Far East veteran dies at 97
Alfonso ‘Toni’ Garizio was forced to work on the Burma Railway during the Second World War
31 March, 2017 — By Koos Couvée
Toni Garizio helped unveil a memorial to prisoners of war in Mornington Crescent in 2012
ONE of the last surviving veterans who worked on the Burma Railway during the Second World War has died.
Alfonso “Toni” Garizio, who lived in Highbury, passed away aged 97 at the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead on Saturday after a short illness.
“He received the most excellent care,” his daughter Tonia said.
A member of C Company 1st Battalion Cambridgeshire, which held out heroically for four days at the battle of Adam Park in Singapore, he was captured and sent to Thailand to work on the Burma Railway, clearing the dense jungle and “spiking” the rails.
There he endured brutal conditions. Working in tropical heat and monsoon rains, Mr Garizio survived on just a pound of raw rice a day. He was then shipped to Japan to work as a driller in the copper mines.
Mr Garizio returned home in 1945 and met his wife Doris while working as a chef at The Caprice. He told the Tribune in 2012: “If you didn’t believe you would live, you would die. I always knew I would come back home.”
That year he unveiled a memorial to the prisoners of war in Mornington Crescent, which was built thanks to generous donations from readers of the Tribune’s sister paper, the Camden New Journal.
Mr Garizio’s funeral will be held at Islington Crematorium on Thursday, April 13.
• See next week’s Tribune for a full obituary.