Prisoners of War of the Japanese 1942-1945

These photos weren’t taken by me.


Bridge over the River Kwai


Train passing over Wampo Viaduct – Burma Thailand Railway


Chungkai Cutting (British Labour)


Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum


Buddhist Temple Tha Kanun


Tranquil River Kwai (Home Phu Toey)



Poem by Arthur Leggatt

Some of you young folk sicken me
When you survey the past from here – today.
Ignoring history as it was,
The part us old blokes had to play.

Have you not heard of nurses
Herded out into the water
Then machine-gunned for no reason
But indifferent, callous slaughter?

Have you all forgotton scenes
From The Railroads murderous toil?
The starving mob in Changi Gaol?
The dead on Ambon’s soil?

Let me tell you who they were,
These ulcer-ridden shapes.
Kicked and tortured – bashed to death.
They were my teenage mates!

The chaps whom I played cricket with
Or swelled the football’s cheers.
We sailed our yacht upon The Swan,
Laughed together. Drank our beers.

Have you forgotton Darwin town was bombed?
Broome and Wyndham wrecked?
New Guinea nearly over-run?
Forgotten who was next?

The Invader pounded at the door!
Reached out with yellow hand
To raze my city, rape my kin
And take my native land!

Now you cry for the vanquished
Shout “Shame” with great aplomb.
Condemn my generation
And its immoral atom bomb.

A wars a bloody awful thing
In which Man murders Man.
Yet, fifty years along Life’s Track,
No one gives a damn!

But before you weep for the enemy
And mourn his tragic cost,
Sit down and quietly ask yourself,
“My God! What if we’d lost?”

Written by Arthur Leggatt in 10 minutes, at a writers & poets gathering, shortly after listening to some younger, much younger, people who had spoken extremely critically about the dropping of the atom bomb on Japan.

Barnett Freedman – War Artist


Barnett Freedman at work with helmet!


Barnett Freedman in what looks like full military uniform, in a brisk wind, painting, with his easel, his hat still intact! 


Sketches showing Barnett Freedman mowing down Hitler in his tank! At the back of the tank he is painting, with his easel on wheels, love these!!!!



Uncle Tom


This photo is my Uncle Tom.  I am researching my family, at the moment I haven’t got much information all I know is that he fought in Burma in the Second World War.



Winning Your Wings

General Sir Montgomery Artist Unknown


“General Sir Bernard Montgomery” Artist unknown, 1943

A portrait of General Sir Bernard Montgomery, popularly referred to as ‘Monty’, wearing his characteristic double-badged tank corps beret and watch chain. Commissioned in 1908, from 1939-40 he commanded the Third Division in France until the evacuation of Dunkirk.

In 1942 he was sent to command the British Eighth Army in Africa. Winning the battle of El Alamein and driving the Germans 2,000 miles across Africa to Tunisia made him a hero to the British public. Montgomery’s victory in the desert was characterised by Churchill as being ‘The end of the beginning’. Monty led the Eighth Army in Sicily and Italy until December 1943, and was made Field Marshal in 1944. This image was used as one of a series of famous British heroes’ posters, which was accompanied by the following text.

“FOR VICTORY. GENERAL SIR BERNARD LAW MONTGOMERY. Leader of Britain’s great Eighth Army, General Sir Bernard Law Montgomery opened his attack on the Axis at El Alamein in October 1942; by May 13th 1943 the victorious British and Allied Armies had reached Cape Bon and all Axis resistance in North Africa ended. General Montgomery is now leading his men to fresh victories in the important Mediterranean area.”


El Alamein Facts

Did you know that both the Germans and Allies sang the same song while serving in the Western Desert?

The German ballad ‘Lili Marlene’ was popular among Afrika Korps troops serving in North Africa before being adopted by the 8th Army. Fearing that ‘Lili Marlene’ could demoralize their troops, the British commissioned an English version of the song, written in 1942 by Tommy Connor. In the United States the Berlin-born star Marlene Dietrich recorded another English translation. Within a relatively short period, ‘Lili Marlene’ went from the obscurity of the Western Desert to become one of the best-known songs of the war.

Did you know that the ‘British’ 8th Army in North Africa consisted of soldiers from 16 different nationalities?

As well as soldiers from Britain, there were Australian, Canadian, Indian, Nepalese, New Zealand, Maltese, Palestinian, Transjordanian, Rhodesian and South African troops from the Commonwealth, alongside Free French, Czech, Greek, Yugoslav and Polish troop.

 Did you know that the water ration for a British soldier serving in the Western Desert was a 4.5 litres (a gallon) a day?

 In the desert natural water supplies were almost non-existent. Water had to be transported in. Half of each man’s water ration went for cooking and topping up the radiators of vehicles. Men had to ration what was left for drinking, washing and shaving. The British water containers were flimsy and leaked. The Germans used a metal container with a cap and strong handles known as the Jerry can. These were a prized item and were looted from the enemy whenever possible.

 Did you know that during the summer (May-October) the temperature in the Western Desert reaches 60C (140F)?

The daytime temperatures in the North African desert range from 20-60C and it is often 40C (104F) in the shade. The highest temperatures are in the late afternoon. At night the temperature drops. The extreme heat of the day and intense cold of night made life uncomfortable for the troops. The shortage of water increased their discomfort. The heat was a particular problem for armoured units. The inside of tanks was almost unbearable and made worse by the heat of engines and guns.

Did you know that visitors to the Western Desert can still see wartime vehicle tracks crossing the terrain?

During the war there was only one paved road that ran along the North African coast and even this was not complete on the outbreak of hostilities. Both the Allies and the Germans had to struggle across rocky plateaus, sand dunes and dusty depressions in what was an empty and barren landscape.



Dame Laura Knight Ruth Largus


Exhibition: “Cairo was infested with bugs”

The Battle for North Africa

“In 1941, Field Marshal Rommel’s Afrikakorps was pressing the British forces in Egypt. Allied soldiers were hurried to Egypt to reinforce the British 8th Army. This exhibition relives the story of supporting the British Army in North Africa through the reminiscences of Dave Hutton, Bob Smith and George Arnott It also explores photographs, maps, documents and artefacts of that time.”…

Elisabeth Frink RA – A Retrospective Exhibition


Elisabeth Frink: A Retrospective






19. February — 21. April, The Lightbox, Chobham Road

Woking, Surrey, GU21 4AA, Main and Upper Gallery

Eagle Lectern (c) Elisabeth Frink Estate

Dame Elisabeth Frink RA (1930-1993) is widely considered to be the most celebranted female figurative sculptor in 20th Century Britain.

This retrospective exhibition, the first in over 25 years, brings together many of Frink’s most important works with photography, correspondence and personal items, a number of which will be displayed for the first time.

Having trained at Guildford and Chelsea School of Art, Frink was associated with the ‘Geometry of Fear’ sculptors during her early career, winning a prize in the ‘Monument to the Unknown Political Prisoner’ competition.  But as artists of the 1960s turned increasingly to abstraction, Frink continued to develop an interest in figurative work, focusing upon naturalistic imagery, making her unique amongst her peers.

Recurring forms of men, animals and birds were employed by the artist to explore great themes such as aggression, vulnerability, suffering and struggle.