Truscott, Montague Edward Ephraim (Oral history)

Catalogue number
  • 6104
Production date
Subject period
  • whole: Duration 133, Number Of Items 5
Alternative names
  • object name: Oral history
  • object category: IWM interview


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Object description

British NCO served with Royal Corps of Signals in GB and Hong Kong, 1934-1941; POW in Shamshuipo POW Camp in Hong Kong, 12/1941-9/1942, aboard Lisbon Maru in South China Sea, 9/1942-10/1942 including sinking 2/10/1942 and in Osaka POW camps in Japan, 10/1942-8/1945

Content description

REEL 1 Recollections of period as signaller and NCO with Royal Corps of Signals in GB and Hong Kong, 1934-1941: background to enlistment, 8/8/1934; reasons for choice of Royal Corps of Signals; posting to Hong Kong, 1937; conditions aboard HMT Dunera on voyage to Hong Kong; initial impressions of Hong Kong; accommodation in Kowloon; duties with mobile section of Hong Kong Signals Company; linesman’s responsibility for fixed defences; employment of Chinese civilian labour; Japanese Fifth Column; apprehending a Chinese intruder in Fort Stanley, 1941; Japanese presence on borders from 1938; Chinese anti-Japanese propaganda films; official intelligence about Japanese; contact with Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Corps; volunteer medical/social work with YMCA; refugees and internment of Chinese National troops; reaction to outbreak of war in Europe, 9/1939; question of prospect of war with Japan and being a POW. REEL 2 Continues: build up of Japanese troops on border from 1938; signals equipment. Aspects of operations as NCO with Royal Corps of Signals during Battle of Hong Kong, 12/1941: outbreak of hostilities; Japanese strafing of Jubilee Buildings; arrival of Canadian reinforcements; his activities during battle; evacuation of Kowloon to Hong Kong; duties at Victoria Peak until surrender; Japanese bombardment; orders to surrender, 25/12/1941. Recollections of period as POW in Shamshuipo POW Camp in Hong Kong, 12/1941-9/1942: initial incarceration in Victoria Barracks; conditions in camp; rations; maintenance of discipline; escape attempts; working parties; POW illnesses and deaths. REEL 3 Continues: diet and yeast supplement; fly catching for cigarette. Aspects of period as POW aboard Lisbon Maru in South China Sea, 9/1942-10/1942 including sinking 2/10/1942: conditions; food; latrines; torpedoing of ship by submarine USS Grouper, 2/10/1942; POW break out from hold of ship; his escape from sinking ship and swim to Shimpeng Island; help received from Chinese islanders; betrayal by Wang Ching-wei and last minute escapes; recapture by Japanese; conversation with Japanese naval officer trained at Royal Naval College, Dartmouth; removal to Shanghai. Aspects of voyage aboard Shinsei Maru from Shanghai, China to Shimenosaki, Japan, 10/1942: nature of voyage; reception on arrival at Shimenosaki and dysentery examination; press reporters. REEL 4 Continues: distortion of events by Japanese press. Recollections of period as POW in Osaka POW Camp, Japan, 1942-1945: train journey to Osaka POW Camp; Japanese war propaganda; work at Osaka docks; relations with Japanese civilian workers; method of pilfering food; his punishment for raid on storehouse; US air raids on POW camps, 1945; POW pay; receiving one Red Cross parcel; issue of Japanese uniform; conditions in camp and POW illnesses; rations; treatment of attempted US escapers, 8/1945; Kempeitai insistence on his presence in propaganda photograph; means of following war news. REEL 5 Continues: reasons for move to camp near Osaka, 1945; question of survival of war; hearing news of dropping of atomic bombs, 8/1945; Japanese announcement of end of war, 8/1945; numbering of roll call in English; move into Osaka hotel; foraging for food after surrender; US supply drops; ferrying food to other camps, 8/1945-9/1945; return to GB.

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