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FEPOW Ships Return

May 1, 2024

Ann Whiteside, Area Co-ordinator for COFEPOW in Dorset (known by members of her COFEPOW group as  ‘Chief Chum’) is anxious to get in touch with all members in the wider central south coast area, to invite ideas for a suitable commemorative event to mark the return of thousands of FEPOWs to the shores of the UK in Autumn 1945.

This homecoming signalled the beginning of the end of suffering for the servicemen and women, and many civilian internees, who returned to their homelands after almost four years of incarceration, deprivation, disease and starvation in the POW and internment camps across the Far-East theatre during the Second World War. Many thousands, of course, never came home at all.

2025 will see the 80th anniversary since the ships came in to ports like Southampton, when ex-FEPOWs aboard were very often greeted by officialdom without ceremony, compassion or understanding and simply handed a railway ticket for their onward journey home. Ann feels very strongly that as many members and families as possible should join together to celebrate their relatives’ return 80 years ago. She commented:

“I have my own thoughts how the homecomings should be honoured and would like to hear from those who would wish to join us and offer any thoughts of their own. My email address is included at the bottom of this feature, so please contact me to see if we can put something together for next year. Please remember, there’s no money available for this and I really would prefer not to involve a sponsor or charity, as their requirements may not align with what we wish to happen.”

If you would like to offer ideas or help, and/or are interested in attending, please email Ann at: