Bob Couttie, British novelist and Balangiga Bell activist, dies at 71

ROBERT Donald “Bob” Couttie, a well-known British writer, director, actor, journalist, producer, radio playwright and fervent campaigner for the return of the controversial Balangiga Bells in December 2018, has died after a short illness in Balangiga, in the East Samar on Tuesday September 21, 2021. He was 71 years old.

Couttie, who was born in Woking, Surrey, England, came and stayed in Balangiga, where he had finished writing the first volume of his series of books, Fool’s Gold.

Friends and fellow academics have come forward to express their condolences to the bereaved family of the British novelist who also wrote the book Hang the Dogs: The True Tragic History of the Balangiga Massacre in 2010.

“You loved Balangiga so much that you decided to stay and breathe your last breath in this very historic city,” wrote Professor Jhonil Bajado, head of museums and archives at Samar State University.

“Thank you, Sir Bob, for your bold stories which debunked many myths in Philippine history,” Bajado added.

Leyte’s resident historian, Professor Rolando Borrinaga, also expressed his sadness over the death of Couttie, his fellow member of the Balangiga research group who called the historic town his home.

“Deeply, deeply saddened to learn that my longtime great friend and co-worker Bob Couttie has passed away,” added Michael Sellers, American novelist and film producer.

Sellers, Borrinaga and Couttie have teamed up for a documentary film, Balangiga I Honor and Sacrifice, which will be the “definitive and authoritative account of the Battle of Balangiga and the remarkable history of Balangiga”.

Couttie, a widower, was admitted to the Albino M. Duran Memorial Hospital in Balangiga before his death.

The British author was a life member of the Philippine National Historical Society and had lived in the country for almost 30 years.

Friends and relatives also organized a fundraiser for his funeral. Contact the family by commenting on Couttie’s Facebook, now run by his stepson. (SunStar Philippines)

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