FEPOW (Far East Prisoner of War) Day was first conceived in 2007 in the UK and is a concerted drive to have August 15th designated as a day to especially remember all those – military and civilians, who suffered imprisonment by the Japanese during World War II. The movement is spreading worldwide and for the first time ever in 2008 the event was celebrated in Taiwan.
Organized by the Taiwan POW Camps Memorial Society and co-sponsored by the Department of Cultural Affairs of the Taipei City Government, the event was held at the Taipei Film House in the heart of the city on Sunday August 10th.
More than 30 people turned up for the afternoon’s activity which featured an exhibition of World War II and prisoner of war artifacts from the Society’s growing museum collection, a remembrance service for the POWs and the showing of the film “A War Story” – which depicts the life of Major Ben Wheeler a Canadian doctor in the infamous Kinkaseki Camp.
Society board member Jerome Keating was the emcee and after welcoming all the guests, explained a little of what
FEPOW Day means and what its goals are for the future. Society director Michael Hurst MBE then shared a little of the Taiwan POWs’ story and what the Society is doing to tell that story and make sure that the former Taiwan POWs are never forgotten.
Just prior to the showing of the film a short remembrance service was held on behalf of all the FEPOWs. Board member Mark Wilkie – a more recent veteran, spoke about remembrance and read a tribute to the POWs entitled “A Time to Remember”. A moment’s silence was observed and then the hymn “Abide With Me” was played. As this hymn – a favorite of all of the captives softly filled the room, the words were read and everyone could understand and feel why this old hymn meant so much to them.
Following the film a time of fellowship was held with refreshments and many stayed to view the exhibit and chat and ask questions about the POWs in Taiwan. We want to thank the Taipei City Government and the Taipei Film House for their assistance in making the day such a success, and we hope that when we hold it again next year, we will have an even greater turnout.