Arthur "Rex" Crane, the deceptive Australian POW.
Arthur "Rex" Crane, 84 years old, had fought the Japanese in World War II starting when he was 15 years old. He was part of a volunteer force which conducted guerrilla operations. When he was captured, he was tortured and beaten with bamboo sticks and crucified with four-inch nails.
Years later, he rose to become national president of the Australian Ex Prisoners of War Association, where he spent decades lobbying on behalf of veterans.
Except… he had never served in the military. His whole story was a lie.
In 2009, military historian Lynette Silver heard him deliver a speech, Afterward, she said:
"I’d done so much work that I knew the names of everybody and I knew he wasn’t one of them."
He had fraudulently received over $460,000 in war pension and disability payments. But that was not the reason for his lies.
Mr. Crane began his deception in the 1960s when he met prisoners of war at a bar and admired their stories. He wanted to be friends, so he made up his own story, and later did research so he could get the details right.
As the judge said to him before ordering him to repay the money and sentencing him to 6 months in jail:
"The motivation for your deception was not greed but need in the sense of achieving and maintaining hero status… It was a case of fantasy and deception which got totally out of control."
– Fake POW to spend time behind bars in Qld, Sydney Morning Herald>>
– Fake Australian prisoner of war claimed £442,000 in pension payments, The Telegraph>>