We can excitingly now announce the next three speakers for our June conference! Remember, to be the first to hear this news, make sure you are signed up for our newsletter. Limited spaces for the conference are still available, so register now to avoid disappointment. Missed out on the first three speakers, click here to see who they are.
Carl Murray is Emeritus Professor of Mathematics and Astronomy at Queen Mary University of London. He obtained his PhD from Queen Mary in 1980 and then spent two years as a postdoc at Cornell University before returning to Queen Mary. Carl is a planetary scientist who specialises in the dynamics of the Saturn system.
Carl’s father was Major Frank Murray RAMC, who survived incarceration as a FEPOW in Changi and Hokkaido, Japan, before returning to Belfast to marry his fiancée, Eileen O’Kane. In the 1980s, Carl began to use his father’s wartime diary to learn more about the experiences of FEPOWs. In 2020 this research led to the creation of a website, thebelfastdoctor.info, where Carl documented Frank Murray’s life with the aim of providing a useful resource for descendants of Frank’s fellow POWs. In 2022 BBC Gaeilge broadcast an Irish language documentary based on the wartime correspondence between Frank and Eileen.
John Willis is one of Britain’s best-known television executives. Nagasaki: The Forgotten Prisoners is his third book about the Second World War, following on from Churchill’s Few and Secret Letters: A Battle of Britain Love Story, both published in 2020.
John was Director of Programmes at Channel 4 and Director of Factual and Learning at the BBC. In 2012 he was elected as Chair of BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts). He is currently Chair of Governors at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (University of London) and Chair of the Complaints Review Panel, Guardian and Observer newspapers.
Louise Reynolds is a qualified psychotherapist and worked for 20 years as a couples’ therapist in London for Relate, for the Tavistock Centre and in private practice. Before that, she worked for the BBC as a studio manager (radio) and floor manager (television) and then for BBC Radio Training. When her husband was appointed BBC Foreign Correspondent, she and their young family spent nine years abroad in New York, Brussels and Jerusalem and latterly in Washington, and she contributed some radio features to Woman’s Hour and The Sunday Programme.
She began her research into her father’s experiences as a FEPOW after discovering his diaries amongst her mother’s papers in 2012. They covered his time as a Padre in Changi and then in Kanchanaburi beside the River Kwai, where he buried over 600 young men who had died of complications due to the appalling conditions of their captivity. She has published four books: Down to Bedrock, The Changi Cross and Eric and Scrunchball (a children’s book) and then in 2019, she embarked on a series of interviews for her latest publication, Echoes of Captivity, which illustrates and exposes the trans-generational trauma experienced by many FEPOW families. She has used her therapy training as a basis for understanding this phenomenon.
2 thoughts on “More Speakers Confirmed”
I’m surprised you have never had writer, Hilary Custance Green, author of “Surviving The Death Railway: A POW’s Memoir and Letters From Home” to speak at a conference.
It’s exciting to see the announcement of the next three speakers for the upcoming conference! Carl Murray’s background in mathematics and astronomy, as well as his interest in planetary science and his father’s wartime experiences, make him an intriguing addition to the conference lineup. It’s fascinating to see how personal experiences can drive academic research and lead to the creation of valuable resources for others. I appreciate the effort that went into documenting Major Frank Murray’s life on thebelfastdoctor.info and making it accessible to descendants of his fellow POWs. Thank you to the author for sharing this announcement and for the opportunity to learn from such diverse and knowledgeable speakers.