Ordinary men in another world: British other ranks in captivity in Asia during the Second World War

Boyne, David J (2015) Ordinary men in another world: British other ranks in captivity in Asia during the Second World War. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

The Second World War was a time of increased contacts for ordinary Britons with peoples of different race, ethnicity and nationality. This thesis explores these novel interactions primarily through the eyes of the other ranks of the 18th Division,who set sail from Britain in the latter part of 1941 and arrived in Singapore shortly before it was overwhelmed by the Japanese Imperial Army, in February 1942. They subsequently endured three and a half years in captivity, the severity of which was such that a quarter of them never returned. The harsh nature of their captivity meant that an unusually large number of them were inspired to make a record of their experiences, and it is the holdings of these accounts at the Imperial War Museum which provide the pivotal source for this project.Previous British studies of the prisoners of the Japanese have tended to describe aspects of the experience of the officer corps. In this thesis the focus is on the other ranks, and specifically those recently recruited to the services, whose previous overseas travels were at best, limited. It examines their attitudes towards the variety of peoples with whom they came into contact, in the categories of civilians, allied and enemy personnel. These contacts occurred in a variety of emotional settings, ranging from the relatively care free journey east, to the more fraught conditions of combat and captivity. It examines how these perspectives were formed and could change over time, and in what way they informed relations with these various groups. In the process new light is shone upon the experiences of these unfortunate men during the war, and how the former POWs mediated their captivity in the post-war period

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of History, Art History and Philosophy > History
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D731 World War II
U Military Science > U Military Science (General) > U021 War. Philosophy. Military sociology
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 06 Dec 2015 12:50
Last Modified: 04 Feb 2021 13:37
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/54344

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