Private Papers of Mrs E Cross

Catalogue number
  • Documents.16708
Subject period
  • File: Weight 4.3 kg
private papers

History note

Cataloguer RWAS

Content description

Ms journal (197pp), probably compiled very shortly after the Second World War from contemporary notes, written by the Swiss wife of a British immigration officer who was resident in Singapore up to February 1942 describing how, after they were forced to abandon their home, she was evacuated from Singapore on the MATA HARI on 12 February and became a civilian internee after the ship was captured by the Japanese off the east coast of Sumatra, living initially in a makeshift camp in Muntok (February 1942) and then in two different camps in Palembang (March – December 1942), with interesting references to their primitive and cramped accommodation, domestic and catering arrangements, occasional celebrations and entertainments, contacts with the male internees in Palembang, the behaviour of her fellow women internees, health problems and deaths in the camp, and also listing names of other internees in Muntok and Palembang and of British civilians lost at sea while attempting to escape from Singapore to Sumatra; together with a hand-made notebook diary with ms entries from January 1943 onwards, but increasingly infrequent and brief after autumn 1943, mentioning their rations and domestic routine, her and her fellow internees’ health, news of her husband’s internment in Singapore (30 January 1943), signing a non-escape declaration (6 February 1943), the issue of a postcard to write home (13 March 1943) and the possibility of her transfer from the camp because of her nationality, but latterly referring almost entirely to birthday celebrations and the sharply rising number of deaths among the internees, particularly after mid-1944.

Associated subjects