Tag Archives: Jackie Sutherland

Even More Speakers Confirmed!

We can excitingly now announce the next six speakers for our June conference! Remember, to be the first to hear this news, make sure you are signed up for our newsletter. There are extremely limited spaces for the conference still available, so register now to avoid disappointment. Missed out on our other announcements? Click here to see all the latest conference news.

Sears Eldredge

M.F.A., Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Theater and Dance Department, Macalester College, St. Paul, MN

Besides Macalester College Eldredge has taught and directed theatre in colleges and professional schools including Justin Morrill College (the Experimental Liberal Arts College at Michigan State University); Earlham College; The Drama Studio, London and Berkeley, CA. He is the author of two books, Mask Improvisation for Acting Training and Performance (Northwestern Univ. Press, 1996), and the multi-media, Captive Audiences/Captive Performers: Music and Theatre as Strategies for Survival on the Thailand-Burma Railway 1942-1945 (Digital Commons, Macalester College, 2014).

With his presentation, Eldredge will complete the “Changi by the sea: Rice and Shine” blog he has been writing for the RFHG website. It will detail the final year and a half the FEPOWs spent in Changi Gaol, and the extraordinary music and theatre they produced for the incarcerated POWs when the need was most great.

Gen-Ling Chang

Gen-Ling Chang is the former associate director of Toronto District School Board and currently the deputy executive director with ALPHA Education. As an active education leader and volunteer, she has an unwavering focus on equity and humanity issues and education. Making a difference for young people and their families who experience bias, discrimination, and stigmatization characterizes her years of service leadership in education and not-for-profit sectors.

Gen Ling’s service leadership then, and volunteer work now, are grounded in understanding education as an important institution of democracy, at the same time, its role in contributing to peace education. Working with ALPHA Education team, in building programs on critical understanding of WW2 in Asia, often overlooked in school curriculum, has further her work on youth engagement and leadership. ALPHA Education’s bold and necessary project to establish a peace museum dedicated to remembering, education, and world peace has been profoundly meaningful experiences for Gen Ling.

Arlene Bennett

In 1974 Arlene read Betty Jeffrey’s biography, White Coolies, the diary of her time as a prisoner of the Japanese during World War II in Indonesia. She was profoundly moved by the story of the Australian nurses.

She began her training at The Royal Melbourne Hospital in 1978. Following her training, she completed a Staff Year and then commenced a Coronary Care Course also at the RMH. She followed on and did her midwifery training at the Royal Women’s Hospital,
Melbourne. She returned to the Royal Melbourne Hospital, where she held the positions of Charge Nurse (Nurse Unit Manager) and Nurse Educator. She completed a Graduate Diploma in Adult Education at the University of Melbourne.

She is the Treasurer of the Lemnos – Gallipoli Commemorative Committee, which commemorates the Australian Nurses who served in Greece during World War I, a member of the Royal Melbourne Hospital’s Heritage Advisory Committee and is also an active member of Friends of Banka Island who assists the local community with aid as well as conducting the annual commemorative service for the nurses lost in the massacre on Banka Island. She was the immediate past president of the Australian Nurses Memorial Centre and remains on the History and Heritage Committee. She is an active participant in the commemoration of all nurses who have served from before Federation and, in particular, those nurses who lost their lives in Indonesia or were imprisoned during World War II and was recently interviewed by the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federations ANMJ journal for their ANZAC Day remembrance of Vivian Bullwinkel. She has a close relationship with many of the families who had relatives in the camps or who had been massacred on Banka Island.

She has travelled to all of the sites in Indonesia where the camps were during World War II and has recently returned from Java, Banka Island and Sumatra.

Terry Smyth

Dr Terry Smyth was awarded a PhD in Sociology from the University of Essex in 2017; since then, he has been a Community Fellow in their Department of History (an honorary role). From his earliest days, he wondered how his own childhood had compared with those of other children of FEPOWs. After careers in the NHS and in further and higher education, this curiosity led to a PhD based on in-depth interviews. Terry has spoken about his research at conferences in the UK, Japan, and the Netherlands and has also written two chapters for edited volumes.

His single-authored book, ‘Captive Fathers, Captive Children: Legacies of the War in the Far East’, was published in November 2022 in hardback; the paperback edition is due in July 2023.

