Thursday, November 14, 2019
(14th November 2019 - 23rdApril 2020) (tbc)
A remarkable collection of over 2,000 letters from the familiesand friends of Far East Prisoners of War is to be exhibited at the ErewashMuseum in Ilkeston, Derbyshire.
The letters were written between November 1944 and January 1945 toIlkeston resident Mrs Hope Robinson, the wife of Major Paul Robinson of the 1st/5thSherwood Foresters, held in Thailand.
Desperate for news of her husband, she was able to interview twosurvivors of the sinking of the Hellship Rakuyo Maru on their return to Britainin November 1944. From these interviews, she wrote a 2,000-word pamphletdescribing conditions at Camp No. 4 in Thailand.
When news of her work was publicised in two national newspapers,she was inundated with hundreds of requests per day for copies of the pamphletand desperate pleas for information about loved-ones.
The letters were donated to the Museum in 2017 and a two-year volunteerproject to conserve and catalogue them has unearthed a treasure trove ofthoughts and opinions of writers from all over the country and from all walksof life, the majority of whom were women. Messages of gratitude for her effortswere interwoven with expressions of anxiety, depression, family tragedy andanger about the lack of information from the Government. The letters offer anintimate view of the thoughts and concerns of hundreds of people who waitedanxiously at home for news of their loved ones.
The Museum will be hosting a major exhibition, “The HopeRobinson Letters Collection” Collection, from 14th November 2019and to 23rd April 2020 (dates to be confirmed).