Des Bettany joined the Territorial Army in 1939. He fought in France, Belgium, and then the Far East.
His family write on their website: "Des ... carried small sketchbooks with him, and recorded aspects of the voyage out [and] actions in Malaya and Singapore, in various media including pencil, ink, watercolour, and pastel."
His family write: "As well as documentary sketches, he kept spirits up by producing a series of cartoons, some of which satirised his captors."
"There are serious works documenting incidents which occurred during the various campaigns, but the spirit of much of the work is one of light-heartedness, helping Des to keep a sense of optimism in the face of a brutal captor. There are also touching works of nostalgia."