War Graves Visit – Yokohama, February 2017

From Paul Murray, member of COFEPOW:

As well as attending the 75th anniversary commemorations for the Fall of Singapore next February, I intend afterwards to visit the Commonwealth War Cemetery at Yokohama in Japan and what remains of the POW camps on the northernmost island of Hokkaido where my father was held captive, namely Hakodate, Yakumo, Muroran, Nisi Ashibetsu, Utashinai and Akahira. His name was Major Francis J. Murray and, as well as being the senior British officer at the camps at Yakumo, Muroran and Nisi Ashibetsu between June 1943 and September 1945, he was those camps’ chief medical officer.

I would like to place a poppy remembrance cross at the graves of the 12 men who died on my father’s watch (download Roll of Honour). The list is not an exhaustive one and there may well have been other men who died during the period. One of the men’s remains I have not been able to locate. If any of the deceased’s relatives would like me also to place a small memento at their graveside or even simply to get in touch in advance of my visit, then please do email me. My address is mutil1@hotmail.co.uk

Photograph courtesy of Paul Murray: Kamikoge Aerodrome, Chitose on the 13th September 1945 as Major Francis Murray prepared to leave Hokkaido

Call for postgraduate bursary applications

The Researching Far East POW History Group (RFHG), in partnership with the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM)

6th International Research Conference: Legacies of Captivity

9 – 11 June 2017

Call for Postgraduate Bursary Applications

What was the personal impact of captivity in the Far East during the Second World War? How did survivors rebuild their lives post-liberation? And where do families share and preserve their stories today?

Combining medical expertise with the most current research, this three-day conference will be aimed at: families of former POWs and civilian internees; professionals in the heritage sector; researchers, writers and the general public. Events running throughout the weekend will encourage audiences to reflect on the myriad ways that histories of captivity in the Far East have influenced individuals, families and communities.

We are inviting postgraduate researchers to apply for a bursary that will cover their full conference delegate fee.

There are three bursaries available. To apply, please submit a one-page (A4) proposal explaining how the themes of this conference relate to your current research, and the benefits to your project/career development in attending.

Note that successful applicants will need to arrange their own travel and accommodation – the bursary covers delegate fee only.

Completed proposals should be emailed to Dr Lizzie Oliver: hrieo@leeds.ac.uk by 5pm on 8 July 2016

Applications will be reviewed by Professor Geoff Gill, Dr Lizzie Oliver and Dr Bernice Archer.

Informal enquiries about the conference, or your application, should be made to Meg Parkes MPhil meg.parkes@liverpool.ac.uk or Dr Lizzie Oliver: hrieo@leeds.ac.uk.

Download the Call for Applications here

Latest RFHG newsletter now available

Our latest newsletter is now available online: RFHG Newsletter

This issue includes news on the launch of our next conference in July 2017 (download a registration form here: RFHC2017RegistrationForm), plus updates on FEPOW research projects, book updates and news on Cambridge University’s Changi digitistion project.

If you have any articles, project updates or news that you would like us to include in the next issue – contact us, we’d love to hear from you!

 

 

Legacies of Captivity, 9 – 11 June 2017: BOOK NOW!

Legacies of Far East Captivity:  Sharing family archives, histories and the post-war impact of health issues

9 – 11 June 2017, Liverpool

In conjunction with the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM), the Researching FEPOW History Group (RFHG) are co-hosting the 6th International FEPOW History Conference, 9 – 11 June 2017.

Featuring FEPOW camps in Taiwan and Borneo; Friday Night at the Flicks – FEPOW history in film; PTSD and tropical disease, the post-war aftermath for FEPOW and their families, plus much more.

Confirmed speakers include: Anne Wheeler (Canadian film producer and creator of A War Story); Frank Taylor (Australian military history tours, Borneo camps); Rod Beattie (Thailand-Burma Railway Centre); Jeya Jeyadurai (Changi Museum Singapore); Michiel Schwartzenberg (International Committee of the Red Cross); Flora Chong (ALPHA Education – teaching younger generations about the war in the Far East).

