Private Papers of J C Brodie

Catalogue number
  • Documents.19690
Production date
Subject period
  • File: Weight 4.4 kg
private papers

History note

Cataloguer RWAS

Content description

Photocopy of a very interesting and informative ts memoir (54pp), written in late 1946, describing how, as an employee of the Anglo-Oriental Company at their office in Kuala Lumpur when war broke out in the Far East, he was forced by the rapid Japanese advance through Malaya to move with the Company's records to a temporary location in Singapore at the end of December 1941 and was then given a pemit allowing him to be evacuated from Singapore shortly before its surrender, his consequent embarkation on the MATA HARI with other civilians and service personnel on 12 February 1942, the capture of the ship three days later by a Japanese warship when off the east coast of Sumatra, his experiences as a civilian internee in Sumatra in Muntok Gaol (February - March 1942), Pladjoe golf club (March - April 1942), Palembang Gaol (April 1942 - January 1943), a camp just outside Palembang (January - September 1943), Muntok Gaol again (September 1943 - May 1944), a hospital camp in the Tin Winning building in Muntok (June 1944 - February 1945) and a camp in the Belaloe rubber estate near Loebek Linggau (February - August 1945), their treatment by their former captors and the Allies following Japan's surrender, journey by air to Singapore and his passage on the HIGHLAND CHIEFTAN to Australia and reunion with his family (August - October 1945). His narrative, which is accompanied by photocopies of a photograph of him and of ms and ts lists (7pp) of British male and female internees who died in southern Sumatra between 1942 and 1945 giving their date and place of death and, for the men only, their cause of death, highlights the totally inadequate rations and living conditions for the internees in all these locations, the constant indifferance of the Japanese towards them and the extremely high rate of mortality among the internees from 1944 onwards as a result of their appalling ill treatment and neglect, while he also includes valuable details about the entertainments and other social activities that the internees organised for themselves in Palembang in 1942 - 1943 before their health deteriorated, the very infrequent mail which they could send or received, funeral arrangements in the camps, his own employment during his internment as a kitchen worker and, from June 1943 onwards, as a camp hospital orderly, his appreciation of the work of the Dutch on behalf of their fellow internees and his ways of keeping himself mentally alert.

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