On 7 October 1945 the P&O liner Corfu docked in Southampton, the first ship carrying 1,500 former Far East Prisoners Of War (FEPOW) to arrive back in the UK after the end of hostilities in South East Asia. She was the first of 27 other ships to bring over 20,000 FEPOW back to Southampton, whilst another 17,000 or so went back to Liverpool.
These men were generally in poor physical condition and were often traumatised, but their official welcome was somewhat low key and they were encouraged not to discuss their frequently brutal treatment in the Japanese prison camps and not least on the Burma-Siam Railway.
To commemorate the 75th anniversary of this repatriation FEPOW 75, a group of local and dedicated volunteers launched a dedicated website on 7 October to highlight some of the aspects of the captivity of British Forces throughout S E Asia.
The website features interviews with survivors, individual case histories and studies and a gallery showing artwork created in the various camps and mostly never seen by a wide audience.
There will also be a section on poetry written in or about the camps and camp life, as well as about the sinking of the Hell-Ship Lisbon Maru by a survivor. The FEPOW 75 group wishes to invite school children and older students to write their own poetry, based on what they have seen and learned from the website and submit it, so that the best examples from each age group can be published on the site at a later date.
Explore the website and learn about the memorable day here. You can also read the news story by the Daily Echo here.
*Pictures and video courtesy of the FEPOW group, Southern Daily Echo and Southampton City Council*