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PM hints at money for POW survivors; FORMER PRISONER WELCOMES COMPENSATION FOR THOSE HELD BY JAPANESE.

A COVENTRY woman fighting for compensation for the survivors of Japanese prisoner of war camps has welcomed a statement by the Prime Minister that money could soon be on its way.

Florence O'Grady, of Daintree Croft, Styvechale, is a member of the Association of British Civilian Internees Far East Region (Abcifer).

Mrs O'Grady, aged 62, was a prisoner in Stanley Camp, Hong Kong, from the age of four until eight.

During Prime Minister's Question Time yesterday, Tony Blair said Britain owed the POWs a "debt of honour" and pledged that it wouldn't be "very much longer" before a decision was made.

He twice told MPs that he had a good deal of sympathy with the campaign mounted by the Royal British Legion, and others, for monies to be paid to POWs.

Mrs O'Grady, who was captured by the Japanese on December 8, 1941, before being liberated by the Allies at the end of the war, said: "A lot of the former prisoners are now dying off, so a little bit of compensation would help them an awful lot.

"Captured soldiers and civilians suffered terribly, particularly in the labour camps, so I am delighted to hear that good news could be on its way."

Mr Blair said a decision was likely following the Chancellor's pre-Budget statement on November 8.

And added: "The suffering the prisoners endured was appaling.

"The nation owes them a debt of honour for the sacrifice they've made and the memories they have had to live with, literally, for the rest of their lives."
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Author:Gibbons, Duncan
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Oct 26, 2000
Words:256
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