Robert McLaren, an Australian soldier, was captured by the Japanese during the Second World War and had escaped to a jun

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It was then, stranded in the middle of this leafy expanse, that he was suddenly struck with appendicitis.
There was no option other than to put his life on the line.
It was going to be a risky operation (no pun intended).

Robert McLaren, an Australian soldier, was captured by the Japanese during the Second World War and had escaped to a jungle.

It was then, stranded in the middle of this leafy expanse, that he was suddenly struck with appendicitis.

There was no option other than to put his life on the line.

It was going to be a risky operation (no pun intended).


After having fought intensely during the First World War as a teenager, the man would've surely settled down for the rest of his life as a retired veteran—but this was someone who defied pretty much all expectations.

Upon the outburst of the Second World War, McLaren immediately signed himself up, without any knowledge of what he’d have to endure.

The veterinary officer was soon captured by the Japanese and sent to a prisoner of war camp, where many soldiers were worked to death.

Luckily, he wasn't one of them; he arranged an escape plan and managed to flee the camp with a few other friends.[1]


Having trekked through miles and miles of Malaysia, he was captured yet again in another prison camp in Borneo, with even worse conditions.

Despite this, he escaped (yes, again) with another companion, a Chinese man, who had been tortured by the Japanese for his assistance of prisoners.

After a bit of island-hopping, having 'sailed' (allegedly on a hollowed-out log) from one to another, they landed on Mindanao.[2]

It was then that McLaren found himself stranded in the Mindanao jungle. He then learned quickly that he had developed appendicitis, and he’d have to act—quickly.

There was no choice but to get it out himself—the only option was certain death.

'I knew I had appendicitis and that if I did not do something I would die.'

So he took out his pocket knife, accumulated some jungle fibres, placed a mirror on his knees to see what he was doing—and began to operate on himself.


'With the aid of a mirror and an ordinary knife I took out the appendix. The operation took four and a half hours. It was hell, but I came through all right.'[3]

He cut out his own appendix, and stitched up the incision himself.

Only two days later, McLaren was on his feet once more, fleeing the Japanese. He met great success, having later on commanded The Bastard, a 26-foot whaling ship, and he went on to receive several military awards.

Operating on yourself in the middle of a foreign jungle with no anaesthetic is something I’d describe as the definition of epic.

Footnotes

[1] Jock McLaren - Wikipedia
[2] http://Incredible Ways People Escaped History's Most Hellish Regimes — The Modern Rogue (https://www.themodernrogue.com/articles/2018/9/3/incredible-ways-people-escaped-historys-most-hellish-regimes)
[3] http://GENERAL SAYS MC WINNER EARNED VC Surgical drama of Mindanao jungle - The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) - 15 Jan 1948 (https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/22531010?searchTerm=8th+Division+Changi)

 

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