Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Captured

Those of you living in the North of England may be interested to hear that the Imperial War Museum in Manchester is about to open a new exhibition, Captured: The Extraordinary Life of PoWs, which will attempt to recreate conditions for prisoners at camps around the world during wartime. To coincide with this event, Radio 4's Woman's Hour is interviewing female survivors of prison camps on Friday 29th May at 10am. You can tune in via their website here. One of the interviewees is Bernice Archer, an authority on various camps similar to Batu Lintang where my grandparents and mother were interned. Given this connection, I sent a copy of my Foto8 Magazine column to Nicola Swords, the editor at R4's Woman's Hour, and received this super response:

"Hi Sarah. Thank you very much for this. It's a lovely and very poignant article. The picture is amazing. I imagine it means a lot to you. One of the women who is coming on the program, Maria Ring, told me over the phone, that she has a photograph of herself and her mother taken by a Japanese guard at one of the camps. She was only about 3 or 4 in it. As you will know Bernice is taking part in the program as well as Maria and her sister Vilma, who was 11 when she was interned. I'm afraid we fixed the interviews quite a while ago and we can only really accommodate three in the studio - otherwise I would been straight on the phone to see if you would have liked to take part! Anyway thank you for sending me the article - it was very interesting to read."

Anyone who'd like to read the article is very welcome to do so, as I have an emailable pdf of the column as it appears in Foto8. Just drop me a line.

8 comments:

Nik Perring said...

Brilliant stuff. I might just get myself along to the IWM...

Sarah Hilary said...

It does look terrific, Nik. That Red Cross parcel on the web page must be similar to those my mother just about remembers from her time in the camp. (Horribly, it was the dropping of a crate like this days after liberation that killed a young man who'd survived captivity in good health.)

Claudia said...

I meant to say that earlier, but thank you for sending me the column, Sarah! It was a very interesting and deeply moving read about a period of time I knew next to nothing about before. With the circumstances in mind, the photo is really quite haunting!

(Bear with me while I'm finding my way around Blogspot. It's all quite confusing when you're not used to it!)

Sarah Hilary said...

Thanks, Claudia, I'm so glad you found it interesting to read. Lovely to see you here, although I know what you mean about navvigating a different style of blog.

Gay Degani said...

You do have a way of finding the most poignant and interesting topics, Sarah. Love your piece and am excited that there's so much talk about this. With the world the way it is these days, it's important to remember the past...and how it got that way.

Sarah Hilary said...

Thanks, Gay, although really this found me. I'm very conscious of my role as 'custodian' of this piece of family history. For a long time I felt ill-equipped to tackle it, for that reason, but I'm finding ways to do justice to it, I hope. It's such an important part of history, and deserves to be better known.

Angus MacGregor said...

Hello Sarah. My name is Grant ARMSTRONG. Maria (Pamela) RING (nee STUBBS) and Vilma HOWE (nee STUBBS) are my second cousins. They are the nieces of my Grandmother Jennie Catherine ARMSTRONG (late of Middlesex) and the daughters of my Grand Aunt Theresa. I was four years old when I last saw Maria (whom I knew as Pamela), Aunt Theresa and Vilma. I never forgot them and always longed to get in touch with them. I recently spoke with Vilma who filled me in on the capture of my paternal grandfather Claude Harold ARMSTRONG who was subsequently killed by the Kemoi Tai at the Outrim Road prison in Singapore. I would give me right arm to contact Maria and would very much appreciate it if you could pass on my email address to her. My email address is scotia@dcsi.net.au

I would be ever so grateful to you.

Warm Regards

Grant ARMSTRONG

Sarah Hilary said...

Thanks, Angus, I'd love to help but am not sure how I can. My family were PoWs in Borneo not Singapore, so most of my research is based out of Batu Lintang camp in Borneo. What routes have you already tried?