Liz Seiker, Fred's Journey

Publicity of Lest We Forget

The story of Lest We Forget and paintings can be found†at: Fred Seiker, Lest We Forget

The book can be found at the Imperial War Museum in London, the Imperial War Museum North in Manchester, the National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas, the Second World War Experience Centre in Leeds, Eden Camp in Yorkshire, the Nimitz Museum, Fredriksberg, USA and various other venues.†

In October 1997 Fred was invited to speak to a meeting in London of a group formed to promote and commemorate the story of the Thai-Burma railway. Local dignitaries were invited, including the Mayor and Mayoress of Westminster and following the meeting his talk was put on the internet. He has given the talk in the UK tb various institutions and organisations including schools, Probus, and Rotary groups, U3A, Worcester University and the Royal British Legion. Abroad he lectured in Japan and the USA.†

Fred's talk and his book have been translated into the Japanese language by Akira Tanzawa and Koshi Kobayashi respectively. This has been of great satisfaction to Fred as it has meant that the Japanese people would learn something about the war which had previously been withheld from them.†

His book and transcript of his talk are in the HelI Fire Passmuseum and the information centre at Kanchanaburi, both in Thailand. Professor Pasternack of the University of California, USA requested Fred's permission to use his talk in a series of lectures programmed for the autumn 2005 semester at the university.

Correspondence with VIPs

Prime Minister John Major, Prime Minister Tony Blair, Prince Philip, Prince Charles, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, President Clinton, Japanese Ambassador in London, Japanese Foreign Minister in Tokyo, Director of Imperial War Museum in London, Director of Imperial War Museum North in Manchester, Military Attachť at Netherlands Embassy in London, British Embassy in Bangkok, Royal British Legion in London.

Media and other interviews

Fred has been interviewed by national and local radio, television and press in the UK, the Netherlands, USA and Japan. Also the Records Office of Hereford and Worcester County Council and the Second World War Experience Centre in Leeds. His story Smile from his book, and his talk, have been recorded on audio tape by the Royal National Institute for the Blind for their talking books project.

Written articles and stories

He has written articles for the Merchant Navy Association, corporate organisations and USA magazines.
Two of his poems - 48 Hours Leave and Bill - have been published by Poetry Now of Peterborough. The first poem is set in wartime Britain, the second is a tribute to a dying comrade whilst a POW.

Documentaries

Fred is a contributor in the documentaries:
The True Story Of The Bridge On The River Kwai made by Greystone Communications of Hollywood, USA.
Hell In The Pacific produced by Carlton TV, UK.
Japan's Prisoners Of War produced by the History Channel.
The Bridge On The River Kwai - The Documentary made for National
Geographic, USA.
An extract from the story Smile in his book is used in a documentary by Irish Promedia TV, Dublin entitled Surviving The Sword.

Foreign visits

In 1998 Fred was approached by Keiko Holmes of Agape, an organisation to encourage reconciliation between exPOWs and Japanese people. She invited him and Liz to attend the annual meeting between Japanese Agape members and exPOWs in London that summer. During a visit to the Japanese Embassy Fred was pleased to have a long and interesting conversation with the Ambassador.†

The following year Fred and Liz were invited by Keiko Holmes to travel with a group of exPOWs to Japan on a reconciliation pilgrimage. They found the people they met welcoming and friendly. However, whilst visiting the, atomic museum in Nagasaki Fred became angry that the reason for dropping the atomic bomb on that city was presented by the Japanese in such a way that the†Americans were made to appear the aggressors and that the dropping of the bomb was totally unnecessary. Fred was approached by reporters from a leading Japanese national newspaper and national television. He agreed to be interviewed provided that the views he expressed were truthfully represented. The interview was shown on television that evening, also a report appeared in the press, and according to an interpreter the media kept their word.†

Fred had made contact with Val Roberts-Poss, the Executive Director of the USS Houston Survivors Association & Next Generation. As a result in 2000 he and Liz attended the annual commemoration service in Houston, Texas, USA of the cruiser USS Houston which was sunk by the Japanese during the battle of the Java Sea. Survivors from the ship were taken prisoner by the Japanese and transported to the Thai/Burma railway.

National Memorial Arboretum, Alrewas, Staffordshire

In 2002 two memorable events took place connected with the installation of an original section of the Thai/Burma rail track. Fred was invited by the BBC to attend the actual arrival of the rail track. He and Liz were driven by taxi to the Arboretum and Fred found himself standing in a wet and foggy field at 7am being interviewed for BBC World Service and the Breakfast TV programme. For the rest of the day representatives of the media were queuing to interview him and he found the experience emotionally and physically exhausting. There was a slight hitch in the arrival of the track which did not arrive until late afternoon. When the track was eventually unloaded the emotion experienced by Fred and his comrades was overwhelming.†

The second memorable event was when Fred was invited to meet Prince Charles who was visiting the Arboretum and interested in viewing the rail track. The Prince listened with great interest to what Fred had to say and showed obvious signs of sympathy with the plight of the POWs. Fred felt very honoured later to receive a personal letter from the Prince, a copy of which is on display†at the Arboretum beside his pictures.†

Fred and Liz became Friends of the Arboretum and have donated a bench and a tree, which are sited alongside the rail track, also an electric scooter for the use of invalid visitors.

In early 2013 Fred moved his original painting collection Lest We Forget to the Bronbeek Museum, Arnhem, The Netherlands.

Memberships

Fred is a member of the Royal British Legion, Merchant Navy Association, FEPO (Far East Prisoners of War Association), Friend of the National Memorial Arboretum and an honorary member of the USS Houston Survivor's Association.

Other events

He is responsible for having a memorial plaque installed at the Eden Camp museum in Yorkshire commemorating those who perished during the construction of the Thai-Burma railway. Copies of his watercolour paintings as depicted in his book are used in display panels in hut 10 at the museum.†

His name is inscribed on a memorial monument in Hirado, Japan, because of his involvement with the International Relations Organisation based in Hirado.†

In 2001 Fred was presented with a campaign medal of the Netherlands army in Indonesia during WWII. The medal was presented at his home in Worcester, some 60 years late, by the Military Attachť from the Netherlands Embassy in London, his Adjutant and a representative of the Royal Netherlands Navy.†

Fred has been and always will be willing to help in anything to do with the POW scene. Requests are diverse and arrive unexpectedly by letter, phone, Email or FAX from all over the world. Many come from those searching for information of loved ones who perished on the Thai-Burma railway. Recently a university student stayed with Fred and Liz while doing research on POWs for her dissertation - she was particularly interested in anything relating to her now deceased grandfather who had been a POW on the railway.†

A most memorable occasion took place in August 2005 during the 60th anniversary commemorations of VJ Day at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, London. The BBC approached Fred asking for permission to use a poem he had written in memory of a dying friend whilst a POW.†

The BBC intended to use the poem as a closing item of their TV broadcast. Fred agreed and his poem was read by the commentator James Naughtie, with a credit to Fred by name. It was a fitting and moving end to the ceremony and Fred felt very proud at being able to contribute to this important national occasion.

Definitielijst

Nagasaki
Japanese city on which the United States dropped the second atomic bomb on 9 August 1945.
POW
Prisoner of War.
track
The track of a tank.

Pagina navigatie

Afbeeldingen


Lest We Forget


Interview with BBC television


Interview with History Channel TV


Presentation of medal by Dutch Military Attachť to the UK.


Lecture by Fred Seiker at King's College in Worcester

Informatie

Published by:
Ewoud van Eig
Published on:
20-03-2013
Last edit on:
04-06-2017
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