FE POW order not to talk about their experiences

 Rob Forsyth

During the War in Japan many thousands of POWs suffered horrendously while employed as slave labour on the Burma Railway and many other places and had seen their fellow POWs tortured and killed. On release from their camps and after a period to recover health and some normality, they were trooped home. Before they left they were given the order reproduced below (courtesy of Don Anderson whose father was a POW) which instructed them in no circumstances to recount their experiences in order to protect the families and friends. Clearly no one had thought through the implications of bottling things up on the mental health of the ex-POWs themselves.

This was much like WWI when soldiers returning from the front could not or would not expose their families to the horrors of trench and gas warfare. 

One would like to think that the founding of the Royal British Legion Clubs provided an outlet for ex-service people to share and offload some of that mental burden. Nonetheless this order, which is not widely known about, must have caused a lot of mental harm.

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