Letter from Frank Planton
Letter to Editor
I think some of your readers may be a bit mystified about the article on Bill Outen's ashes, so I feel an explanation is necessary.
As you know, I recently read in a book that Bill's ashes were in the British Commonwealth Cemetery, Hodogaya, Tokyo, whilst for 58 years I had been under the impression that when I had handed them over they had come home. You kindly got busy with one of your many contacts when I asked for your help to trace his family who lived in the Weymouth area.
The Dorset Echo ran an article on the mystery after I had spoken at length to Naomi Wright, one of their reporters. Bill's half brother, who still lives in the area, was able to solve the mystery. Apparently, the Ministry of defence had contacted the family asking if they wished to have his ashes home, but this offer had been declined.
Naomi phoned me asking if she could read my story, serialised in the Pump, which I understand you had mentioned to her. She was very interested, as her grandfather was a Japanese POW and taken his own life 2 years after returning home. I explained what I had written were purely my own personal experiences but I would let her have a copy to read and then would like to know her thoughts and hear her comments. You kindly printed the copy for me and also one for Bill's half brother.
My grateful thanks to you Ray and Ron Ellis, the gentleman who did a lot of detective work on my behalf before he finally contacted the Dorset Echo.
Frank Planton (Joe Japan)