Guard's birthday card for ex-PoW John Baxter

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There is one card that John Baxter will particularly treasure when he celebrates his 90th birthday tomorrow. It is from the Japanese guard who befriended him as a prisoner of war in Java during the Second World War.

On his release in 1945 Mr Baxter was little more than a living skeleton, his body ravaged by tropical diseases including malaria and dysentery. That he did survive was in part thanks to Hyato Hirano, one of the few guards who showed compassion to the prisoners.

In 1995 Mr Baxter, a former corporal in the Royal Engineers, had an emotional reunion with Mr Hirano after tracking him down during a visit to Japan on the 50th anniversary of VJ-Day.

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