Leeds war veteran has Taiwan flag draped over coffin at funeral as rescue tribute

Veteran: Captain Gerald Fitzpatrick.
Veteran: Captain Gerald Fitzpatrick.
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A Leeds veteran who was rescued by foreign troops after he became surrounded by enemies in Burma has been honoured following his death.

The funeral of Captain Gerald Fitzpatrick, who served with the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, took place on Thursday in Leeds.

Cpt Fitzpatrick, who died aged 99, was laid to rest with the flag of Taiwan draped over his coffin at his request.

The ex-soldier, from Halton, was serving in Burma in 1942, when British troops were surrounded by Japanese forces in what became known as the Battle of Yenangyuang.

He was among those evacuated by Taiwan Nationalist troops, after the Republic of China’s Major General Liu Fang-Wu ordered a relief mission, and went on to write about his experiences in two books.

As a tribute to his rescuers, Cpt Fitzpatrick requested the Taiwan flag to be draped over his coffin at his funeral.

This week, Taiwan’s representative in the UK, David Lin, and four military officers from the state, attended the funeral and fulfilled his wishes at the ceremony.

Mr Lin said: “Mr Fitzpatrick was a true friend to Taiwan.

“The government of Taiwan attaches great importance to Mr Fitzpatrick’s last wish and by fulfilling it, we’ve paid him our high tribute.”

In 1939, Cpt Fitzpatrick joined the British Army and began his training as a sapper in the Royal Engineers.

After returning to England, he wrote two books, Ditched Burma: No Mandalay, No Maymyo, 79 Survive and Chinese Save Brits-In Burma, focusing on his Second World War experiences.

He maintained close contact with officers from Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defence and visited the state in 2013.