From the River Kwai to Kew: article published in Magna magazine about my research for Bamboo Heart

View from train along tressles - resized

From the River Kew to Kwai: A journey of discovery (Reproduced with the kind permission of the Editor and Friends of the National Archives. Documents WO 345/4 and WO 344/362/2 are held at The National Archives, London.)

Ann Bennett discusses how she traced her father’s records of army service and reveals the wealth of documentary sources that have survived.

Researching family history is a journey of discovery that can take you in many directions. There are different routes you can take: some are blind alleys and some super-highways to moments of enlightenment. This article is about my quest to find out about what happened to my father in the Far East during the Second World War. It took me on several trips to Thailand and also, thanks to the wonders of the Internet, to sources as far apart as Taiwan, the United States, London and Glasgow. It is a journey that is still not over – there are still avenues I would like to explore.

Please click on the link to download the full article MagnaRiverKwai 

3 thoughts on “From the River Kwai to Kew: article published in Magna magazine about my research for Bamboo Heart”

  1. Hi Ann, I have just read a short article sent out by Researching REPOW History and like to let you know my dad also was a POW of the Japanese and painted to keep sane. When he died in 2000 we found over 300 paintings he did during those times and bought back with him, some are caricatures of folk too.
    He also painted a hand drawn map of all the camps along the railway.
    If you want you can contact me to let me know your dad’s name and who he served with so I can look to see if dad has painted him somewhere. Dad was with the 88th Lancashire RA, TA and was sent to Nth Malaya after getting out of Dunkirk!! From the fire into the frying pan!! The website is and you can make a comment which will go to my email address for administering.
    I am looking forward to reading more of your article and isn’t the internet wonderful, as here we are in Australia since dad immigrated with us all in 1958.
    Oh, now I see you can email me, I’ve entered my details below.


    1. Hi Keith – sorry I had somehow missed your message. Thank you very much for contacting me. I will email as suggested. I’d love to hear more about your father and his paintings. Cheers, Ann


  2. Your journey of research into your Father’s military history and especially his time during the Malayan Campaign and in captivity as a FEPOW is both harrowing and fascinating. You must be immensely proud of him and grateful for his survival.


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