Vancouver Island Military Museum

Photographs courtesy of the Vancouver Island Military Museum

When wars break out it’s not just captured armed combatants of warring nations who are sent to prison camps.

When Japan’s armed forces swept through Southeast Asia during the Second World War, numbers of prisoners captured were staggering and included nearly 200,000 British Commonwealth military personnel from Canada Australia, New Zealand and India. American and Philippine troops captured accounted for another 75,000 prisoners.

Also swept up were 130,000 civilians, most of them women and children from Allied nations, who were sent to prison camps in Indonesia.

Conditions in those camps were overcrowded, unsanitary and breeding grounds for dysentery, typhus, bedbugs, lice and scabies. Starvation, cruelty at the hands of their captors and exhaustion from overwork and battling disease and hunger claimed thousands of captives’ lives by the war’s end.

The stories and images of prisoners, combatant and civilian, in the First and Second World Wars are depicted in a new display at the Vancouver Island Military Museum.

Read the full article here.

You may also like...