The Emperor's Irish Slaves
Prisoners of the Japanese during the Second World War
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Sister Mary Cooper died in a Japanese prison camp on 26 June 1943, from the combined effects of starvation, brutality and tropical diseases. Timothy Kenneally and Patrick Fitzgerald tried to escape from a slave labour camp on the Burma Railway. They were caught, tortured – crucified – and then executed on 27 March 1943. And Patrick Carberry spent the summer of 1943 cremating the emaciated corpses of his comrades, who had died from cholera. These people had two things in common: they were Irish citizens serving with the British armed forces; and they were amongst more than 650 Irishmen and women who became prisoners of the Imperial Japanese Army in 1942. Nearly a quarter of them were murdered whilst in Japanese captivity – this is their story. Combining historical narrative with first-hand accounts of the conditions in Japanese POW camps, Robert Widders brings to light their suffering and the strength that saw them home again.