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Appeal to relatives of former FEPOW association secretary in Great Yarmouth

PUBLISHED: 14:01 24 August 2018 | UPDATED: 14:18 24 August 2018

The document with the secretary of the Great Yarmouth Far East Prisoner of War association, F. J. Pettit pictured centre Picture: supplied by Martin Roche

The document with the secretary of the Great Yarmouth Far East Prisoner of War association, F. J. Pettit pictured centre Picture: supplied by Martin Roche

Archant

They were East Anglian prisoners of war who were murdered and brutally tortured by the Japanese in the Second World War.

The picture was found at the Unitarian Church in Great Yarmouth Picture: supplied by Martin RocheThe picture was found at the Unitarian Church in Great Yarmouth Picture: supplied by Martin Roche

Following their ordeal the Far East Prisoners of War Association (Fepow) was formed in Great Yarmouth by veterans.

And now an appeal has gone out for information about one its senior members after a framed photograph of its former secretary F W Pettitt was found in a church cupboard during a clear out.

The picture, which says Mr Pettitt died in 1955, was found at the Unitarian Church in the town by the former principal of Phyllis Adams School of Dance, Andrea George.

Mrs George was helping to clear out the top floor of the church which the dance school uses for classes when she found the picture.

She said: “I was really surprised and had no idea about it. I found it on the top shelf of the cupboard with a lot of dust on.

“I’ve contacted a few people in the area with the surname Pettitt but no-one seemed to know anything about it.”

Martin Roche, whose family owns the dance school, was helping out with the tidy up. He described it as an “emotional discovery”.

He said: “It’s like finding a ghost in the back of the cupboard. It brings back some of the tragedy from that period of time. We should reflect on this with a lot of compassion towards the soldiers.”

Mr Roche took the picture home with him and is now hoping it can be returned to a family member of Mr Pettitt.

The Japanese armed forces captured nearly 140,000 allied military personnel during the war.

More than 30,000 prisoners of war died both within and outside the Japanese mainland.

The Far East Prisoners of War were forced to engage in hard labour which included constructing railways, roads and airfields.

The surrender of Japan was announced on August 15, 1945 with 37, 583 prisoners from the UK being released.

You can visit the FEPOW memorial in Great Yarmouth on Marine Parade.

Anyone who thinks they may have any further information about the picture should contact Martin Roche by email on martinfairway@hotmail.co.uk

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