Remember Them

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Sorting through all my stuff for my move has been a lot easier that I originally thought it would be. It’s made me realise how much meaningless crap I’ve kept over the years. 

One thing I will never get rid of, one of my most prized possessions is a copy of letters that my great grandfather wrote while he was kept imprisoned in an Internment Camp in Singapore during World War Two.

My dad showed me his copy of the letters a few years ago and told me that the actual letters were in the Imperial War Museum in London. So I wrote off to them and they sent me a copy, it makes fascinating reading even if the whole situation that he and 1000’s more like him were in was terrible. Sadly he like many other’s never made it back home but died 2 and a half years after being imprisoned.

I thought on this Remembrance Sunday I would share a little part of these letters.

Here is he what wrote on 11th November 1942.

“We had a remembrance day service this morning and observed the silence. I wonder what happened at home at 11am. Fletcher did not attend – sulks. Last night we had a second of a series of lectures by the Caledonians, a group of Scots who give talks on Scottish song, story etc., illustrated by music. Last night the subject was “ballads”, very sad really but beautiful nevertheless. All we Scots felt homesick and longing for our loved one. With today on top of it I have done little but think of my three and pray that they are all safe and well. Ten days ago we were permitted to send another post card and I hope mine to you will arrive all right., I have my doubts. Anyway I wished you many happier returns in it darling and sent Xmas and New Year greetings to you all and by the way mentioned a present of a cigarette or two would be appreciated. Our hosts have not issued any since early September and we now smoke what is commonly called Java Grass, I’m sure it is lalang mixed with pony droppings so you see what we have deteriorated into. A smoke however, seems more necessary now than it was six months ago. We are now working morning and afternoon on the boring augur to cope with more and more dysentery. We (the augur gang) were praised by the Block Commandant as being about the only cheerful band of workers. Reason – plenty of hard manual labour and less time to think of one’s personal troubles. I’ve even won a pair of army boots (Red Cross comforts) to work in. You will see that I have run out of “government” paper but I can’t find any more – am lucky to have this. What is the news of the outside world on this Remembrance Day, we wonder. Armistice somehow seems the wrong word to use at the present time. We see in the Syonan Times that Americans have landed or tried to land at various places in French North Africa but?? Roll on, big war, roll on. Darling one it is nearly ten months since I saw you last and what has happened in that time? No more, my pet. God bless you all.”

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About Charlie

On twitter as @CharlieInThe
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4 Responses to Remember Them

  1. Exposing40 says:

    This is really wonderful to read – thank you for sharing. xx

  2. Reading that was very evocative of the time. I really appreciated you sharing it also.

    xx Dee

  3. Velvet Rose says:

    Thank you for sharing a part of your history on this day of remembrance.

    Velvet x

  4. Thanks for letting us into that intimate episode of your family history. Incredibly poignant. I’ve loved reading your posts and admire how you put yourself out there. And if this is to be that last of them, that’s very poignant too. Love and best wishes xxx

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