Far East, Companion Journal to The Prisoner of War, Vol. I, No. II, November 1945

Far Hast November 1945 ships. Members of the Foreign Relations Department in assisting Ministry of Health officials are estimated to have contacted approximately 2500 civilian men women and children at Liverpool and Southampton and to have spoken individuall}' to most of them. On the rail journeys homewards the excitement and joy shown by repatriates in being able to seethe English countryside once more has been infectious. More than 140000 Telegrams Up to the end of October more than 84.000 telegrams had been transmitted from liberated P.o.W .sand civilians to their relatives in this country and about 72.000 had been handed in. Of these more than 60000 have already been for­warded and the remaining 12.000 are being despatched as soon as the appro­priate address is established. All tele­grams giving P.O. Box 164 as the reply address arc passed to the authorities who as soon as they know on which ship the addressee is returning pass them back to the company for transmission. Borneo Camps Letters have reached me from time to time asking for news of the prisoners in Borneo camps. Little information has been given about them because little was known but the Secretary of State for War recently made a statement from which it appears that 868 P.o.W .s were found at Kuching. Over 400 of these men have embarked direct for the United Kingdom the remainder being moved to India. There was another camp at Sandakan. The prisoners there had been marched out by the Japanese earlier in the year to an unknown destination and all trace of them has been lost. It is feared that very few have survived. Everything possible is being done to trace survivors and to obtain additional information but so far without result. The curtain has not been lifted on this further example of Japanese barbarity. Resthouses for Homeless Red Cross St.and John Resthouses which were originally organised to accom­modate war-strained C.L). personnel have been put to anew use in providing tem­porary homes for returned P.o.W .^who need them. Thus in one case a South African gunner in the British Army who escaped from a camp and made his throughway 100 miles of jungle to safety, found himself in this country with no home togo to. He found the rest he needed at the Windsor Resthouse. In another case a man reached home to find his child just out of hospital following diphtheria and his wife very rundown. Worry ailected his own progress so all three were sent to a resthouse ai Wales, which did them a world of good. A Broadcast About Us This journal was the subject of a broad­cast from New Delhi on October 8th by Jean Stewart to released P.o.W .sin the Far East. She had received a.co p y of our last issue by air and ed descril the contents to them. She told them that at a time when very little information was coming through. Far East" bccame the main channel of general news about you and your people eagerly read it and found comfort/ And she explained that “your letters scanty and out-of- date though they inevitably were formed the main feature of the journal.1' I think that they will be very interested, when they get back to see copies of the journal and I know that many of you have kept your copies to show them. Powder Cake Talcum powder from a Red Cross parcel was used by aV.A .D.in Sime Road C.I. Camp Singapore instead of flour to bake a cake with. She was one of 1500 women in this camp. When she recalled this incident her husband a member of the Malay Civil Service was present: 4 Don't imagine from this that we got many parcels/' he said. “They averaged out atone and seven-eighths parcel per person for all the years." The Japanese kept the rest. The normal diet was two -pints of boiled ric and one pint of soup a day. Prisoners' Pay All deductions made in respect of pay advanced or supposed to have been advanced to P.o.W .s by the Japanese under the Geneva Conventions will now be cancelled. The necessary adjustments are eing l made shortly after the released man is repatriated. -HOMECOMING ITEMS AMONG those who landed in Liverpool from the Empire Pride was a former England and Blackheath Rugby foot­baller Lt. Col.S. W .Harris who was with the 7000 men who worked on the infamous Siamese railway. *.Comforts sent by Red Cross St.and John to be placed on board the trans­atlantic ship bringing home repatriates included 20000 handkerchiefs 10.000 safety razors toothbrushes socks, gloves pyjam as and pullovers 5,000 shirts scarves slippers pants and vests, and 2000 dressing gowns. §»The first man ashore from one of the repatriation ships on receiving a Red Cross package remarked: “It's not rice to-day I hope." wIt asn't! #Urns containing the ashes of some of\ tti4 British prisoners of war who died in Japan are being brought home in a de­stroyer. «rf t*In one camp it is reported bv a liber­ated R.A .F .officer Red Cross parcels were shown to the men but were held back day after day on such trivial pre­texts as that the men were not all stand­ing to attention. Then they were doled out in small portions. Published by the Red Cross &St. John War Organisation Pm of diirgii to Repatriate from the Far Eaat LONDON. SEPTEMBER I 9 4 DARTS of the front page of “News "From Britain ”—unique Red Cross magazine for ex-prisoners of war. Written and edited at top speed in the London office of “Far East at very short notice material and pictures were flown to India America and the Middle East. The News Sheet was* thus printed simultaneously in three continents —making foqrnalistic history— and distributed to repatriates as they passed through the ports. The aim was to tell ex-prisoners what had been happening in the world while they were in captivity. Among the contents were articles on the progress of the war in West and East, the change in Government “What Happened to Hitler ”sporting events, scientific advances and a human de­scription of life at home to-day. (The idure f is of the edition printed in Cairo.)
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