Tricia Walker would like to record her grateful thanks for the kind acknowledgement of HRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge; HRH Prince Harry for his kind good wishes for the appeal’s success and the support of: The Prime Minister’s Office and The Cabinet Office; The Ministry of Defence; Air Commodore Nigel Beet, CEO of the Victory Services Club; The Royal Hospital Chelsea; The Soldiers’, Sailors’ and Airmen’s Families Association (SSAFA); The Royal British Legion; The Imperial War Museum; COFEPOW; CPI UK for their generous donation and continued help towards this appeal; The Cadland Estate; The Big Ideas Collective; Foyles Flagship London Bookstore for its generous support.
I’m particularly grateful for the kind support of the generous Hampshire Freemasons and the ever-motivating Mike Curry to whom I am enormously grateful for his generosity, determination, endurance, and organisational talents.
Aims of the Appeal
The Aims of Benedict’s Appeal are to:
To assist the work of The Soldiers’, Sailors’ and Airmen’s Families Association (SSAFA) in its dedication to maintain support for all of our serving and former veterans and especially for their families who are also suffering and in need of care.
1. To provide more knowledge for schools, most children have no knowledge of this part in our history, Benedict’s Brother is an ideal vehicle to do that.
2. To make the FEPOW centre at the National Memorial Arboretum an educational and living memorial to those prisoners – more than simply a stone monument.
3. To enable relatives and friends easy access to records and details of their family members and loved ones who may have been FEPOWs or Civilian Internees.
4. To enable Soldiers’, Sailors’ and Airmen’s Families Association (SSAFA) to improve its ability to lead from the front in a demanding modern society
5. Above all to strike from the record the Forgotten Army’s order not to speak and reward them for their silence all these years for obeying military discipline.
General The Lord Dannatt, GCB. CBE. MC. DL., former Chief of the General Staff has added his support Benedict’s Appeal launched in aid of SSAFA.
“I congratulate Tricia Walker and The Royal British Legion for working together over this special edition of Benedict’s Brother,” said Lord Dannatt. “And I very much hope that it not only raises a useful amount of money for the very valuable work done by the Soldiers’, Sailors’ and Airmen’s Families Association (SSAFA), but helps to honour the memory of the Far East Prisoners of War through the imaginative memorial at the National Arboretum”.
General The Lord Dannatt GCB CBE MC DL , Chief of the General Staff 2006-2009
The appeal hopes to raise £45,000 for SSAFA and to make a further donations to The Royal British Legion to the charity COFEPOW (Children and Families Of the Far East Prisoners of War) to support their work at the National Memorial Arboretum.
“I’m very moved by the kind words from Lord Dannatt and delighted to launch Benedict’s Appeal in aid of SSAFA and my chosen charities,” said author Tricia. “My Uncle Erno would have been incredibly touched. He was drafted into service as a young Signalman in the 9th Indian Division and like so many never spoke about what happened. It was six years before he made it home and he needed years of support and care from his family who knew nothing of the truth of his suffering. They are all heroes.”
Tricia will be doing signings throughout the UK during 2016 to support the appeal.
Benedict’s Brother the novel is available to buy here!
Work is already well in advance for the film based on the story of Benedict’s Brother later in the year.
Benedict’s Appeal is a charitable fundraising project created by author Tricia Walker which takes its name from the lead character in her acclaimed novel, Benedict’s Brother.
The Soldiers’, Sailors’ and Airmen’s Families Association (SSAFA) is being supported this year in their fundraising appeal by author whose Uncle was a Far East Prisoner of War (FEPOW). Her book “Benedict’s Brother” which became a best-selling Book of the Year in the industry press has been reprinted as a special commemorative edition. 30% of each book sold will go to support the work of SSAFA in its support of providing care for those in need. A donation will also be made to The Royal British Legion and the charity COFEPOW (Children and Families Of the Far East Prisoners of War).
It is unusual in annals of war for returning soldiers to be told not to discuss what they had endured and that being an order many have never done so. In that case many of their families never even knew what they endured. Our heroes have always been recognised, it is the one thing that makes Great Britain so very special.
Of the many thousands of men who died on the Thai/Burma railway, the Sumatra railway, the Sandakan Death Marches, in copper mines in Formosa, steel factories in Japan, building roads in Burma, air strips on Ambon, Huruku, Java, Rabaul, New Guinea and the Solomon’s, thousands died on the ‘Hell ships’, battened down in holds of unmarked ships and torpedoed by Allied submarines. In addition, thousands were captured and died when Hong Kong fell to the Japanese in December 1941. The list goes on. Many of those captured by the Japanese were civilian internees and their story should also be told and remembered. But thousands survived to return and for them the suffering continued for years after and many family members bear testament to their constant nightmares and recurring illnesses without knowing the exact reason for them.
The charity COFEPOW has established the Far East Prisoners of War (FEPOW) Memorial Building. This is not only for those who died, but encompasses the whole story of events during this unprecedented chapter in British history. It contains the name and rank of all British Servicemen taken prisoner during the South East Asia conflict and embraces the story of their treatment and the thousands who died as a result, not forgetting the many civilians as well. The museum is situated within the National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas in Staffordshire, which is a Millennium project. The building itself is of timber construction sharing similarities with the huts the FEPOWs lived in during captivity. The design and establishment of the permanent building, the interior design, the historical research and acquisition of the contents and the ongoing archival support has cost in the order of £450,000.
It is envisaged that this functional project will fulfil the charity purpose to preserve the memory of those who suffered in this period of history, by educating the public and children of today and tomorrow. They have well over 1500 members from all parts of the country and overseas, and are in regular contact with similar groups to ours in Australia, America, Canada and Taiwan.
New Forest Forces Day at Fawsley with Chelsea Pensioner Walter Swann, Mike Curry and the Mayor of Fawsley, Councillor Gof Beck
The Aims of Benedict’s Appeal
To assist the work of Soldiers’, Sailors’ and Airmen’s Families Association (SSAFA) in its dedication to maintain its support for all of our serving and former veterans and their families who are suffering and in need of care
- 1. To provide more knowledge for schools, most children have no knowledge of this part in our military history, Benedict’s Brother is an ideal vehicle.
- 2. To make the FEPOW centre at the Arboretum an educational and living memorial to those prisoners rather than a stone monument.
- 3. To enable relatives and friends easy access to records and details of their family members who may have been FEPOWs or Civilian Internees.
- 4. To enable The Royal British Legion to improve its ability to lead from the front in technology and recognise the need for improvement in a demanding modern society
- 5. Above all to strike from the record the Forgotten Army’s order not to speak and reward them for their silence all these years for obeying military discipline.