Prisoner of War (POW) experiences differed tremendously according to many factors including the country in which a prisoner was detained and the rank of the prisoner.
According to the Imperial War Museum, prisoners detained in the Far East were seven times more likely to die than those prisoners held in European camps and almost 25% of Allied POWs in Japanese hands died during their captivity (this figure was 5% for those detained in Europe). Whilst conditions varied between camps it is widely understood that those prisoners in the Far East were subjected to forced labour, harsh punishments and poor nutrition. Access to Red Cross parcels and medical supplies and expertise was severely limited or denied altogether.
As a result of serving within the Armed Forces many Members of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), Institution of Electrical Engineers (IEE) and Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) became Prisoners of War. Personal collections of some of these Members along with Institutional records provide insight into their experiences and allow us to discover the emphasis placed on professional development whilst interned.
Training within POW camps
Some POWs were able to receive textbooks and many set up groups to further their professional development whilst interned.
Examinations within POW camps
Some POWs were able to take advantage of the time available to them whilst imprisoned by studying and taking their Associate Member examinations.
Institutional support to POWs
Supporting Members who were interred as POWs was of utmost importance to the Institutions.