Prisoner of war - The Far East

I know this is a VERY Sensitive issue, I'm planning to write an article on the Burma-Siam railway memorial at the National Arboretum at Alrewas in Staffordshire, I've spoken to them and they are happy for me to rummage through their archives etc, what they can't let me do is quote any stories, so I'm after recollections, I understand any stories I get will now be stories of parents and grandparents.

I've got a shoutout on COFEPOW (Children of Far East Prisoners of War) website Cofepow website link Ive also joined a WW2 forum but as yet I've got nothing.

So I thought I'd pop a link on here, obviously I'm not asking for stories to shared on here, but if you can help then PM me just a paragraph or so on conditions with names I can attribute them to.

Here's the memorial at Alrewas
Burma1.jpg
 

Joey Shabadoo

My pronouns are "He", "Him" and "buggerlugs"
I was told the War Graves Commission pays a man to tend the graves alongside the railway. He walks the entire length of the railway then turns around and retraces his steps. When I was told this in 2009, he'd been doing it for over 30 years.
 

Dirk

If 6 Was 9
I know this is a VERY Sensitive issue, I'm planning to write an article on the Burma-Siam railway memorial at the National Arboretum at Alrewas in Staffordshire, I've spoken to them and they are happy for me to rummage through their archives etc, what they can't let me do is quote any stories, so I'm after recollections, I understand any stories I get will now be stories of parents and grandparents.

I've got a shoutout on COFEPOW (Children of Far East Prisoners of War) website Cofepow website link Ive also joined a WW2 forum but as yet I've got nothing.

So I thought I'd pop a link on here, obviously I'm not asking for stories to shared on here, but if you can help then PM me just a paragraph or so on conditions with names I can attribute them to.

Here's the memorial at Alrewas
Thanks for the COFEPOW link, I'll pass it on to MrsD.
Her father was a Japanese prisoner of war for 4 years. He was captured at Singapore, shipped out to Japan where he was used as forced labour at a Kawasaki steel mill 8 miles outside of Nagasaki (he witnessed the A bomb). He died, aged 66 in 1982.
 
Thanks for the COFEPOW link, I'll pass it on to MrsD.
Her father was a Japanese prisoner of war for 4 years. He was captured at Singapore, shipped out to Japan where he was used as forced labour at a Kawasaki steel mill 8 miles outside of Nagasaki (he witnessed the A bomb). He died, aged 66 in 1982.
@Dirk You're welcome. I don't where the charity is based, I believe its a national charity but has a lot to do with the Arboretum at Alrewas due to large Far East Prisoners Memorial there, (Rail track and prison camp type hut with large exhibition in it) looks like you are quite away from the Arboretum but if are ever in the midlands it might be worth a visit for you both.

Here's a brief blog post about a visit Me and Mrs V made (on bikes) a while back tour de stuff Arboretum
 

Sharky

Guru
Location
Kent
I have a connection, but no stories. My Uncle was one of those who was being shipped out to fight the war somewhere, but was taken by the enemy and spent the war years as a POW. He never talked about it to me as I was a young nephew. I recall my Mum saying how thin he was when he returned to the UK and I remember him saying he would NEVER buy a car or anything that was made in Japan.

He came back and had a family (4 boys) and lived close by. When I knew him from about 10years after the war, he was much "fatter" and quite a jolly man, but never mentioned his time as a POW to me. Unfortunately my parents and his generation have all passed on, so nobody to ask. Of the 4 boys, the eldest recently passed away and have lost touch with the others.

Good luck with your article.

Just to add, that we were recently contacted by a researcher from
Exhibitions - The Erewash Museum
See Letters of Hope paragraph

They have letters from UK wives to POW's in their collection. One such letter was from my Aunt to my Uncle. We have yet to make contact with the museum for details, but we have been promised a copy of the letter.
 
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I have a connection, but no stories. My Uncle was one of those who was being shipped out to fight the war somewhere, but was taken by the enemy and spent the war years as a POW. He never talked about it to me as I was a young nephew. I recall my Mum saying how thin he was when he returned to the UK and I remember him saying he would NEVER buy a car or anything that was made in Japan.

He came back and had a family (4 boys) and lived close by. When I knew him from about 10years after the war, he was much "fatter" and quite a jolly man, but never mentioned his time as a POW to me. Unfortunately my parents and his generation have all passed on, so nobody to ask. Of the 4 boys, the eldest recently passed away and have lost touch with the others.

Good luck with your article.
thank you for your thoughtful reply. I understand a lot of people came home and never spoke of it.
 

johnblack

Über Member
My Grandfather ran a rubber plantation in Borneo. After the Japanese invasion, my Grandfather and Grandmother were split up and sent to separate internment camps, where my mother was born a few months later.
 

DRM

Veteran
Location
West Yorks
The vicar who married Mrs DRM & myself was a former Japanese POW, was a true gent, god only knows what he had to put up with, back then
 

Dirk

If 6 Was 9
My father in law only ever spoke about his experience once that I know of.
I remember the cigarette burn scars on his arms where the guards would stub out their ciggies on them.
He said that once, after he was found with some extra rice, that he was made to kneel and the officer unsheathed his sword, swung at him and hit his neck with the side of the blade.
Oddly enough, he bore no malice to the Japanese as a whole and rode a couple of Hondas during the time I knew him.
He was far more derogatory about some of the British politicians & officers who got him into the situation in the first place.
Funny to think that I am the same age now, as he was when he died.
His wife finally got some compensation from the Japanese government in1992, 10 years after he had died, which amounted to around £10000.
 

Dave7

Legendary Member
Location
Cheshire
My FiL was in the South Lancs and was captured in Burma.
Fortunately his captivity was relatively brief as the camp was then captured (by usa forces I think).
He was wounded twice, once by grenade and once by gunfire.
There is a small church somewhere in Cornwall that has a book of remembrance for soldiers that fought in Burma and people are asked to enter details of their relatives...... I wrote 'Chalky' Whites details and it brought tears to my eyes.
 
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