Taiwan Camp: When the West meet the East

During the Second World War, in May 1943, the Derby Evening Telegraph carried reports of several local men who had been taken prisoner by the Japanese at the fall of Singapore, the first news that they were still alive. Some returned home but many did not survive the rigours of a Japanese war camp.

Signaller J. E. Saunders (23), of the Royal Corps of Signals, only son of Mr. and Mrs. J. Saunders of 39, Mansfield-street, Derby, is also in Taiwan Camp. He enlisted in June, 1938, and was drafted to India in July, 1939, transferred to Malaya in 1941, and taken prisoner at Singapore.


There were more than 16 Japanese prisoner of war camps on the island of Taiwan (Formosa) during the Second World War, and almost 30,000 allied prisoners of war who travelled to and from the Taiwan camps or stopped here en route to Japan, Korea and Manchuria during WWII.

To be a Far East Prisoner of War meant:

  • 25% of FEPOWs captured by the Japanese were killed or died in captivity, compared with 5% of those captured by the Germans and Italians.
  • Prisoner's deaths as a precentage were the highest rate of all the World War II battle fronts involving British troops.
  • Prisoners suffered trauma 24 hours a day, with the constant threat of death, disease, beatings, torture, starvation, seeing their comrades dying around them, burying them and even being forced to dig their own graves.

This site contains descriptions of the former camps, as well as an honour roll of the prisoners of war.

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