A British Engineer for Western Telegraph & Cable & Wireless for 40 years based in locations around the world, Cecil Harold Riviere was a first-hand witness to the fall of Singapore to the Japanese army in World War 2. He survived a dramatic escape on HMS Grasshopper, which was bombed & sank. He undertook a challenging journey to Sumatra, across the South China Sea, up the torrid Inderagiri River, through dense jungle, over mountains and into Padang, where he was captured by the Japanese.
He endured the most harrowing three and a half years in internment. His determination to keep busy and his skills at mending and building things for others in the camp earnt him the nickname "Able & Tireless" by his fellow prisoners. Weighing little more than seven stone on his release from captivity he was one of the lucky few to survive the horrors of a Japanese civilian internment camp.
In his 99 years, Cecil was a chorister in Westminster Abbey, took a mayday call from the Titanic in 1912, and travelled the world in the days before travel was commonplace. He was based in Porthcurno in Cornwall, Madeira, Cape Verde Islands, Portugal, Brazil, Argentina, Malta and Singapore, where he helped to keep global communications open during World Wars 1 and 2. He had a zest for life, a passion for building and mending clocks, and a lifelong love of golf. This is his story.