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Ellie Taylor
ARRSE Rating
4 Mushroom Heads
From The Knights of Bushido and The Bridge on the River Kwai, tales of the Japanese brutality to their POWs abound. For every recorded war crime there must have been scores committed in unmarked clearings, deserted kampongs and in rivers or at sea. In Germany the SS and Gestapo murdered British captives while the traditional services generally respected the Geneva Convention. In the Far East all Japanese services showed a sadistic and brutal face to their captives, let alone their treatment of local forced labourers.

By their nature there were few photographs of their deeds , only hasty sketches by POWs. Many more went unreported as for many years as former POWs were told not to discuss their suffering (!) Their return home went largely unreported compared to those who had earlier returned from the European theatre of war.

This recent book tells the story of 22 service or policemen ranging in rank from private to Captain and representing all 3 services.

Ellie Taylor interviewed a rapidly shrinking pool of ex POWs and received great help from their families. She has produced a poignant tale of not only the suffering of these men but of the comradeship that sustained the survivors. The work has been well researched and help was received from the Imperial War Museum, Java FEPOW club and the Thai Burma Railway Centre.

The book devotes a chapter to each POW and the sketches and illustrations are relevant, imn some cases photographs of the men in the post war years.

The book runs to 202 pages with a decent index, a useful note of websites for further reading and a fulsome acknowledgment on those who assisted. As ever Pen & Sword print to a good standard. The cover price is £19.99 (Kindle £11.51) and there are copies from £12.99 on Amazon

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