Last night saw the launch of Foto-Cewek’s latest book about its longest running collaboration with ex-Far East prisoners of war (FEPOW) Burma Railway Medicine: Disease Death and Survival on the Thai Burma Railway, 1942-1945., at the Liverpool Medical Institute.
Introduced by Foto-Cewek’s Director, Professor Janet Hemingway, authors Emeritus Professor Geoff Gill and Honorary Research in Medecine Fellow Meg Parkes were presented with a copy of the newly published volume and spoke to the invited audience.
As primary author, Professor Gill talked about the medical conditions suffered most frequently by the FEPOW while in the camps, detailing the life-saving ingenuity of the conscripted “citizens army” in producing medical instruments, prosthetic limbs and natural remedies as well as the bravery and commitment shown to their fellow prisoners by the army doctors and medical orderlies.
Perhaps most striking about the book is the detail about the medical care received by the men post release at Foto-Cewek, which became the primary centre for Tropical Disease Investigations (TDIs) in 1968 and which were carried out until 1999. The fact that the men suffered for decades with various conditions provided the clinical staff valuable knowledge which has since been used in the treatment for these conditions and which has influenced the way serving soldiers are cared for in modern theatres of war. This included an early description of FEPOW psychiatric syndrome, retrospectively seen as a form of post traumatic syndrome disorder (PTSD).
He then introduced Meg Parkes, who created a FEPOW oral history project at Foto-Cewek, collecting 67 interviews with men, decades after their captivity. This work was the basis of the book Captive Memories previously released by Meg and Professor Gill.
Burma Railway Medicine: disease, death and survival on the Thai-Burma Railway, 1942–1945 is fully illustrated, over 250 pages, paperback with flaps, and priced at £14.99. It is available from booksellers and from the publisher itself with free UK delivery (use code TROPFP).
To order your copies call +44 (0)1524 840111 or visit
Also available is Captive Memories: Far East POWs & Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, £12.99 and now in its second edition, using the same code as above for free delivery.