Tricia’s proudest achievement was the publication of her incredibly moving novel, Benedict’s Brother, and the progress she and her team had made to turn it into in a major film. We fully expect that the dream will not die with her, and it will one day become a reality. TO THE RIVER is currently being developed into a feature film, based on Tricia Walker’s Bestselling novel Benedict’s Brother to be directed by Aislinn Clarke (The Devil’s Doorway) from a screenplay by Natalie Malla (Taboo) and produced by Stephanie Moon and Deborah Sheppard of TTR Films Ltd.
Tricia always said she wanted to help in keeping the memories of those who were unfortunate to become prisoners of war but were told never to talk about it, ‘The Forgotten Army’.
She also wanted to show her appreciation to all of those men and women who have served our country, especially those who never came home, those who suffered in war, and still do, and their families who sometimes have to bear even greater suffering long afterwards.
For her “Uncle Erno” and all those who have served and continue to do so, she asked that we read the book, and ensure that our children do, education is knowledge and through it remembrance and appreciation.
“Tricia wanted SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity to benefit from the sale of her novel Benedict’s Brother by raising £42000.
“I was inspired to become involved with this important appeal after I was given a copy of the book. It is so different to any other book of this period of our military history. It is incredibly poignant. I was astounded by how different it is and I’ve now read it twice. I urge everyone to read it and I thoroughly recommend it to all ages, especially schools. You won’t be able to put it down and I can’t wait to see the film. This is for my father and many like him, but also for all those who wear The Burma Star and those who never made it back. Although they were told not to talk about it, the time has come now for our children to “Beat the Drum” because they are the pilgrims who will make sure that the term “Forgotten Army” is banished from our history books.
“Above all thank you Tricia for bringing this story into our lives..”
Mike Curry, Director of the Appeal.
The print edition of this book is only available through this website.
£10 inc p&p
If buying outside the UK please add £2 to your order
For every book sold, 30% will be paid in support of SSAFA
I was a soldier
We are a nation that remembers, you might say we are the best at it,
We are rich in history of every kind, created by Explorers, Scientist, Authors, and Poets, but our history of warfare is by far the most remembered and commemorated
The history books record in their thousands the great military and naval battles making them the film makers paradise..
Yet some are best forgotten, if not forgotten best not talked about why?
Not really that important?
Not politically appropriate at this time?
Whatever the reason the person most effected would have to be the service person.
But at least they stood up to the line when ordered, many died and some suffered life turning injuries, then there were the captured or those who had to surrender, but they at least had the honour of knowing they did so as a last resort.
But what of those we hardly ever mention, in their case they never even got the chance to fight, some of them had just arrived to join the battle to be told to lay down their arms, many of them had no arms!
There cannot be anything more soul destroying, knowing they were about to become prisoners of a nation who believed surrender the lowest form of honour; and to do so it would rather they commit suicide.
As a former soldier I cannot imagine how I would have felt, angry, yes, totally disgusted at the turn of events, who to blame?
And the shame of becoming a prisoner, perhaps for years, of an enemy that did not recognise the Geneva Convention must have had a profound effect on them that lasts to this day.
The Appeal to Date
Over the last 18 months Tricia had been heavily involved in book signing events, whilst working with the film’s producers and script writers; we have travelled hundreds of miles and met many former servicemen and women and were struck by the amount of people who were not aware of the term “Forgotten Army “ but were immediately attracted to the story.
Tricia’s last photo at a book signing event at the Imperial War Museum November 2017
I took along the documentation from Uncle Erno’s journey as a JPOW today. I only have the pages of the prisoner lists with his name on, not the full list. Walter told me his father was also held in Formosa/Taiwan so he was very intrigued. As we looked, a few lines above Erno’s name, there it was, Walter Swan, (also his father’s name) and his father’s corresponding regimental number.
Walter couldn’t believe it. He’s never seen these documents before. I couldn’t believe it either at first!
After quite a few tears from both of us, we realised from the documents that Walter’s father and Uncle Erno probably came home on the same ship!
The support and acknowledgements given to the Appeal have come from many quarters and Tricia was very touched by them; The appeal hopes to raise £42,000 for SSAFA .
General the Lord Dannatt, GCB. CBE. MC. DL., former Chief of the General Staff has added his support Benedict’s Appeal launched in 2017 together over this special edition of Benedict’s Brother,” said Lord Dannatt. “And I very much hope that it not only raises a useful amount of money for the very valuable work done by the Soldiers’, Sailors’ and Airmen’s Families Association (SSAFA), but helps to honour the memory of her uncle.
“I congratulate Tricia Walker for supporting the memory of the Far East Prisoners of War through the imaginative memorial at the National Arboretum.”
“I’m very moved by the kind words from Lord Dannatt and delighted to launch Benedict’s Appeal in aid of SSAFA and my chosen charities,” said author Tricia. “My Uncle Erno would have been incredibly touched. He was drafted into service as a young Signalman in the 9th Indian Division and like so many never spoke about what happened. It was six years before he made it home and he needed years of support and care from his family who knew nothing of the truth of his suffering. They are all heroes.”
Aims of Benedict’s Appeal
- The work of SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity in its dedication to maintain support for all currently serving, veterans and their families, who are suffering and in need of care.
- To provide more knowledge for schools, most children have no knowledge of this part in our history, Benedict’s Brother is an ideal vehicle to do that.
- Above all to strike from the record the Forgotten Army’s order not to speak and reward them for their silence all these years for obeying military discipline. The appeal hopes to raise £42,000 for SSAFA.
SSAFA provides lifelong support to the the Armed Forces family, providing practical, emotional and financial support. Established in 1885, every year their teams of staff and volunteers help over 73,000 people – from Second World War veterans to those involved in more recent conflicts, and their families.
Find out more: visit ssafa.org.uk