shorts, handmade, Far East Civilian Internee

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Catalogue number
  • EPH 617
Materials
  • textile
Dimensions
  • general: Width 540 mm
  • general: Length 420 mm
Alternative Names
  • FULL NAME: shorts, handmade, Far East Civilian Internee
  • SIMPLE NAME: POW
Object Type
clothing
Category
souvenirs and ephemera

License Image

Label

Handmade shorts improvised from the remnants of flour sacks, associated with the service of Archibald Elston who had been Assistant Superintendant in the Hong Kong Police before being made a civilian internee in Stanley Camp, Hong Kong during the Second World War.

History note

These handmade shorts were made from flour sacks. They were used by Archibald Elston who had been Assistant Superintendant in the Hong Kong Police before becoming a civilian internee in Stanley Camp, Hong Kong. After the fall of Hong Kong on Christmas day 1941, about 2,800 civilians were interned in Stanley Camp. Over 130,000 Allied civilians (50,000 men, 42,000 women and 40,000 children) were interned in the Far East, the majority of whom were Dutch nationals from the Netherlands East Indies, in more than 350 camps across the Far East. Internees included colonial officials and their families, employees of European companies and the families of servicemen. More than 14,000 civilian internees were to die as a result of their internment. In the internment camps conditions were severe. Food and clothing were generally in short supply and facilities were basic. Conditions varied according to the location of the camps. Those on mainland China fared relatively well, but in contrast, conditions in the Netherlands East Indies were among the worst; casualties from disease and malnutrition were high. Overcrowding was widespread: 2,800 civilians were held in Changi jail in Singapore which was originally built to hold a quarter of that number. Limited numbers of Red Cross parcels were received in the camps and internees were sometimes permitted to buy or barter for food from locals.

Physical description

A pair of shorts improvised from flour sacking material.

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