Tue, Nov 09, 2010 - Page 2 News List

Society to commemorate POWs

By Diane Baker  /  Staff reporter

The Taiwan POW Camps Memorial Society and the Australian Commerce and Industry Office in Taipei have organized a Remembrance Weekend on Saturday and Sunday to commemorate the more than 4,350 Allied prisoners of war (POWs) held in camps in Taiwan between August 1942 and September 1945.

The 14th annual event includes a banquet on Saturday night at the Grand Hotel and a Remembrance Day Service on Sunday morning at the Kinkaseki-Taiwan Prisoner of War Memorial on the site of the former Kinkaseki POW Camp in Jinguashi (金瓜石), near Jiufen (九份), Taipei County.

A service has been held every year since 1997 on the second Sunday in November, the closest to Remembrance Day on Nov. 11.

In previous years, former prisoners of war and their family members have returned to Taiwan to take part in the commemorations and this year 13 family members of former POWs who spent time in camps such as Dazhi (大直) in Taipei, Jinguashi, Taichung, Pingtung (屏東) and Baihe (白河) in Chiayi County will be coming.

The banquet begins at 6:30pm, although doors open at 6pm for pre-dinner drinks and to view a display from a planned POW museum. The cost of the banquet is NT$1,000 per person and reservations are required.

The society and trade office have also arranged for charter buses to take participants to Jinguashi on Sunday morning for the service, since there is no parking for private vehicles at the site and special vehicle permits are required to access the Taiwan POW Memorial Park.

The buses will depart from the east side of the Grand Hyatt Hotel at 9am and return to Taipei at about 3pm. The cost is NT$400 and reservations are required.

Following the service, everyone is invited to join together for a picnic lunch at the community center before the buses return to Taipei.

The Taiwan POW Memorial Park was dedicated in 2005, but additions are still being made, including a memorial wall with the names of all the former POWs from the 16 camps in Taiwan engraved on it, a large granite map showing the camps and a bronze POW sculpture.

Michael Hurst, director of the Taiwan POW Camps Memorial Society, said that in addition to ordinary soldiers, sailors and airmen, Taiwan had the creme de la creme of the POWs — all the governors of the territories the Japanese Imperial Army had conquered — including Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaya, the Straits Settlements, Guam and the Dutch East Indies — as well as the highest-ranking POWs from the Dutch, US, British and Australian armies.

Reservations for both the banquet and the buses can be made by calling Richard Yeh at the Australian Commerce and Industry Office in Taipei on (02) 8725-4134 or e-mailing richard.yeh@dfat.gov.au.

The deadline for reservations is 5pm tomorrow.

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