• Upcoming trips

    Feb 3 - Feb 13 Caribbean cruise May 1 to May 14 London vacation. (Hotels and details later). Hope to see you all then.
  • theatre and Concerrts

    December 7. Went to the Met to see the abridged version of “The Magic Flute”. We have seen this production before and still the charm of the great puppet characters keeps the children in awe and their parents happy with their parenting. An amusing interlude.

    December 9. Saw the Manhattan School of Music’s production of “Cendrillon” by Nicolo Isouard at the Florence Gould Hall. The MSM is having both its concert halls renovated and is using outside premises like the Alliance Francaise’s hall. The School and its talented young students put everything they have into this production; Scenery, lighting, costumes and acting was superb. As was the directing and conducting. Refreshing also, was that the cast was of the age to be convincing in their parts.

    December 10. The first of the “Peoples Symphony Concerts” this season (Their 118th year!). “The Variation String Trio” did the honours accompanied by guest pianist: Orion Weiss. Their programme included a new work by Nina Young (b.1984) Very interesting, but not, I think, a world-beater.

    December 31 Went to the Kaye theatre at Hunter College  to see the New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players’ production of “H.M.S. Pinafore”. Cast and orchestra captured the high spirits of the musical romp and the sets were surprisingly professional. Reminded me of the old Sadlers’ Wells days,

    January 2, 2018. Saw the Met’s “The Merry Widow”. During the first act, the acoustics left a lot to be desired and words were difficult to hear, even in English. But all went well in the second and third acts; the Russian style dancing was rousing and the sets were spectacular. There are usually only six ‘Grisettes’ (Can-can girls) on a regular stage, but the Met’s vast space seemed to be full of them; three, even, descending from the top of the proscenium arch! All with their frilly knickers a-shaking

     

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Imperial War Museum – Donation

On January 6th  we met up with Stephen Walton, Senior Curator of the Documents and Sound Section of the Imperial War Museum to hand over my collection  of war-time diaries and artifacts for safe-keeping. This was the culmination of many months of preparation, largely directed by Susan, who was concerned that it should be kept intact and available to Kim and herself and succeeding generations of the family in the years to come.

Susan and Craig brought Jeremy (Susan’s grandson and my great-grandson) with them for the experience and Kiowa, my favourite grandson, came too. Kim travelled down from Scotland with Tom and her daughter Rebecca. Rebecca wanted to hand over to the museum, personally, the Japanese phrase book, a copy of which was issued to each prisoner of war by the Japanese army  personnel in order to learn their commands. I had previously given her the item when she was intending to spend some time in Japan.

At the end of this post, I have attached the very gracious note of thanks from Stephen which also sets out the place and time in which the collection will be able to be viewed by interested family members.

As I would be fully engaged with the curator, I handed over the camera to Tom, who did a magnificent job of recording the occasion–I appear in every shot! Click on the pictures for detail.

Imperial War Museum London

Imperial War Museum London

 

Susan, Kiowa and Kim arriving

Susan, Kiowa and Kim arriving

 

Rebecca

Rebecca

 

Jeremy sporting a stylish hair cut

Jeremy sporting a stylish hair cut

 

Tom replenishes before the camera work

Tom replenishes before the camera work

 

Assembled . . . .

Assembled . . . .

 

Susan unwraps as Stephen begins his examination . . .

Susan unwraps as Stephen begins his examination . . .

 

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You should keep an eye on the artifacts - not me!

You should keep an eye on the artifacts – not me!

 

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winding up . . .

winding up . . .

 

signing off . . .

signing off . . .

 

Photo op!

Photo op!

The Curator’s note:

Dear Ben

 It was a pleasure to meet you and the other family members at IWM London last Friday, I hope that you enjoyed your visit and that the rest of your stay in the UK has gone well. This is to thank you again in writing for your considerable generosity in donating to this museum the collection of your Far East POW documents and artifacts, which I am very much looking forward to reading, sorting and cataloguing, and which will be a real boon to historians and other researchers as part of our archive holdings. After I have processed them, the collection will be readily accessible to visitors to our public reading rooms, primarily the Research Room at IWM London. I attach for your own records a copy of the deposit form which you signed, if you have any queries with regard to it please do let me know. The `transfer of title’ means that the material is gifted to the IWM to be held in perpetuity, and that the IWM may make reasonable use of it in line with our principal functions (e.g. make it available for academic and private research, put selected items from it on public display etc.). Copyright in your own writings remains with you and your heirs, so any proposed commercial use of the collection (in publication or broadcast, for example) would require your prior consent. Again, please do feel free to seek clarification of any points you might be uncertain about!

With many thanks again, also on behalf of the Trustees of the IWM, for your consideration of the museum in this regard, and I do hope that we can stay in touch. 

All best wishes,

Stephen.

 END OF POST

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 Responses

  1. Ben, I don’t know which impresses me more – your generosity in sharing these items from such devastating experience in a prisoner of war camp, or the fact that you’ve kept it intact for 70 years. It’s so important to have first hand testimony of the realities people are capable of creating, and how wonderful that you were accompanied by three generations that came after you. How proud they must all be! I just adore that you embrace and display such beauty and wonder in the world after having seen the other side. You are a truly extraordinary man, and I just adore you. Well done!

  2. Thank you for sharing such a significant part of yourself. It was quite moving.

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