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Psychology Professor Mark McDermott appears on BBC Radio 4’s ‘All In The Mind’

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Psychology professor discusses his father's experience as a POW

By Lee Pinkerton

Professor Mark McDermott was recently a guest on the BBC Radio 4 Psychology programme ‘All In The Mind’.  The episode featured a discussion about historian Clare Makepeace’s new book Captives of War: British Prisoners of War in Europe in the Second World War.
Dr Makepeace’s book is a pioneering history exploring how POWs (prisoners of war) felt in captivity and how they psychologically responded to the experience. It was inspired by a conversation she had with her grandfather in 2008, when he described his experience of being a POW as a ‘humiliation’.  
The topic is not only close to Dr Makepeace, but also to ‘All In The Mind’ host Dr Claudia Hammond and Professor McDermott, who both had family members who were prisoners of war. In Mark’s case, it was his father, while Claudia’s uncle was held captive.
Mark’s father, Leslie McDermott-Brown (1925-1993), is one of the 75 POWs whose experiences are featured in the book. In 1940 at the age of 15 he was one of WWII’s youngest British prisoners of war.
Dr Makepeace’s book is primarily based upon the diaries, letters and logbooks kept by POWs whilst they were behind barbed wire. Because she wanted to get as close as possible to how it felt at the time of captivity, Clare does not draw upon memoirs or other retrospective sources. Through personal narratives, she explores POWs’ inner and intimate worlds. 
You can listen to the show again via this link to the bbc –player.

Captives of War: British Prisoners of War in Europe in the Second World War, is published by Cambridge University Press.