Mutimer, Percy James (Oral history)

Catalogue number
  • 4801
Production date
Subject period
  • whole: Duration 120, Number Of Items 4
Alternative names
  • object name: Oral history
  • object category: IWM interview


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Object description

British NCO served with 5th Searchlight Regiment, Royal Artillery in Singapore, Malaya, 1941-1942; POW in Changi POW Camp, Singapore, Malaya and Saigon POW Camp in French Indo-China, 1942-1945

Content description

REEL 1 Aspects of period as NCO with 5th Searchlight Regiment, Royal Artillery in Malaya, 1941-1942: prior recollections of joining 316 Company, 5th Searchlight Regiment, Royal Engineers, Territorial Army, 1935; lack of preparations for hostilities; move from Singapore to Kulang to defend airfield; reaction to rapidity of Japanese advance; duties defending Singapore; intensity of Japanese bombardment of Singapore; orders to surrender; impressions of Japanese troops and relief at surrender; civilian behaviour on surrender; sight of aftermath of battle. Aspects of period as POW in Changi POW Camp in Singapore, Malaya, 2/1942-8/1942: march to camp; food and sickness; Japanese killing of civilians in boat. Recollections of period as POW in Saigon POW Camp, French Indo-China, 8/1942-8/1945: voyage from Singapore to Saigon; accommodation; work parties and daily work regime. REEL 2 Continues: pressure to work; character of brutal Japanese guard; his clash with Japanese guard over money; Japanese Army discipline; dog meat stew; the Japanese character; POW trading with Vietnamese; POW illnesses and lack of treatment; Japanese attitude towards sick POWs; Mutimer’s punishment for going sick; Japanese attitude towards POWs; relations between British, Dutch, US and Australian POWs. REEL 3 Continues: relations with American POWs; successful escape of US POW; Japanese beheading of unsuccessful escapees; Japanese attitude and behaviour towards drowned POW; receiving war news; distribution of war news; attitude towards personal survival and ultimate outcome of war; Japanese demoralising tactics; story of POWs hiding radio in Japanese commandant’s suitcase; POW sabotage efforts; Kempeitai officer’s use of psychological games with POWs; effects of Japanese bombing raids on Saigon docks. REEL 4 Continues: degree of contact with home and Japanese withholding of mail; Japanese not recognising POW rights; behaviour of officers under captivity; lack of POW collaboration with Japanese; Japanese attempts to make propaganda from POWs; signing of parole under duress; hearing news of end of war, 8/1945; Australian treatment of Japanese captors on liberation; reception and treatment on return to GB, 1945. Attitude towards Japanese, 1981. Physical and psychological effects of captivity, Attitude towards Emperor Hirohito visit to GB, 1971.

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