A tribute to the Far East Prisoners of War
On 15 August 2020 it was 75 years since Japan surrendered to the Allies, and the Prisoners of War, who had been incarcerated and brutalised since the Fall of Singapore on 15 February 1942, could begin to look forward to coming home.
The men who were so treated were part of the "forgotten army”.
On VE Day in May 1945, while Europe rejoiced, they were still working, barely surviving, on building railways and roads, digging coal from mines, or imprisoned in gaols like Changi and many others scattered over Japan and beyond, or travelling in inhumane conditions on the “hell ships” towards prison or work camp.
These men trickled slowly home; were often silent, but never forgot what they had suffered. Most never regained their full health. All, now, have left us, and leave families who still grieve and memorials which bear no names, because there are so many whose names are not known.
As we don't forget the FEPOWs, neither do we forget those who fought in the Far East Campaign in and beyond Burma. They too are part of the "forgotten army".
At the moment details of these Swaffham men are scarce. Hopefully over time we can find out more.
These publications have been created to remember them:
Moulton Photograph Albums
In 2019, whilst working on these FEPOW documents, Swaffham Heritage was fortunate enough to be donated the Moulton photograph albums, mainly of military personnel from Sporle and Castleacre over the years. It also gives some detail of these men and women over several generations but no detailed research has as yet been conducted.
The FEPOW documents only touch the surface of this very valuable collection and was envisaged as a complementary document to the Swaffham World War II Remembrance project. This in itself is part of our HLF funded Conflict and Consequences project.
The albums are housed in Swaffham Heritage Archives. They are in the process of being scanned so that the original books will be kept safe and to make the content more accessible to the public.
In exploring the past we help guide the present which shapes our future.