• Upcoming trips



    13-23 January, 2018 Cruise out of New York around the Caribbean on the Norwegian Gem. Note : this trip has been cancelled altogether because of the damage caused by the hurricanes to the Caribbean islands.

    October 31st - 11 November. Caribbean cruise to break up the winter. Note: The itinerary has not yet been determined owing to the havoc wreaked by the hurricanes.
  • theatre and Concerrts

    October 8 Went to BAM, for the first time since Ethel died, to hear a wonderful modern opera composed and written by Matthew Aucoin called “Crossing”. It is based on Walt Whitman’s experience and the libretto is largely taken from his poetry.

    The story is multi-themed, as modern plays tend to be; the first is a harrowing anti war depiction of the suffering wounded seen through Whitman’s eyes when he volunteered as a nurse during the American civil war; the second is Slavery and its effect upon a run-away slave who fights on the Union side; the third is treachery portrayed by a guilt-laden deserter who spies for the South. And forth, inevitably these days, is the (entirely fictional) homosexual one.

    The powerful music fits the story perfectly and the voices of the lead singers and the chorus is magnificent; Rod Gilfry, bass-baritone, sings the part of Walt Whitman, Alexander Lewis plays John Wormley, the deserter, and Davone Tines, whose baritone reminded me, distinctly, of the sound of the legendary Paul Robeson.  Both Christine and I were extremely moved by the work. We newly discovered Walt Whitman’s poetry, too.

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 49 other followers

  • Follow Thompson's Travels on WordPress.com

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 . . .

 

 . . . . . .

. . . . . .

 

 . . . . . . .

. . . . . . .

 

 . . . . .

. . . . .

 

 . . . . .

. . . . .

 

 . . . . .

. . . . .

 

 . . . . .

. . . . .

 

 . . . . . .

. . . . . .

 

 . . . . . .

. . . . . .

 

 . . . .

. . . .

 

 . . . . .

. . . . .

 

 . . . . .

. . . . .

 

 . . . .

. . . .

 

 . . . . .

. . . . .

 

 . . . . .

. . . . .

 

 . . . .

. . . .

 

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

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

 

 . . . . .

. . .  . .

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s