A FORMER prisoner of war who survived the battle for Hong Kong and forced labour in the coal mines of Japan has died just six days before he was due to take part in the Liberation Day parade. Francis Reis, 73, father of actress and former Miss Hong Kong Michele Reis, died at Prince of Wales Hospital on Tuesday after fighting a blood disorder for eight months. He is to be buried on Monday - the day he was to have celebrated the liberation of Hong Kong and commemorated the deaths of his war-time colleagues. Instead of his wife, four children, and three brothers and sisters accompanying him to the 50th anniversary parade, they will be paying their last respects to him at the International Funeral Home in Hunghom. His third wife Flora, whom Mr Reis married in 1989, said yesterday he had been looking forward to the parade at the Cenotaph with up to 400 veterans. 'He was a member of the Prisoners of War Association and always joined in their activities,' Mrs Reis said. 'He would have loved to have been able to celebrate with everyone else.' Mr Reis was born in Hong Kong and was a member of the Hong Kong Volunteers when he fought to defend the territory in 1940. He was a prisoner in Shamshuipo prisoner of war camp for two years before he and more than 1,000 others were taken by the Japanese to work in the coal mines of Sendai in Tokyo. After the war, Mr Reis married a Hong Kong girl and went into business. Arthur Gomes, chairman of the Hong Kong Prisoners of War Association, was in Shamshuipo camp with Mr Reis. He said his friend would have loved to have taken part in the commemoration. 'When he was told of his illness and that he didn't have long to live, he said to the doctor, 'Gee, thanks doc',' Mr Gomes said. 'That was the kind of guy he was, lots of spirit.' Jack Edwards, also a former prisoner of war and chairman of the Royal British Legion Hong Kong, said of the death: 'It is very sad, that, coming at a time like this, but we will be thinking of him on Monday.'