An emaciated prisoner of war after liberation from a Japanese camp, 1945 (c)
Photograph, World War Two, Far East (1941-1945), 1945 (c).
Around 13,000 British prisoners of war (POWs) died in Japanese captivity during World War Two, the victims of malnutrition, disease and violence. Many of these men had become POWs when Singapore was taken in February 1942 and were to spend the next three and a half years in captivity.
The men were used as forced labourers on Japanese military projects in Japan, in the Malay peninsular and on the construction of the Thai-Burma railway linking Bangkok and Rangoon. The Japanese treated these men inhumanely because they believed that surrender was dishonourable and that it was a soldier's duty to commit suicide if captured.
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National Army Museum, Study collection
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