We’re getting close to our June conference! If you’re joining us, here is who from RFHG you can expect to see speak!
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Geoff Gill is Emeritus Professor of International Medicine at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) and the University of Liverpool, and a retired NHS Consultant Physician.
At LSTM he has been involved in the medical care of ex-Far East Prisoners of War (POWs), as well as extensive clinical research into their ongoing health problems – notably persisting malaria and amoebic dysentery, chronic worm infestations, hepatitis B infection, long-term effects of vitamin deficiency, and the extensive psychological aftermath. He has published extensively on these and other POW-related health issues. More recent research has involved the medical history of the Far East POW experience, in particular on the Thai-Burma Railway.
Meg trained as a State Registered Nurse in Manchester in the 1970s. Her father, Captain (later Dr) Atholl Duncan, was a survivor of captivity in Java and Japan. Following his death in 1997 Meg self-published his POW diaries.
In 2007 she joined the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) to undertake an oral history study interviewing Far East prisoners of war. The resulting 67 interviews formed the basis of her dissertation MPhil.
Recent research has focused on the war art of previously “unrecognised” FEPOW artists. Most of the 69 British military artists uncovered were unknown to researchers. A Lottery Heritage Fund grant helped to stage the “Secret Art of Survival” exhibition in Liverpool, 2019-2020 (www.captivememories.org.uk).
Meg was lead author on, Captive Artists, the unseen artwork of British Far East prisoners of war, written with Geoff Gill and Jenny Wood. Meg was awarded an Honorary Research Fellowship by LSTM in 2014.
Michiel Schwartzenberg has now become an independent and evening historian. He worked at the WW2 Netherlands Red Cross Archive up to 2020 and now is employed at the The Hague Municipal Archive.
He has just completed a book (in Dutch) about lesser known aspects of the Birma Siam Railway. One chapters will be presented at the RFHG Conference. The next book is going to move away from World War 2, but not the region. It will be on AFNEI, Allied Forces Netherlands East Indies, and the British occupation of Netherlands East Indies / Indonesia between October 1945 and November 1946. Told from British perspective and based on British archives. For the English a no-brainer, for the Dutch a novelty.
Emily joined the University of Leeds in October 2016 to study for her Master by Research in History degree, which focussed on how the Second World War in Singapore has been differently memorialised in Australia, Great Britain, and Singapore. She successfully completed her MA thesis in July 2018.
She is currently completing her PhD in History, also at the University of Leeds. This project aims to examine the cultural backgrounds of the men who were sent to fight in Singapore, and subsequently ended up in captivity as Prisoners of War of the Japanese, as part of the Australian and British forces. It will then compare these backgrounds and the actions/experiences of the soldiers during the battle and in captivity to see if the pre-war experiences had an impact on how each army behaved during the Second World War in Singapore.