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Faith, Hope and Rice (ePub)

Private Fred Cox's Account of Captivity and the Death Railway

Military > Prisoners of War WWII

By Ellie Taylor
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
File Size: 10.4 MB (.epub)
Pages: 150
ISBN: 9781473857902
Published: 12th October 2015


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Fred Cox, a young soldier in the East Surrey Regiment, was taken prisoner by the Japanese at the fall of Singapore in February 1942. The next three and a half years were spent in a series of PoW camps, notably in Thailand working on the aptly named Death Railway. Fortunately he was not one of the 12,000 Allied prisoners who perished as a result of extreme maltreatment, starvation or disease, but his health, both physical and psychological, was seriously affected.

After liberation, whilst in hospital in Ceylon, Fred was nursed by Joan whom he married. Advised by the doctors to face his horrific experiences, he and Joan spent the winter of 1946 – 1947 getting his story down on paper. Seventy years on, sadly after his death, Faith, Hope and Rice, (which were what sustained Fred through his ordeal) can now be shared with a wider audience. Readers cannot fail to be moved by the author's and his comrades' inspiring courage and resilience in the face of extreme adversity and ever present death.

Featured in

CoFEPoW Quartely - Issue 100, January 2023

So the main narrative of this book is in itself a valuable recording of those horrors which we hope will never happen again, but the addition of the unseen but instrumental presence of Fred's wife and the daughter's perspective make "Faith, Hope and Rice" a multi-layered and fascinating read.

Read the complete review here.

GoodReads, Kagami

The fact that this man wrote about his experience of captivity at the hands of the Japanese so soon after he came home, when everything was still so clear in his mind, is what makes this such a good read. And the fact that when he did so initially in 1946, it was as a way of coming to terms with all he had been through, rather than anything intended for publication, gives a real insight into the struggle he and many others must have faced as they tried to put the past behind them.

Amazon Reviewer

Faith, Hope and Rice by Ellie Taylor is a powerful account of a brave man’s survival in the face of terrible adversity. I found it both moving and uplifting and in many ways mirrored my own father’s experience. It is a story which had to be told and I can thoroughly recommend it to all who have a sympathy and interest in the FEPOW story.

The Lanarkshire Yeomanry Memorial Group

A fascinating and moving insight into the day-to-day experiences, thoughts and feelings of soldiers who were captured in Singapore. In the midst of all the historical detail it starkly reveals the personal impact for so many people. Thanks for this very important contribution to our understanding.

John Rutherford, COFEPOW

This is another book I read on holiday, a fascinating story by Ellie. Enjoyed the read immensely.

Ron Taylor, FE-POW-community.org

Ellie Taylor has provided a valuable service to historians by making available this account written in such therapeutic circumstances. Of the many memoirs written by soldiers who suffered three and a half years of captivity under the Japanese, most were undertaken in later life once the long-term effects of that incarceration had been felt and inevitably rely on long-term memory. Cox’s account benefits from the immediacy of being written shortly after his release, as he struggled to come to terms with the horrors of his experience. It was relatively rare for men to speak or write so openly of their experiences in an era when a stiff upper lip was expected, and when the world wished to move on from the horrors of war.

This is a very readable and gripping account of the Fall of Singapore, incarceration at Changi camp, and transportation to, and work on, the infamous Death Railway and a valuable addition to the historiography of the period offering the rare perspective of a recently liberated prisoner.

Faith In Wartime Blog - Author John Broom

'… a moving new book.'

Staffordshire Newsletter

This first-hand account of the experiences of a prisoner of war in helping to build the Burma Railway touched me. Private Fred Cox’s story, compiled by his daughter from the notes he made shortly after his repatriation, illustrates movingly the horror that he and his co-prisoners went through. He, and too few others, were very fortunate to have survived.
The author’s account is well written and seems well researched. It cannot have been easy to make sense of what must have been her father’s fairly disjointed notes but she has succeeded in bringing to life his moving and personal story. I recently visited the National Memorial Arboretum where there is a reconstructed section of the Burma Railway; reading the book added layers of realization to the exhibit. The last few pages are the author’s own words, telling what happened to her father and his family after his release and putting some of what he endured into context.
This is a good read. I really enjoyed it.

Michael Denton

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The Bookseller
 Ellie Taylor

About Ellie Taylor

Fred Cox was born in 1916 and brought up in a children’s home. He joined the army at eighteen. His wartime experiences as a prisoner of war of the Japanese are told in this book. He married Joan who was his nurse in Ceylon after his release. They set up home in Buckinghamshire and had two children. Joan died in 1989 and Fred in 1991.

Ellie Taylor, who is the daughter of Fred Cox, a former Prisoner of the Japanese, was born in Buckinghamshire in 1952.

She obtained a degree in sociology and psychology with the Open University and
went on to work as a voluntary counsellor with vulnerable adults.

She edited Faith, Hope and Rice, her Father’s Second World War POW memoirs, which is published by Pen and Sword Books. Now retired and living in Staffordshire, she has two daughters and six grandchildren.

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