Spencer Chapman

Picked up a book at the airport the other day titled  ‘Jungle Soldier’ and it is the true story of Freddy Spencer Chapman.  An amazing man.  He was born in 1907 and at an early age he and his brother were given into the care of a vicar and his wife.  He essentially grew up as an orphan, but his character was such that he was always determined to do things his way, which in Victorian England mean’t you had a fairly tough life.  When the Japanese overran Malaya in 1942, he was trapped behind enemy lines.  His response was to begin a commando campaign of such lethal effectiveness that the Japanese deployed an entire regiment against him, hunting him as no other.  He was wounded and racked by tropical diseases.  His companions were either killed or captured.  He remained in deep jungle for three years and five months to survive WW2.

When I read about his early formative years I wondered what would have happened if he had been born now.  He would have been diagnosed ADHD, drugged and everyone would have focused on ‘protecting’ him from experiences which actually formed him into an amazing person.  There seems to be so few children these days that are allowed to be themselves and develop in their own way particularly if schools, parents and society label them as ‘difficult’.

His guiding principle for so many things was “Everything is neutral, it is only thinking that makes them good or bad”.

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