Cambridgeshire

Far Eastern POWs honoured 65 years after their return

Burma railway memorial at National Memorial Arboretum
Image caption The Burma railway memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire

Far Eastern Prisoners of War (FEPOWs) were honoured at a ceremony at the Guildhall in Cambridge.

The event on 17 February marked the 65th anniversary of a civic ceremony held to welcome the World War II prisoners home.

Cambridge city councillor Lewis Herbert said at least 10 FEPOWs had attended. "Several are frail but still strong in spirit," he said.

He helped organise the event with the city's mayor, Sheila Stuart.

The ceremony will honour the soldiers from Cambridgeshire who were among those captured by the Japanese at the fall of Singapore in 1942.

Many of them were serving with the Cambridgeshire Regiment.

By 1945 nearly 800 of them had died in action or due to ill-treatment by the Japanese.

Mr Herbert has been in touch with former committee members of the Yasume Club and other FEPOW organisations in Cambridge.

"Over the years, several people in Coleridge ward which I represent and other Cambridge residents have mentioned their relatives to me," he said.

In 1992 Mr Herbert travelled to one end of the Burma railway at Kanchanaburi in Thailand. While there he visited the grave of Cpl Herbert Mappeldoram, the uncle of a work colleague.

Cpl Mappeldoram served with the 1st Battalion The Cambridgeshire Regiment, and is one of nearly 7,000 Allied prisoners of war buried at Kanchanaburi.

Mr Herbert is now in discussions with the surviving Cambridgeshire FEPOWs, who are in their 90s, about setting up a permanent tribute to them in Cambridge.

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