15 August 2011

The Fatal Flag - The Top Brass in Captivity

This is the true story of English POW Brigadier Claude Richards, which adds a missing dimension to the many accounts of this period in Japanese WWII history. It concentrates on the plight of high-ranking officers whose experiences as a group have largely been ignored.

Made possible by his copious yet covertly written notes, Claude's legacy also presented an opportunity to write a partial biography of his interesting family at a time when the misfortunes of war kept it apart. Deprived of any letters from his wife for the majority of his imprisonment, Claude still generated vital psychological support from the connection he maintained by writing notional letters to her. His conversational narrative also contains frequent appraisals of his fellow officers - not always complimentary!

From the malarious tropics of Formosa to the freezing gales of Manchuria, ageing men endured physical and mental abuse, the torment of starvation and the attrition of disease, but it was a consolation 'to the wretched to have companions in misery' and most survived. A combination of literature, cards, rumour and humour, or the stimulation of latent wanderlust in some cases, helped relieve the ennui and frustration of those wasted years.

Available from:
Troubador Publishing