An illustrated talk by Paul Murray on his experiences in October as he follows the daily diary entries of his father’s secret Prisoner of War love letters written to Paul’s mother from the camps in Singapore and Japan, Feb 1942 to Sep 1945.
Saturday 10th March 2018, 7.30 p.m.
The Pavilion, St. Peter’s High School,
Stroud Road, Gloucester, GL4 ODD
Light refreshments will be provided by the School’s P.F.A.
Voluntary donations to the P.F.A. and Philomusica
It is with sadness that we have learned of the death of former FEPOW, Tom Boardman. Tom was a POW in Changi and on the Thai-Burma Railway. It was whilst a POW that Tom made a ukulele, fashioned out of Red Cross boxes and telegraph lines – leading singalongs around the fire at night in camp, to keep up morale and entertain his fellow men. You can hear him singing ‘Please don’t talk about me when I’m gone’ whilst playing that very ukulele by clicking this link.
Tom’s ukulele took pride of place in the Imperial War Museum, and was one of the objects used to commemorate the musem’s centenary in 2017. Most of you will remember Tom as a stalwart of our conferences and meetings. He even put in a guest appearance on Sunday afternoon in June last year. Always smiling, kind, wise and a true witness, he will be missed by many.
RFHG are delighted to be co-organising a one-day workshop, to be held at the University of Leeds on 19 March 2018. We really interested to hear from potential speakers – particularly anybody working in ‘new’ or understudied geographies and themes related to the experience (or memory) of captivity across Southeast Asia and the Far East during the Second World War.
Future Memories: Where next for Far East Prisoner of War studies?
19 March 2018
University of Leeds
in partnership with Researching FEPOW History Group (RFHG)
CALL FOR PAPERS
Drawing on the broad theme of captivity across Southeast Asia and the Far East, this one-day symposium aims to be a ‘seed’ event for larger projects planned to mark the 75th anniversary of VJ Day (2020).
Proposals are invited for 15-minute papers covering, but not limited to, the following topics:
- New perspectives, including transgenerational memory, perpetration, reconciliation, marginalised or ‘secret’/‘forgotten’ histories, influence of the Far Eastern experience on subsequent POWs in Korea and Vietnam
- Geographies and communities, including lesser-known geographies of captivity, military POWs, romushas, civilian internees, ‘comfort’ women
- Impact and engagement, including educational initiatives, exhibitions or memorial work, the role of third-sector organisations in developing impact,
- Making and marking memory, through life-writing, fictional depictions of Far Eastern captivity, creative responses, transnational connections
Please submit 250-word abstracts plus a 50-word biography to Emily Sharp (firstname.lastname@example.org) by 4 February 2018. We will notify you of acceptance by 15 February at the latest.
Postgraduate and early career bursaries
To support the work of early career researchers in the field, a limited number of bursaries will be available from RFHG to contribute towards the travel expenses of PGR/ECR speakers. Please note in your submission if you would like to be considered for a bursary, and why you think you should be offered one.
For all enquiries, please contact: email@example.com
You can also download the Call for Papers here.
The report from our ‘Legacies of Captivity’ conference, 9 – 12 June 2017, is now available to download here.
On behalf of the team, thank you to all of our wonderful speakers and delegates who made the weekend so memorable.
Veity Fitzgerald is a photographer, and her grandfather was a POW on the Thai-Burma railway. Take a look at her wonderful photo story here:
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!
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.
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.
Bill Pearson – Malaya 1942
Published in the Times Newspaper today 06 November 2015, the obituary of Bill Pearson, the last British survivor of the Malaya sabotage group.