As told by Keith Flanagan:

Bill Griffiths

Bill was was an RAF lorry driver.  He was with Weary in Java.  He lost both his hands and eyes, had his right leg shattered and was peppered with shrapnel when the Japanese made him uncover a booby-trapped ammunition dump.

A passing lorry had picked him up and took him to the disused Bandung school, the Chrystalijk Lyceum.   Weary and his 2/2 Casualty Clearing Station, with only a small pannier of medical supplies to start, had garnered equipment, medicines, beds, orderlies and 80 Dutch ‘helpsters’ to create No 1 Allied General Hospital.  It was to treat 1,351 sick and wounded, with only 9 deaths before the Dutch capitulation.

Bill says he owes his life three times to Weary.  The first was when he operated on his mangled body.  The second was when the Dutch matron, and Bill himself, thought he should be “put down”.  Weary vetoed the idea and encouraged Bill to live.

The third was when a Japanese captain ordered the immediate break-up of the hospital.  To show him how impossible it was Weary took him to see Bill, another blinded soldier and two others paralysed from the waist down.  The officer motioned to the guard to give Bill the coup de grace.  Weary stepped in front of the bayonet and defied them to go through him first.


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