Healing in Hell (Kindle)
The Memoirs of a Far Eastern POW Medic
Like many thousands of other unsuspecting young soldiers, Ken Adams was sent out to the Far East during the Second World War. He immediately saw action on the Malay Peninsula before being captured at Singapore. As a trained medic he was initially assigned to work at Changi Hospital, where conditions were bad enough. However, this was only the start of the three-year ordeal and many moves and far worse camps in Thailand were to follow.
In Healing in Hell, Ken describes his life, work and the terrible conditions endured at the hands of the Japanese and Korean guards and, worst of all, the Kempetai secret police. He found himself faced with cases far beyond his medical expertise. Diseases such as dysentery, malaria, avitaminosis, cholera and smallpox were prevalent and had to be treated with minimal or no medicines. Starvation was a fact of life.
He and his comrades and patients were frequently moved around from camp to ghastly camp and, in 1945, he took part in a gruelling march of many hundreds of miles, which proved fatal to many.
All books by former POWs of the Japanese are harrowing and this one is no exception given the Author's experiences. What sets this account apart from others is the way he deals frankly with issues like death when seen for the first time, and the powerlessness and endless frustration of indeterminate imprisonment. What also sets this account apart from others is the way he addresses the too often overlooked and painful difficulties of resettling back into his family and society after being cut off for so long in captivity of the worst kind.
For all these reasons, Healing in Hell is an exceptional memoir that demands reading.
There have been many books detailing the terrible plight of the Far East Prisoner of War but very few of these have told the story of the remarkable work of the medical personnel whilst in captivity. This is an excellent book and recommended to all military medics as an example of how one of their forefathers, despite his own suffering performed in the highest traditions of the RAMC during very difficult times.The Medic
An almost addictive fascination…an utterly absorbing book.Britain at War
Now, 70 years after his wretched ordeal began, the extraordinary story of his grim battle to stay alive has been laid bare in a vivid and revealing war memoir that explains not just the horrors of Japanese captivity but the painful psychological scars that have never healed. Healing in Hell is an astonishingly reflective and thought provoking record of suffering and survival against the odds that is notable for its searing honesty and searching self analysis. A deeply introspective account of one man's nightmarish odyssey to hell and back, it is a remarkable book born of an even more remarkable father and son collaboration spanning opposite ends of the world.Eastern Daily Press
The traumatic war experiences of an Allerton Bywater-born Japanese POW medic and his adjustment to life after liberation are documented in a new book by his son.Yorkshire Evening Post
It describes how he tried unsuccessfully to get into the RAF after renouncing his conscientious objections to fighting, after witnessing the bombing of Liverpool.
He instead remained an Army medic and was shipped out to Singapore in January 1942 where he saw action with the 18th Division before Singapore fell and along with thousands of other British servicemen he became a Japanese POW.