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Description

This photo shows a work party of 9 Allied Prisoners of War and their three Japanese Guards in the Bukit Timah area of Singapore, probably taken late in 1942, though written on the back of the original photo it does say April '44. These 'propaganda' photos were taken by the Japanese to illustrate how well they were treating the nearly 150,000 allied troops captured att he fall of Singapore on the 15th February 1942, most of these trops spent the rest of the War in prison camps across South East Asia and in Japan itself, with many working as slave labour on the infamous 'Railway of Death'.
This photo belonged to Captain R G Read of the 118th Field Regiment , Royal Artillery, who spend over 3 1/2 years as a POW in Changi POW camp in Singapore. Captain Read and his family lived in Llangawsai, Llanbadarn Fawr, Aberystwyth, at the time of his release in August 1945 he weighed 7st 10lbs, having been 12st 10lbs at the start of his incarceration, thats a 40% loss of weight, this was not uncommon with POW's as the Japanese provide no medical care, very basic rations and were notoriously violent with the POW's. In Captain Read's case he witnessed beheadings, starvation and contracted tropical diseases (Beri Beri) which seriously affected him and his health. He made it back to a hero's welcome in Aberystwyth in December 1945, having spent many months in India recovering and slowly gaining weight. He sadly died within a year of his return, in September 1946, he is commemorated on Llanbadarn Fawr War Memorial

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