2016 was the 20th anniversary of the recognition of the former Japanese prisoner of war camps on Taiwan during World War II, and also of the beginning of the effort to uncover the story of those camps and to make sure that the men who were interned in them had their story told and were not forgotten.
The following is a list of events and achievements to that end over the past twenty years:
(Note - Memorials erected by the Society are highlighted in bold italicized text.)
TWENTY YEARS OF RESEARCHING, REMEMBERING AND HONOURING THE TAIWAN PRISONERS OF WAR
Nov. - The Kinkaseki Prisoner of War Camp is mentioned at the Remembrance Day Service. The Director of the Canadian Trade Office in Taipei Hugh Stephens, conceives an idea to hold a memorial service for the men of Kinkaseki and talks to Michael Hurst at the Canadian Society who takes on the project with the CST’s assistance.
Jan. - Michael Hurst forms the Kinkaseki Memorial Committee to organize a memorial service for the men of Kinkaseki and to let local people know about the infamous Kinkaseki POW Camp.
May - The memorial service for the men of Kinkaseki takes place on May 16 with the showing of the film “A War Story”. Former POW Jack Edwards is in attendance and assists in leading a tour to Kinkaseki Camp on May 18.
- Location of the former Kukutsu Camp is found.
Jun. - A meeting of the committee is held and it is decided to build a formal memorial for the Kinkaseki and Taiwan POWs at Jinguashi.
Oct/Nov. - The memorial is constructed
Nov. - The Taiwan POW Memorial is dedicated at Jinguashi on November 23 with three former POWs present. News of the memorial spreads to the UK, Canada, USA and Australia.
Jan. - The project to find the former Taiwan POW survivors and locate the sites of all the POW camps on the island is initiated by Michael Hurst.
- The location of the former Karenko Camp is discovered.
Mar. - POW information plaques at Jinguashi are completed and installed.
Jul. - Launch of the original Kinkaseki POW Camp Memorial website, enlarged in 1999 to the current "Never Forgotten" site.
Oct. - The location of the former Taichu Camp is found south of Taichung.
Nov. - The first annual Remembrance Week event is held with five former POWs in attendance. Three former Taichu POWs return to that camp for a visit after 56 years.
Mar. - The wall and landscaping project at the Jinguashi POW memorial is completed.
Apr. - The original Kinkaseki Committee closes down - its work is done.
May - The Taiwan POW Camps Memorial Society is launched to continue the work started by Hurst and the Kinkaseki Memorial Committee.
- The Commonwealth Remembrance Committee is also formed to assist the Society with Remembrance Day Services.
Jul. - The first ever Kinkaseki POW Reunion is held in the UK and Michael and Tina Hurst attend.
Sep. - Discovery of the former Heito Camp.
Nov. - The second Remembrance Week is held with four former Taiwan POWs present.
- The Kukutsu POW Memorial is dedicated with three former POWs in attendance.
Jun. - Discovery of Taihoku Camp # 5.
Sep. - The locations of the Shirakawa and Toroku Camps are uncovered.
Oct. - Verification of the site of Taihoku Camp # 6.
Nov. - Third annual Remembrance Week takes place with eleven former POWs and eighteen family members and friends in attendance. This figure includes three POWs and nine family members and friends from the first Royal British Legion tour to Taiwan.
- The Taichu POW Memorial is dedicated with three former POWs from that camp, eight other POWs and eighteen family members present.
Jan. - The site of the Takao Camp is discovered at Kaohsiung Harbour.
Aug. - The Inrin and Inrin Temporary Camps are located.
Nov. - The fourth Remembrance Week brings five POWs and fifteen family members to Taiwan.
Feb. - Invitation to participate in the 60th anniversary of the surrender commemoration event in Singapore.
Jun. - The site of Tamazato Camp is discovered and explored.
Aug. - The location of the Churon Evacuation Camp is verified.
Oct. - HRH Prince Charles presents the MBE to Michael Hurst for his work with the POWs at a ceremony in Buckingham Palace.
- The location of the Taiwan POW Memorial Tree at the National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas, Staffs., UK is confirmed.
