Far East Prisoners of War

#1
I'm doing some research for my next book, Shamrock and Bushido. It's about Irish citizens serving with the British armed forces during WWII who became POWs of the Japanese.

So far I've located the original POW records of 583 Southern Irish FEPOWs, though there are likely to have been more than this. A little under 20% of these men died in captivity, from starvation, disease, overwork and general brutality and torture, though a few were executed.

Sadly, due to the passage of time, there aren't too many former FEPOWs [of any nationality] still around. But if anyone is in contact with any FEPOW who'd be willing to speak to me I'd be grateful to hear from you.

My website, Robert Widders, has some more info about Irish soldiers in the British armed forces and the FEPOWs. I can also be contacted via the contact or blog page.

Thanks a lot...
 
#2
I know that Gen Percival of Singapore fame became the President of Far East Prisoners of War association and understand it still exists.

john
 
#4
Thanks guys, very much appreciate your input. I'm in touch with COFEPOW and various other organisations. They do a fantastic job. But for their own reasons not all veterans and families like to keep in touch with the various groups and societies. Hence spreading my net widely with postings [here] and so on.

Regards
 
#5
I'm doing some research for my next book, Shamrock and Bushido. It's about Irish citizens serving with the British armed forces during WWII who became POWs of the Japanese.

So far I've located the original POW records of 583 Southern Irish FEPOWs, though there are likely to have been more than this. A little under 20% of these men died in captivity, from starvation, disease, overwork and general brutality and torture, though a few were executed.

Sadly, due to the passage of time, there aren't too many former FEPOWs [of any nationality] still around. But if anyone is in contact with any FEPOW who'd be willing to speak to me I'd be grateful to hear from you.

My website, Robert Widders, has some more info about Irish soldiers in the British armed forces and the FEPOWs. I can also be contacted via the contact or blog page.

Thanks a lot...
My maternal great grandfather was an Irish soldier serving in the British Army who was tortured by the Japs and came home a broken man and died in his early fifties long before I was born, I was told this by my grandad (ex-2 para) who is now sadly passed away as well, so unfortunatly I don't know anymore about this subject than that, but I would be very interested in buying your book.
 
#6
Try the Commonwealth War Graves, Hong Kong,Singapore,Malaya, there was a lot of Irish in the in the capture of the regiments who served there <Black Watch,RHF,Middlesex regiment
 
#7
There's a book out called the forgotten highlander released last year about a FEPOW time in the camps very grim reading might be worth getting in touch with the author as it was about his experiences he may be able to help
 
#8
I expect you've already come across this book in your research but the best book I've read (actually, it's the only one that springs to my mind at this moment) by an Irish FEPOW is Tim Finnerty's 'All Hell on the Irrawaddy'

He was captured in a lesser known but nevertheless significant operation where the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers were sent from India at the beginning of the Far East war to try to protect the Burma oilfields.

He also wrote a book describing his military life up to that point. It's called "All Quiet on the Irrawaddy' It's very hard to get hold of now but it's a good account of life leading up to the big conflict- like Walter Gibson's 'Highland Laddie'
 
#9
Mark thanks for your posting. Sadly, too many guys came back 'broken' from the grim treatment given them. If you want to send me some details about your great-grandfather, full name and date of birth, I can (most probably) find a little information about him and his experiences and send it on to you.
If you don't want to put personal stuff like that on an open forum posting you can get in touch with me via my website, Robert Widders
 
#12
No, I hadn't heard of this book. So thanks, I'll check it out. Of course, being in the Skins, he may have come from Northern Ireland which will put him outside the parameters of my research (Irish Republic). But no doubt I'll enjoy the book regardless... appreciate your help.
Rob
 
#13
Are you only interested in military prisoners of war? If civilians count, try ABCIFER (Association of British Civilian Internees, Far East Region), ASJIG (Association of Singaporean Jewish Internees or something similar). Burma Star and RBL probably also worth contacting if you haven't already.
 
#14
There is also an anglo japanese ex POW society focused on reconciliation. I think they meet annually at the Japanese embassey in London. The Japanese embassy could probably put you in touch with them.
 

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#15
#16
There is also an anglo japanese ex POW society focused on reconciliation. I think they meet annually at the Japanese embassey in London. The Japanese embassy could probably put you in touch with them.
This sounds like the one organised by Mrs Keiko Holmes- She also leads the charity that organises visits to Japan and other Far East locations for ex-FEPOWS.
She would be in a position to place to in touch with any surviving Irish POWs that are in contact.

Her contact details are on the Agape site;

Agape Contacts Page
 
#17
This sounds like the one organised by Mrs Keiko Holmes- She also leads the charity that organises visits to Japan and other Far East locations for ex-FEPOWS.
She would be in a position to place to in touch with any surviving Irish POWs that are in contact.

Her contact details are on the Agape site;

Agape Contacts Page
Some really good ideas/leads in the postings. Thanks very much guys.
Rob
 
#18
There's a book out called the forgotten highlander released last year about a FEPOW time in the camps very grim reading might be worth getting in touch with the author as it was about his experiences he may be able to help
I've just got that book. I read an article in a newspaper about it and couldn't not find it and buy it, if you know what I mean.
 
#20
Thanks for all the very helpful suggestions.

Here's a bit of an up-date for anyone who is interested. The final bit of research into the total numbers of Southern Irishmen (in the British forces) who ended up in the Japanese POW camps is 650. This is almost surely an underestimate, but it's as close as I'm going to get to an accurate figure.

Around 20% of the Irish FEPOWs died: around three quarters of these from causes which we would (today) class as murder.

I'll put a few research updates on my website Robert Widders if anyone wants to look in. The next update will be on escapes - a couple of Irishmen did manage to get away.

Thanks
 

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