FEPOW History Conference Report Now Available

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.

 

Advertisements

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!

 

 

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.

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.

Duncan Bannatyne

Forgotten Heroes

BBC 1 Thursday 5th November 09:15

Former Dragons’ Den businessman Duncan Bannatyne views rare documents which shed light on his father’s experiences as a prisoner of war in the Far East. Presenters Sophie Raworth and Andy Torbet are also joined by a veteran who endured years of forced labour in the same prison camps as Duncan’s dad.

Duncans Father was FEPOW  William Bannattyne, Pte, 2980214. At the end of the war he was held at the Fukuoka #17 Camp in Omuta, Kyushu, Japan, where he worked as a slave for the Mitsui Corporation Zinc Foundy.