Terry’s father, Edwin, was captured in Java and then spent three years in Japan in Hiroshima 6B camp, slaving as a coal miner, where he felt the rumble of the first atomic bomb.

Jackie Sutherland

With a life-long interest in geography and environmental issues, Jackie Sutherland graduated with a degree from Aberdeen University. Her professional career has been varied. She has worked for a major conservation charity, lectured on environmental studies, and, most recently, was head of a large secondary school geography department.

She developed a broad interest in military history after she met her husband, a military historian and author. Together they have visited and studied several sites ranging from the Somme to Gallipoli and the Crimea, from Singapore to the Falkland Islands.

In Singapore, her increasing awareness of the broader historical context led her to see her late father’s POW diaries in a different light and to understand better the magnitude of her parents’ wartime experiences.

It was this new insight that led to the decision to publish

James Reynolds

James Reynolds is the grandson of the late Eric Cordingly, and the son of FEPOW speaker Louise Cordingly Reynolds. James has worked as a BBC journalist since 1997. He was posted as a foreign correspondent to Santiago de Chile, Jerusalem, Beijing, Washington, Istanbul, and Rome. He is now a presenter on the World Service.

Doctor Behind the Wire

Jackie Sutherland, author of Doctor Behind the Wire: The Diaries if POW, Captain Jack Ennis, Singapore, 1942-1945, writes about how she uncovered the identity of who sketched her father as a POW in Singapore.

The answer was there all the time!

The search began in an attempt to find out more about the artist who sketched my late father, Captain Jack Ennis, while a POW in Singapore. No more was known other than the signature ‘F.J. White’.

Sketch of Captain Jack Ennis, image courtesy of Jackie Sutherland

Reading through lists of FEPOW gave several possible identities but then, quite by chance, as I leafed through papers on my desk, the sunlight caught a tiny reflection on the back of the sketch.  Graphite – pencil – on the dull brown paper, a page from a photograph album.

There, in my father’s small spidery writing, he had noted ‘Drawn by “Willie” White in January 1944 at Selerang after a hockey match’.

This was a name I had come across while transcribing my father’s diaries – but it had never occurred to me that ‘Willie’ might be a nickname. Sadly, my father had also recorded Willie’s death (from illness) in May later that same year.

Following the trail from the Commonwealth War Graves Commision website, I was able to find out more about this remarkable artist. F. John White (nickname ‘Willie’), a trained commercial artist, had enlisted with the Sherwood Foresters (Nottingham and Derbyshire Regiment) and with the 1/5th Battalion, was captured in Singapore. During his time as a POW he was very involved in theatre productions, designing posters and scenery as well as acting.

To quote from my father’s diary (on a production of Aladdin) ‘Young (John) Willie White of our Mess made up as a wonderful princess, very, very pretty girl. Steve Campbell sent up a bouquet of flowers after.’

‘Willie’ John White must have drawn many portraits. As  Capt G K Marshall wrote in his Changi Diaries.’

‘25th January 1944. Had a sunbathe on the roof and later sat for Willie while he did a portrait of me. He finished it by lunchtime and made a very good job of it, the best I have seen him do.’

Willie White’s portrait of my father was only recognized 75 years after VJ Day, which makes me think how many more portraits and sketches of our relatives are waiting to be discovered?

Doctor Behind the Wire, by Jackie Sutherland

Although other books have featured Jack and Elizabeth Ennis, this is the first complete account of their story – from meeting in up-country Malaya (the rain forest, the orchids) – to their marriage in Singapore just days before it fell to the Japanese, and then through the long separation of internment.

Published here for the first time, Jack’s diaries record the daily struggles against disease, injuries and malnutrition and also the support and camaraderie of friends. enjoyment of concerts, lectures, and sports, Ever observant, he records details of wildlife.

The inspiration for the ‘Changi Quilts’, the story of the Girl Guide quilt (now in the Imperial War Museum) is told in words by Elizabeth, written after the war.

Elizabeth’s former employer, Robert Heatlie Scott, distinguished Far East diplomat, was also POW in Changi, much of the time in solitary confinement or under interrogation by the Japanese.

The individual experiences of these three persons are dramatic enough – together they combine in an amazing story of courage, love and life-long friendship.

You can pre-order Jackie’s book through the Pen and Sword website here.