Nov. - 60th anniversary of Singapore surrender year draws four POWs and ten family members back to Taiwan for the fifth annual Remembrance Week Event.
Apr. - The Taiwan POW Memorial Tree is dedicated at the National Memorial Arboretum in the UK.
Sep. - Toroku POW Camp is explored more thoroughly.
Nov. - One POW and two family members return to Taiwan for the sixth annual Remembrance Week.
May - Re-dedication of the Kukutsu POW Memorial following its relocation.
Oct. - Location of the Oka Camp is finally confirmed after a 5-year search.
Nov. - Seventh annual Remembrance Week sees seven former POWs and twelve family members return to Taiwan.
- Dedication of the Heito POW Memorial with six POWs present.
Jan. - 60th Anniversary of the bombing of the hellship Enoura Maru in Kaohsiung Harbour. A memorial service is conducted at Kaohsiung Harbour. One former American POW who survived the bombing returns to Taiwan for the event.
Feb. - The American Institute in Taiwan presents the 'Liaison Affairs Medal' to Society Director Michael Hurst in recognition of and gratitude for his services to the former American POWs who were held in Taiwan and their surviving family members.
Mar. - Trip to Kyushu, Japan to find and research the camps where Taiwan POWs went after leaving camps in Taiwan in 1945.
Jun. - Memorial service to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the execution of 14 American flyers is held at the Taipei Prison. The brother of one of the executed airmen and his two sons from the USA attend the event.
Aug. - 60th Anniversary End of WWII Taiwan POW Exhibition & the launch of the TPCMS 60th Anniversary Commemorative Stamp Sheet at the National Armed Forces Museum, Taipei.
Sep. - 60th Anniversary of the end of WWII and the evacuation of the POWs from Keelung Harbour. Five former crewmembers of the Royal Navy evacuation ships which took part, return for the memorial service held by the Society.
Nov. - Three POWs and fourteen family members are present at the eighth annual Remembrance Week event.
- Dedication of the Taiwan Prisoner of War Memorial Park.
Jan. - Dedication of the Taiwan Hellships Memorial at Chijin Beach, Kaohsiung.
Nov. - No POWs were in attendance for our ninth Remembrance Week, but five family members took part.
- Dedication of the Eternal Flame of Peace and Remembrance at the POW Memorial Park, Jinguashi.
Apr. - Trip to Tokyo and Yokohama Japan to find and research the camps where Taiwan POWs went after leaving camps in Taiwan in 1942.
May - Trip to Shenyang (Mukden, Manchuria) China to visit the former Mukden POW Camp. Many of the senior officers from Karenko and Shirakawa camps finished the war there.
Nov. - One former POW and sixteen family members return for the 10th anniversary event.
- Dedication of the Taiwan POW Memorial Tree at the POW Memorial Park, Jinguashi.
Aug. - The first ever FEPOW Day event is held in Taiwan at the Spot Theatre in Taipei.
Sep. - Michael Hurst attended the Taiwan POW Reunion at Newcastle in the UK.
- Internment of ashes & memorial service for George Harrison - organized and sponsored by the Taiwan POW Camps Memorial Society, is held at Crawley, Sussex. UK. A FEPOW Memorial Bench erected by the Society in honour of George and Alfred J. Foster, both local Crawley POWs, and all the men of the 5th Field Reg't. R.A., is dedicated.
Oct. - Return trip to Shenyang and Liao Yuan, China to study and explore the camp sites where Taiwan POWs went in 1944 - 45.
Nov. - One POW and his two family members take part in the 11th Remembrance Week event.
May - Dedication of the War & Peace Park and Museum at Chijin Beach Kaohsiung Harbour where the Taiwan Hellships Memorial is located.
Jun. - Dedication of the Toroku POW Memorial at Douliou.
- Dedication of the American Airmen’s Plaque on the former Taipei Prison Wall, in honour of the American airmen held - and those executed, in the former Taihoku Prison in 1944-45.
Jul. - Discovery of the Maruyama Evacuation Camp location in Taipei.
Aug. - The second Taiwan FEPOW Day event is held at the Spot Theatre in Taipei.
