A VETERAN whose weight dropped to just over five stone when he was starved in a prisoner of war camp has died aged 100.

George Reynolds, who lived in Victoria Court, Newport, was a survivor of Japanese prisoner of war camps during World War Two.

He died on Wednesday at the Royal Gwent Hospital.

Mr Reynolds was just 18 when he joined the Royal Artillery regiment in March 1937.

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South Wales Argus:

George Reynolds as a young soldier

He previously aired his anger to the South Wales Argus of General Percival's ill-thought decision to sign an armistice in 1942, resulting in more than 60,000 soldiers – including himself - being handed over to the Empire of Japan.

"I was shocked at this decision,” he said.

“It was unexpected.

"We were now prisoners of war and oblivious to the horrors that awaited us."

South Wales Argus:

George Reynolds in old age

The signaller ended up being based in a number of Japanese camps and witnessed unimaginable horrors - most notably the beheading of a prisoner. He spent nine months at the Taihokm camp, before being moved to Kinkaseki as slave labour in the copper mines.

Forced to work back-breaking 14-hour days, with only rations to eat, his weight fell from 13 stone 8oz to five-and-a-half stone.

He previously said: "I saw grown men crying with starvation in the prison camps, but after every meal I would sit back and tell myself 'I was satisfied'. That attitude helped me through.”

South Wales Argus:

George Reynolds laying a wreath during Remembrance Day in 2018

When the camps were finally liberated in 1945, Mr Reynolds' parents did not recognise their own son as he got off the train at Newport, and only realised who he was when they heard him ask for a bus to Corporation Road.

Tributes have now poured in for the late veteran, who has been described as a “brave man".

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Daughter Ann Davies said: "He was such a brave man to go through what he did. He forgave the Japanese soldiers for what they did. He did not want to go through his life feeling bitter.

"We were so lucky to have him in our lives for such a long time. His decency, sincerity and kind soul will stay with us forever."

Another daughter Shirley Hedley added: "He was a great and noble man and the best father a son or daughter could have.

"In our grief, let us smile knowing that he is reunited with our darling mother and holding the hands of his brothers and sisters."

He is survived by his seven children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

To read the full interview with Mr Reynolds, which was conducted last year, click here