Stolen Years: Australian prisoners of war
We were absolutely flabbergasted. I can remember the reactions from various fellows: some of them just swore, some of them threw things about, some of them were just silent and shocked.
Captain Ray Steele, 2/15th Field Regiment
For the many thousands forced to surrender, the experience was bewildering. The chance to fight had been denied. Pride in their fighting abilities had abruptly turned to frustration and anger, or simply the inability to comprehend. Thoughts of friends and family were never far away, and hopes of reunion gave many men and women the strength to go on. The following years would become a fight for survival.