The archive mainly consists of material relating to Dr Allchin's efforts for peace and reconciliation with his captors. It includes typescripts and manuscripts of books, articles and poems by Dr Allchin and other individuals; correspondence with Mr Nagase Takashi, other POWs, and many organisations; press releases and other publicity material; and press cuttings, many from Hampshire or the Far East.
Papers of William H. Allchin.
Scope and Content
Administrative / Biographical History
William Henry "Bill" Allchin was born in Harrow, Middlesex, on 27 March 1921. During the Second World War, as a Lieutenant in 18 Battalion Reconnaissance (Recce) Corps, he was captured at the fall of Singapore and spent three and a half years as a prisoner-of-war, first at Changi from February 1942-May 1943. He was then one of the POWs who worked on the Thailand-Burma "death railway", until he was sent back to Changi in December 1943, where he remained until liberation in December 1945. At Changi, he learned Japanese to try to communicate with his captors. After war service he trained as a doctor, eventually specialising in psychiatry with particular concern for children and young people. He moved to Hampshire in 1961 to work at Leigh House, near Eastleigh, the Wessex Regional Health Authority adolescent unit. From 1976 he practised as an independent psychiatrist. He was also an adult education tutor with the Workers' Education Association. Dr Allchin was a member of the Labour Party and stood four times in general elections as a Parliamentary Candidate for the Winchester/Andover constituency. Dr Allchin returned to Thailand in January 1976 with a group of POWs: he concluded that as a survivor of the camps he was "under an obligation to work for peace and reconciliation". He supported a plan by a Japanese interpreter from the camps, Mr Nagase Takashi, for a reconciliation at the River Kwai. When this proved impossible for most British ex-POWs, Dr Allchin helped organise a meeting at Westminster Abbey to bear witness. He continued to correspond with Nagase Takashi and to work for reconciliation with the Japanese. He was involved with various campaigning groups, including the Ex Servicemen's Anti-War Group and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. He was Chair of the Winchester Peace Council and worked with homeless people with the Winchester Housing Action Group. He became a member of the Society of Friends (Quakers). Dr Allchin published many journal articles concerning his psychiatric work and also was a poet, many of his poems relating to his reconciliation experiences. Dr Allchin retired to Bangor with his partner of many years, Tom. He died there on New Year's Day 2001, aged 79. A bursary for Peace Studies students at the University of Bradford was set up in his memory.
The original files and system of arrangement used by Dr Allchin have been retained where these are evident.
Available to researchers, by appointment. Access to archive material is subject to preservation requirements and must also conform to the restrictions of the Data Protection Act and any other appropriate legislation. This Archive contains correspondence and other items containing personal data so access is restricted under the Data Protection Act pending further cataloguing. This will be carried out in response to user demand so individuals are encouraged to inform Special Collections of their interest in this material.
Donated to Special Collections by Dr Allchin's Estate in 2009.
Biographical history based on Dr Allchin's obituary in the Hampshire Chronicle, 12 January 2001, biographical blurbs in his printed works, and his Liberation Questionnaire, digitised and placed online by COFEPOW.
Other Finding Aids
A basic boxlist has been produced to make the Archive accessible as quickly as possible. This will be further refined in response to user demand.
Described by Alison Cullingford, using ISAD(G) 2, November 2014.
Conditions Governing Use
Copies may be supplied or produced at the discretion of Special Collections staff, subject to copyright law and the condition of the originals. The donor's rights in this collection have been assigned to Special Collections, but note that many third-party copyrights are represented in the Archive. Applications for permission to make published use of any material should be directed to the Special Collections Librarian in the first instance. Special Collections staff will assist where possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.
Duplicates and irrelevant material have been weeded as seen; further appraisal will be carried out as the Archive is catalogued in more detail.