before its surrender and was then a prisoner-of-war for 3.5 years. He did many things to keep up the morale of the POWs, such as creating a camp library. He worked on the infamous Railway of Death, which the Japanese forced their POWs to construct.

He never wanted to be in the Army and left after the end of the war as he wanted to finish his History degree at Oxford University. His peacetime occupation was as a school teacher. After the war, he was interviewed by a woman who was speaking with her neighbours about their war experiences, but otherwise, he did not talk much about the war.


Item list and details

1. Copy of interview of Geoffrey, with transcript 2. Collection of photographs, some with notes written by Geoffrey. The photographs show the appalling conditions in the POW camps. On one photograph 'Colombo 1945', he documented his entire journey. 3. Group photograph. Rear endorsed OTC London 1937 (?). Geoffrey is third from the left in the first standing row. He may have been 18 at the time, possibly still at school. He was from Cheshire but went to school on the Isle of Man. 4. Medals (1939-1945 Star, Pacific Star, War Medal 1939-1945 with oak leaf clasp), together with paperwork from the 'War Office Droitwich'. 5. King's Order officially confirming that Geoffrey had been 'mentioned in dispatches'. This may relate to an incident when Geoffrey hung on to the walking stick being carried by a Japanese officer and was beaten. 6. Prayer Book (with his name and unit in pencil at the front). The prayer book was given to Geoffrey when he was confirmed on March 30th 1935.

Person the story/items relate to

Geoffrey Norman Burton

Person who shared the story/items

Rosemary Burton

Relationship between the subject of the story and its contributor


Type of submission

Shared at Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum, Oxfordshire on 1 April 2023.

Record ID

91720 | WOO001