A PENARTH man, who survived the notorious Japanese prisoner-of-war camp at Kinkaseki in Taiwan and went on to become a campaigner for former servicemen and their widows in the Far East, passed away last week at the age of 88.

Jack Edwards, who was held as a prisoner of war for three years, fought with the British government to win the award of pensions for ethnic Chinese veterans and their widows in Hong Kong and the granting of British passports to survivors' wives and widows in the run-up to the handover of Hong Kong to China in 1997.

Jack Edwards was born in Cardiff on May 24, 1918.

He joined the Royal Corps of Signals and was a sergeant in Singapore when it fell to the Japanese in 1942. After being taken prisoner, his first job was removing from the beaches the corpses of captives killed by the Japanese at sea and thrown overboard.

He was later incarcerated in the Kinkaseki prison on the former Japanese colony of Taiwan which was regarded to have been among the most brutal of the Japanese camps.

Inmates worked the mine daily in tropical heat.

Edwards later recorded his experiences in a book, Banzai, You Bastards!

He wrote: "Those who made it to the Japanese surrender - 64 out of an original 526 (though some had been transferred elsewhere) were walking on the narrow edge between man and animal.

"All of us looked ghastly, eyes sunken, mere skeletons covered with ashes, sores or cuts which would not heal. Others too far gone to save were blown-up with beri-beri, legs and testicles like balloons."

After the war he returned to Kinkaseki with war crimes investigators and gave evidence at a subsequent trial in Tokyo.

Edwards returned to south Wales to work in local government after the war but was unable to settle and in 1963 took up a job in the housing department of the Hong Kong administration.

While in Hong Kong he started campaigning for the rights of ethnic Chinese servicemen and their widows.

Edwards was appointed OBE in the Birthday Honours List of 1997 to add to an earlier MBE.

His first marriage did not survive the war.In the 1970s he met Polly Tam Solan, a former member of the Chinese People's Liberation Army dance troupe.

They married in 1990.