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

10 Far East November 1945 L i I t rate ion Let t e vs What a Day! Kuching Sarawak. 11.9.45 I 'VE made it— heaven be praised after a stretch of 3 years P.o.W. life with the same faces greeting everyone morn­ing arid the shocking sound of Japanese grating on one's ears we have at last seen a couple of new faces and heard a strange voice speaking our own language, although with a strong Australian accent. Boy oh Boy! What a day! Since the first Allied raid here at Kuching Sarawak on Lady day by American aircraft— a pamphlet raid— we have most impatiently awaited develop­ments. It took several days for the news to soak in particularly with the Japanese in control and loth to admit defeat. We took things quietly and for the most part patiently awaiting arrival of he -relieving f to cart us away. I should be iily lit by the time of r^rfa arrival—fc pleasure boat trip and wholesorn European food as a change from Asiatic muck. We have already had our first samples —dropped from aircraft. —From a Lieutenant R.A. Shippings and Beatings Rangoon. 12.9.45. I REALISE that you must be pretty worried about the result of a lot of gruesome stories that are reaching the Press about P.o.W. camps in Siam and I would like to assure you that although these stories are largely true I have been veryf lucky personally. Lack of food at certain periods merely made me thin and had no w-orse effects. As regards personal ill-treatment 1 have been luckier than most. But I've had some face-slappings and beatings with bamboos like every­body else usually for 110 reason at all. It is most irritating to have to standstill and be belted by a four-foot-nothing little yellow Jap and not be able to retaliate. But if you are not hurt too much after your rage simmers down you laugh over the incident with your friends while vowr ing revenge 'one day. "—From a Lance-Corporal. As Fit as Ever Ex-P.o.W .Camp Bangkok. 30.8.45. WHAT joy it is to be able to write. I'm bursting with excitement. Before anything I know you will wish to know that I'm really truly welland probably as fit as I have ever been. You must have heard of the troubles that have appeared— but in this I have been exceptionally fortunate. This is not just to reassure you— it really is true as you will realise when I tell you the whole tale and show you the sketches I have made. Aiofhcr good point too is that I have had good companions throughout. We have been in beautiful and interesting country which has helped. I have been very grateful and happy to hear of your work on P.o.W. Com­mittees though I am afraid your efforts were made ineffective by non-co-opera­tion at this end. —From a Lieutenant. Marvellous Red Cross Parcels Hoten P.o.W. Camp Manchuria. 19.8.43. THE Red Cross parcels were just mar­ vellous when we got them but this was not very often. I do not know' on what scale they were issued but it must have been more than one for every three months in fact we know that the Japs just stole them right left and centre— one sentry boasted that he had had seven parcels all to himself. We lived for the lirst 2. years on rice three times a day— a cupful each time— plus a little so-called vegetable soup but as the guard stole most of the vegetable, it was mostly coloured water. There was no bread or anything else. At this camp there is no canteen abut special showcase is kept with various 1 should like to thank the Ked Cross for all they did for me during the 3J years I spent at the Jinsen and Keijo Camps in Korea. All of us realised what you were up against and were very grate­ful indeed for the supplies you managed to get through to us eventually. —G.A. A. Denne Lieut. (ex insen Camp). Grand Job of Work British P.o.W. Camp Manila. Having had many comforts from Aus­tralian and American Red Cross Units it was very gratifying to us when we arrived hereto find members of our own B.R.C.S. doing all they canto make us happy and comfortable during our short stay here. They are doing a grand job of work I can assure you. All these amenities mean much to us. We all appreciate them very much indeed even though outwardly there is possibly no packets in it all priced. When .the Red Cross representative comes to inspect the camp this case is brought out and dusted and a notice put up alongside it stating what the canteen hours arc etc. In Manchuria we exchanged rice for beans made with a vegetable soup twice a day and corn porridge one day. We got three rolls of bread lor some months but then it was cut to two and we all started to lose weight again. —From a Brigadier. What to do With Rice Batavia Java. J4.9.45. HULLO folks this is a freeman writ-ing to you in the hope that it reaches you from an ex-Jap holiday camp. We hear from the radio which now blares world news that food is still rationed. Lucky people here it has been almost non-existent. One thing— if you have any rice in the house dump it. Since the war finished food has been coming into the camp in enormous quan­tities and the Japs are very very servile these days all smiles and golden-teeth grins. 5 ijnftr —From a Leading Aircraftman. After Three Years At Sea en route to India. It may interest you to know that in a jungle camp some 90 miles from Bang­kok ...on August 17th 1945 the food parcels dispatched from London in June, 1942 were handed to us. We were like children with Christmas stockings! ...T. Stapleton Major (ex No. 2 Camp Thailand). The Gurkhas Knew Dharmsala Kangra District India. May T take this opportunity (long awaited) to thank your organisation for all your kindness to officers and men of the 2/jst Gurkha Rifles who have been prisoners of war in Malaya Thailand and Singapore for the last 3J years? Your task must have seemed hopeless we all knew that you were doing ever}'- lm r ir What IIV II ere /if Ayttinsi Many letters of warm appreciation have rcached the Red Cross St.and John War Organisation from liberated prisoners. They express jratitude not only for the efforts only too often frustrated by the apanese to bring them relief in the camps but also for the ministra--tions of the Red Cross Missions and welfare officers at the reception camps and ports and on board ships since their release. All of Us Realised Recovered Personnel Camp Manila. sign of such but the appreciation is there nevertheless. —Leslie Garner Gunner R.A. (ex Fukuoka Camp).
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