Sep. - Michael Hurst attended the second Taiwan POW Reunion held at Newcastle in the UK.
Nov. - Six POWs and sixteen family members take part in the 12th Remembrance Week event.
Apr. - All the graves of the former Taiwan POWs are photographed at the Sai Wan War Cemetery in Hong Kong.
Aug. - The third Taiwan FEPOW Day event is held at the Spot Theatre in Taipei.
Sep. - The third consecutive Taiwan POW Reunion is held at Newcastle in the UK.
Nov. - Thirteen family members take part in the 13th Remembrance Week event. No POWs were present this year.
May - Completion of the construction of Phase II of the Taiwan POW Memorial Park.
- Dedication of the Taiwan Hellships Display at the War & Peace Park Museum, Kaohsiung.
- First US Memorial Day celebration takes place at the old Taipei Prison Wall.
Aug. - The fourth Taiwan FEPOW Day event is held at the Spot Theatre in Taipei.
- Project to place a memorial stone for the Enoura Maru POW victims at the Punchbowl War Cemetery in Hawaii is initiated.
Sep. - The fourth consecutive Taiwan POW Reunion is held at Newcastle in the UK.
- Completion of construction of the Taihoku Camp 6 POW Memorial.
Oct. - Launch of the Taiwan POW Camps Memorial Society’s new updated website.
Nov. - One POW and thirteen family members take part in the 14th Remembrance Week event.
- Dedication of Taihoku Camp 6 POW Memorial at the Ministry of National Defense Headquarters in Taipei.
- Dedication of Phase II of the Taiwan POW Memorial Park, the POW Memorial Wall, granite POW Map and “Mates” Sculpture at Jinguashi.
Aug. - The fifth Taiwan FEPOW Day event is held at the Spot Theatre in Taipei.
Sep. - The fifth consecutive Taiwan POW Reunion is held at Newcastle in the UK.
Nov. - Four POW family members take part in the 15th Remembrance Week event celebrating the 15th Anniversary of the building and dedication of the Kinkaseki / Taiwan POW Memorial.
- Dedication of Karenko POW Camp Memorial at the site of the Military Police base in Hualien.
Dec. - Society Director Michael Hurst is awarded the Taiwan Veterans Memorial Medal by the Taiwanese Veterans Association.
Feb. - R.O.C. Minister of Defense, Gen. Kao Hua-Chu, presents the ROC Ministry of National Defense Badge of Honour to Michael Hurst for his work with the POWs, at a ceremony at MND Headquarters.
Aug. - The sixth Taiwan FEPOW Day event is held at the Spot Theatre in Taipei.
- Completion of construction of the Shirakawa POW Camp Memorial.
Nov. - Seven POW family members take part in the 16th Remembrance Week event.
- Dedication of the Shirakawa POW Camp Memorial in the village of Nei-Jiao, November 11th.
Aug. - The seventh Taiwan FEPOW Day event is held at the Spot Theatre in Taipei.
- Largest turnout ever to see the films "The Railway Man" and "Enemy My Friend".
Nov. - Fourteen family members and one former POW take part in the 17th Remembrance Week event.
- Re-dedication of the Taiwan Hellships Memorial at Chijin War and Peace Park, Kaohsiung.
Jun. - 70th Anniversary Commemoration at the former Taipei Prison wall in honour of the American airmen who were held in the Taihoku Prison in 1944-45 - and those who were needlessly murdered there on June 19, 1945.
Aug. - The eighth Taiwan FEPOW Day event is held at the Spot Theatre in Taipei. The films "Unbroken" and "The Real Louis Zamperini Story" were shown.
Nov. - Installation of the Memorial Bench in front of the Taiwan POW Memorial Wall in the POW Park in Jinguashi.
- Nine overseas guests including one former POW take part in the 18th Remembrance Week event.
Aug. - The ninth Taiwan FEPOW Day event is held at the Spot Theatre in Taipei. The films
“The Great Raid” and “The Ghosts of Bataan” were shown.
Nov. - Six POW family members take part in the 19th Remembrance Week event.
“We will remember them”