Alistair Urquhart – surviving against the odds, again and again and again



Alistair Urquhart, whose autobiography of his war-time experiences as a POW of the Japanese on the Burma ’death railway’ was a best seller, has died aged 97.

What is astonishing is not just that he survived an unthinkable three and a half years which killed many thousands, but that he lived, as so many of that generation seem to, to a ripe old age. He contracted cholera, malaria, beri beri and gangrene, was starved, beaten and worse. Towards the end of the war he was shipped off in a Japanese ‘hellship’ which was holed by a submarine and he ended in the sea covered in burning oil, went blind from the sun, was recaptured by Japanese and ended up working in a coal mine close to Nagaski when the atomic bomb was dropped.

After a difficult time adjusting to civilian life, he took up ballroom dancing and eventually became managing director of a plumbers’ merchant.

He was a Sun Virgo; with Saturn also in Virgo conjunct Mercury in Leo opposition Uranus (Moon) in Aquarius square North Node in Scorpio. So certainly enduring from the Fixed planets; and the Scorpio North Node has the effect of producing a total life transformation somewhere along the way, where the individual loses almost everything and emerges with a completely altered mindset. Not that it usually comes in quite such a horrific way, I hasten to add. He also had Jupiter Mars Neptune in Leo which would give him optimism as Fire always does and luck, especially with Mars Jupiter there. His Mars Neptune was exactly on the midpoint between his Sun and Pluto, so very determined.

His 8th and 16th Harmonics are exceptionally strong as you’d expected in someone who had amazing resilience and the ability to overcome massive obstacles. And his 5H = get-a-life-together – was also strong.


I can’t find it but I think it was in Michael Baigent’s book on Working with Astrology where he talks of a Norwegian fisherman who ended up in hypothermia-inducing seas for an extraordinarily long time which astonished medics. His 16th Harmonic was very marked as well.

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