|POW Admission record 1942|
Years ago I came across the newspaper report of the death by suicide of a brother of my great grandmother made all the more horrid because of the manner of his death and the fact that I hadn’t expected it.
And for a while I felt that I had intruded on something very personal.
|Uncle Roger and mother, circa 1940|
His picture sat on a shelf in our house and when my grandparents died a lot of their documentation came south where it sat in a suitcase for nearly 40 years until I brashly waded in to make sense of it.
But for years it was the one set of documents I found hard to look at and even now I reluctantly go to them which seems to continue the family’s collective and un spoken wish to leave him alone.
Nor did they stop there and letters from the Air Ministry continued into the years of peace.
|Uncle Roger, 1999|
So they are a very personal set of records I find hard to read and yet every so often I am drawn back and today because findmypast have released the records of World War Two Prisoners of War I found myself looking for my Uncle Roger.*
And what I found unnerved me and I am not sure why.
|Detail of POW admission record, 1942|
If you ask me why this piece of his family history and not the others I can’t say, other than that it is something I haven’t seen before.
Perhaps the Japanese script brings home the enormity of what had happened and takes me directly to that camp in Malaya.
After all we have only one other document from the camp which is a much damaged postcard from the Red Cross.
And so I come back to the POW record and reflect on what was to happen to him during the next year and wonder if I should have left well alone.
Pictures; photographs and other documents of Roger Hall, 1940-45 from the collection of Andrew Simpson and the POW record from findmypast.co.uk