This exhilarating account, with foreword by Terry Waite, is cultivated from a small, faded, address book secretly written by a young soldier, Stanley More, in the Royal Army Service Corps. After transcribing the diary and his subsequent tape recordings, Stanley’s twin daughters, Jill Robertson and Jan Slimming put together this POW story of adventure, courage resilience and luck, using original photos and documents.

In 1940, Londoner Stanley Moore became Driver T/170638 and trained for desert warfare along with many others in the British Army’s 18th Division. Their mission, they thought, was to fight against Hitler and fascism in the Middle East. But in a change of plan and destination, he and his fellow servicemen became sacrificial lambs on a continent much further from home.

After tough rudimentary combat training in England, Stan’s division set off on a secret overseas mission. After months at sea, and several unexpected ports of call, their convoy was redirected to the other side of the world as the Imperial Japanese Army rampaged across Manchuria, Hong Kong and other parts of Asia. Singapore was under sole British jurisdiction and a large naval base had been built after the First World War to defend the island at the foot of the Malay Peninsula. The British Government believed Japan would never attack their prize territory and so left Singapore to fight for itself with limited troops and outdated equipment. But after an attack on Pearl Harbor, the under-trained and undersupplied 18th Division was redirected to fight the Japanese. Only a small percentage of the 85,000 British troops returned after the war.

Captivity and years of trauma ultimately stole years of the young soldiers’ lives, which they were later ordered to forget by the British Government. The aim of this work is to provide information for future generations to understand how ordinary men died under horrific conditions of war, and how the lucky survived.

Jill is based in Little Billing and Jan in Atlanta. This is Jill’s first book, but Jan is also the author of Codebreaker Girls: A Secret Life at Bletchley Park and The Secret Life of an American Codebreaker.

The 296-page hardback is available to buy from Pen & Sword Books at £25. 

Captured at Singapore - A Diary of a Far East Prisoner of War