Registration forms can be downloaded here: 2017 Conference – Registration Form

Delegate Fee held at £120 for the weekend. BOOK EARLY! – registrations must be received before mid-September 2016. Please send enquiries to Lizzie Oliver: lizzie.oliver@outlook.com

Exhibition: The Art of Survival

The Art of Survival

Drawings by Fred Ransome Smith, prisoner of war 11 December 2015 – 28 February 2016 – See more at:

Art of Survival

The launch of Fred Ransome Smiths Exhibition went really well and an interview he did with Channel 7 is shown below. Some of the artwork exhibited was produced when Fred was as a Lieutenant POW in camps on the Burma/Thai Railway, whilst others were drawn later from memory.

Fred was pleased with the exhibition as he was keen to get across the suffering and brutality that the POWs had to endure at the hands of the Japanese.

Fred, now 96, was a POW of the Japanese, having been captured at Singapore in February 1942 and then sent to work on the Thai-Burma Railway. During his three and half years of captivity he took the opportunity, at great personal risk, to draw incidences of the appalling treatment of his fellow POWs.

Fred joined up as a Lieutenant with the 5th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment, and despite originally being destined for the Middle East, arrived in Singapore in late January 1942, which he described as being “in a bad shape when we arrived”. Fred was born in 1919, London  and emigrated to Australia after the war where he continued his career in advertising. Following his retirement Fred lectured at La Trobe University in Bendigo, Victoria.

The Forgotten Prisoners of War

Free Event.

Unspoken: The Forgotten Prisoners of War

In conjunction with the 70th anniversary year commemorating VJ Day and the end of WWII, Wellcome Trust’s online science magazine Mosaic Science has published an audio documentary:

Based on Captive Memories, Far East POW and the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine

by Meg Parkes and Geoff Gill

The documentary features the eye witness accounts of eight former Far East POW veterans and others connected to this history who were interviewed for the Tropical School’s Far East POW oral history study.

Published 8 December 2015

53 minutes

Researched and narrated by Chris Chapman

Editor Mun-Keat Looi,

 

Click on link: https://soundcloud.com/mosaicscience/prisoners-of-war

Public Event:

Thursday 10 December

7 – 8pm

Hosted by the Wellcome Collection’s Reading Room

Euston Road

London

Meg and Geoff discuss the research that informed Captive Memories and the documentary, Unspoken.

Free, open to all

6.45pm onwards

Changi digitisation project: Cambridge

Originally posted by the Southeast Asia Library Group: Changi digitisation project at Cambridge University Library

 Cambridge University Library has been awarded a Wellcome Trust Research Resources Award to conserve, digitise and make freely available online the archives of two WWII civilian internment camps on Singapore – Changi and Sime Road. These form part of the Royal Commonwealth Society’s British Association of Malaysia and Singapore archives. The two-year grant commences in September 2015 and it is planned to launch the records in Cambridge Digital Library in August 2017.

The archives will be of immense interest to the families of internees, academic researchers, students and the general public, since few survivors ever spoke of their traumatic ordeal. The first stage of the project involves the meticulous conservation of the archives.

The archives contain invaluable primary sources for the reconstruction of the lives of Singapore’s civilian internees. They include official records compiled by the camps’ internal administration, which document personal data like an internee’s name, date entered camp, marital status, occupation, age, nationality, and camp address. Other sources shed light upon accommodation, camp discipline, relations with the Japanese authorities, work parties, diet, health and hygiene, recreation and leisure, the delivery of mail, and the repatriation of internees at the end of the war. Newspapers circulated within the male camp, such as the ‘Changi Guardian’, reported upon events, disseminated news of sporting, musical and theatrical societies, and published fiction, poetry and humour. These official records are complemented by the correspondence, diaries and memoirs of individual internees.

More information on the historical background and provenance of the archives can be found on the Cambridge University Library Special Collections webpage.

An article by Peng Han Lim on “Identifying and collecting primary sources of information to reconstruct the daily lives of the civilian internees at Changi Prison and Sime Road Camp 1942-45” is included in the SEALG Newsletter 2013.

Remembering captivity across Southeast Asia and the Far East during the Second World War