The Price of Freedom

Surrender of Singapore
8 Dec 1941Japanese soldiers made a surprise landing at Kota Bahru, Malaya.
31 Jan 1942Japanese soldiers entered and occupied Johore Bahru. From there, they carried out aerial bombardment on Singapore constantly.
7 Feb 1942The Japanese Imperial Guards occupied Pulau Ubin.
9 Feb 1942The Japanese 5th & 18th Divisions made an amphibious landing on the north-west part of Singapore.
15 Feb 1942Singapore surrendered to the Japanese. It was also the first day of the Chinese New Year.




Part 10

That's as far as my Father's diary goes, he did have more to write but he never did get around to finishing it. I think it just became too much for him and he preferred to try to forget it all and get on with his life.
Towards the end of 1942 (where his diary ends) he was sent along with the rest of the prisoners to build the infamous Burma Railway which was made famous by the historically incorrect film called "The Bridge on the River Kwai". I do remember my father going to see this movie and saying that it was all utter bullshit! Compared to what he and thousands of others endured building this railway, Changi seemed rather tame, however he somehow managed to survive incredible deprivation and hardship until it was finished in October of 1943 when he and whatever survivors were left were sent back to Changi and other P.O.W. camps where they were still forced to work until the end of the war.

These are a few mementos I have which I greatly treasure.
Click on the small image to open a full size image in a new window.
With his gun crew practicing in England prior to sailing for Malaya.
A picture of my father in England prior to sailing for Malaya.
My father's leave card dated October 1945 showing that he had 20 attacks of Malaria, Diphtheria (Oct 1942), Dysentry (Oct 1942), Beri-Beri (dry type), Scabies and Oedema and that he was fit to go on leave.
This is a copy of a Christmas card that my mother sent to him while he was a P.O.W. It was one of the rare times he received mail, he managed to hide it from the Japanese by burying it and kept it hidden until he was released. If he had been found to be hiding it he would have been severely bashed.
While he was recovering from Diphtheria in the isoloation ward during 1942 he found a piece of "mother of pearl" and using a nail file carved this pin. It has the initials M and F on it (May and Fred are my parents first names) and he managed to keep it hidden for the next 3 years including almost a year on the Burma Railway and brought it back to England with him.
This is a picture he painted in watercolours after we all came to Australia, it lists all of the camps he worked at and shows crosses to represent the different nationalities who were forced to work on the railway. Unfortunately the picture is quite old now and the quality has suffered quite a bit.

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