Dr Terry Smyth

Community Fellow
Department of History
Dr Terry Smyth



I was born and bred in Essex, but now live in Suffolk. My professional life divides into three parts: a career in the health service, followed by further and higher education. After early retirement in 2003, I spent eight years as a freelance education consultant working with local, regional and national clients. During WWII, my father was a POW in Java and Japan. Many years after his death in 1995, I discovered he had spent 3 years incarcerated in a POW camp called Hiroshima 6B, approximately 115 kilometres from Hiroshima, slaving as a coal miner, where he felt the rumble of the atomic bomb. Assisted by Japanese friends, I travelled to Japan in 2010 and 2014 to visit the site of my father’s camp, and to foster reconciliation. For more information see: A series of serendipitous events inspired me to undertake a full time PhD at the University of Essex (2013-2017), where I was fortunate to discover, in Professor Michael Roper and Dr. Mark Frost, two supervisors closely attuned to my own interests. In 2020, I accepted a book contract with Bloomsbury Academic. The book draws on my PhD research and examines the lifetime legacy of having a father who had been a prisoner of the Japanese in the Second World War. The title is 'Captive Fathers, Captive Children' and was published in November 2022, and the paperback version in July 2023. Since December 2017, I have been a Community Fellow in the History Department from which base I continue to pursue my scholarly work, and to extend local and wider networks for the benefit of the department and university as a whole. I have taken a particular interest in the consequences of the closure of two local hospitals - Severalls Hospital and Essex County Hospital - including prompting and then contributing to events to mark the closures. I have disseminated the results of my research on the children of Far East Prisoners of War to local community groups, for example Colchester Recalled, as well as to international audiences (the Netherlands, Japan and UK). Currently, I am working on unique oral history and memoir material that connects a local family with late colonial life in the tea estates of Sri Lanka. This, I believe, could be expanded into new contexts and geographies, so as to uncover fresh local/global histories.


  • PhD Sociology University of Essex, (2017)

  • MA Educational Management and Administration University of East Anglia, (1986)

  • BA (Psychology, Sociology and Education) Open University, (1982)


University of Essex

  • Honorary Senior Lecturer, School of Health and Human Sciences, University of Essex (1/1/2011 - 1/1/2013)

  • Community Fellow, History, University of Essex (1/12/2017 - 1/2/2024)

Other academic

  • Visiting Fellow, Institute of Health and Social Care, Anglia Ruskin University (2005 - 2006)

  • Project Leader for Interprofessional Learning, Institute of Health and Social Care, Anglia Ruskin University (2004 - 2005)

  • Head of Faculty, Faculty of Music Arts and Health, Colchester Institute (1985 - 2003)

  • Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, Royal Historical Society (5/6/2023 - present)

Research and professional activities

Conferences and presentations

Holding onto Memories in Japan

Invited presentation, Commemorating the Second World War in the Young 21st Century, York, UK, York, United Kingdom, 21/7/2023

The life and legacy of a British tea planter in late colonial Ceylon: a serendipitous case study

Invited presentation, 47th Annual Conference, University of Essex, Colchester, United Kingdom, 6/7/2023

Captive Fathers, Captive Children

Invited presentation, Symposium - Prisoners of the Pacific War: History, memory and Forgetting, Kyoto, Japan, 7/2/2023

Captive Fathers, Captive Children

Invited presentation, Symposium - Intergenerational transmission of trauma and moral injury as a consequence of war, The Hague, Netherlands, 9/12/2022

Captive Fathers, Captive Children: Legacies of the War in the Far East

Invited presentation, MAKING AND PRESERVING MEMORY: WIDENING PERSPECTIVES ON FAR EAST CAPTIVITY, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, RFHG, Liverpool, United Kingdom, 5/6/2020

Putting the self to work

Invited presentation, The Historian's I: Autobiography, Memory and Practice, Colchester, United Kingdom, 15/6/2019

When objects tell the story

Invited presentation, Captivity and internment across the Far East during the Second World War, RFHG Workshop, London, United Kingdom, 10/6/2019

Captive Fathers, Captive Children

Invited presentation, Keynote presentation, Trauma, Recognition and Reconciliation after Violent Conflict, Dialoog NJI Symposium,, Den Haag, Netherlands, 6/10/2018

‘In Search of Fathers’

Invited presentation, Future Memories: where next for Far East Prisoner of War Studies?, Leeds, United Kingdom, 19/3/2018

‘In search of fathers: place, pilgrimage and the children of Far East Prisoners of War’

Invited presentation, Borders of Memory - National Commemoration in East Asia Conference, Fukuoka, Japan, 18/12/2016

‘Your father’s in the front room’: interviewing the children of Far East prisoners of war

Alternate Spaces of War, Plymouth, United Kingdom, 7/7/2015

'From the Inside Out'

Emotional Methodologies, Leicester, United Kingdom, 19/5/2015


Journal articles (8)

Jackson, JM., Bungay, H., Smyth, H. and Lord, S., (2015). The status of assistant practitioners in the NHS. British Journal of Healthcare Management. 21 (4), 186-189

Smyth, T., (2002). Pipe dreams. BMJ. 325 (7355), 111-111

Rowland, S., Byron, C., Furedi, F., Padfield, N. and Smyth, T., (1998). Turning Academics into Teachers?. Teaching in Higher Education. 3 (2), 133-141

Smyth, T., (1997). Academic Leadership in a Mixed Economy College: the case of counselling education. Journal of Further and Higher Education. 21 (1), 63-72

Smyth, T., (1996). Reinstating the person in the professional: reflections on empathy and aesthetic experience. Journal of Advanced Nursing. 24 (5), 932-937

Smyth, T., (1988). Marginality and the role of the clinical teacher. Journal of Advanced Nursing. 13 (5), 621-630

Smyth, T., (1985). The inner reaches of teaching. Nurse Education Today. 5 (4), 159-162

Smyth, T., (1983). SPECS—Bridging a gap. Nurse Education Today. 3 (1), 4-7

Books (3)

Smyth, T., (2023). Captive Fathers, Captive Children Legacies of the War in the Far East. Bloomsbury Academic. 1350194247. 9781350194243

Smyth, T. and Geeves, M., (1996). Caring for Older People. Palgrave MacMillan. 0732931258. 9780732931254

Smyth, T., (1996). Managing Health and Social Care A Guide for Supervisors and Managers. 0333606566. 9780333606568

Book chapters (2)

Smyth, T., (2019). In search of fathers - the pilgrimages to Asia of the children of Far East prisoners of war. In: Remembering Asia's World War Two. Routledge

Smyth, TS., (2018). “Your father’s in the front room: interviewing the children of Far East prisoners of war”. In: War Experience and Memory in Global Cultures Since 1914. Editors: Smith, AK. and Barkhof, S.,



Colchester Campus

More about me