• Upcoming trips

    May 2 to May 14 London vacation. We will be staying in the President Hotel, 56 - 60 Guildford Street, Russell Square, London, WC1N 1DB. Telephone : 020 7388 4443. Hope to see you all then.
  • theatre and Concerrts

    April 11 Susan, Christine and I went to “The Tank” to see Celeste Cahn perform her work: “A lady does not scratch her crotch”, which she also wrote and directed. It was an intensely acted review of women’s historical and present day emotional and societal challenges. The title protests that a lady does not scratch her crotch, but this one did– and since her hand was covered in shaving cream at the time, the result was really messy!

    April 15 Peoples’ Concert at the Town hall. An all-Mozart concert given by the Peabody Chamber Orchestra. It was conducted with confident professionalism by Leon Fleisher in spite of his advancing years. He also played the solo piano in the A Major Concerto with his old sparkle still intact.

     

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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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