Original FEPOW members in the UK; Reg Beck, Harry Bradshaw, Les Brown, Bill Casely, Bob Chapman, Norman (Nobby) Clark, George (Curley) Elms, Fergy Farrington, Ernie Howe, Vic Herman, Ken (Chunky) Leary, Bill Marshall, Tommy McFarlane, Don Rouse, Bill Seward and Wally Spandler. Plus 2 in Australia; Jock Craig and Joe Unwin.
In 1984 Bill Marshall and Bob Chapman sent out the following Newsletter No. 1 to its members …
‘If you have been busy living your life since the War and not had the time to keep in touch with your old comrades, no one blames you. We have all been doing the same thing, but the time has come now, when to breathe the air of nostalgia is a tonic. It is now late in the day and the shadows are getting long, but before they fall we can rekindle the old relationships born in adversity.
By chance and search we have now come into contact with at least sixteen of our company in the UK and two in Australia. If you are aware of any others, please send their addresses to the writer and contact will be made.'
It was thus that the Club extended to others captured in Java in March 1942 and the Club became The Java FEPOW Club 1942. They had their first reunion in Coventry.
A committee was formed. Bob Chapman was Secretary & Treasurer, Bill Marshall was Chairman, Reg Beck was Welfare Officer and Ken Leary was Auditor. Bob Chapman dedicated his time to producing a monthly newsletter, which he distributed to the club’s members, other clubs and research teams in Japan.
The New Millennium
By 2005, sadly due to old age and diminishing numbers, most other FEPOW Clubs were closing so the Committee of The Java FEPOW Club 1942 asked two daughters of FEPOWs (Lesley Clark and Margaret Martin) to join them to assist in running the Club.
Interest and researching into the FEPOW experience was growing, so it was decided that the first 20 years of members’ stories and recollections as printed in the Club’s newsletter ‘The Java Journal’ should be reproduced into a book and the valuable information never lost. Margaret took many months transcribing and collating them from their original form and, with assistance from other members and financial help from The Lottery Fund, our book ‘Prisoners in Java’ was launched at the AGM in Stratford upon Avon in August 2007.
At the AGM in 2009 Lesley was elected Chairman and Treasurer, and Margaret was elected Secretary and Welfare Officer, they immediately made their predecessors, Bill Marshall and Edward McDaniel, lifetime President and Vice President to ensure we remained a FEPOW Club, with the running overseen by FEPOWs (whilst ensuring they had none of the hard work).
Since this time Lesley and Margaret have enlarged the Club by actively seeking out new FEPOWs, Wives and Widows to support, developed the quarterly Java Journal to 80+ pages and through our web site, helped many researchers and families discover more about the FEPOW experience.