Stolen Years: Australian prisoners of war
I had a wife and a little girl. And the will to live.
I hated their guts, and I wanted to get home.
A strong emotion, hate or love, could help men get on the boat home.
Many prisoners of war asked how and why they had survived. Answers differed: some stressed military discipline, others individual initiative. Some stole and scrounged from guards and even from each other; most helped their mates and relied on them when things got tough. All needed luck.
Captain Rowley Richards, a medical officer on the Burma–Thailand Railway and in Japan, kept detailed notes and a diary documenting the experience of captivity. He used this material to write a memoir The Survival Factor. It is because of the determination of men like Richards to tell this story that we are able to understand what captivity was like.