No cheering crowds
The hospital I was in had been converted from what we would class as the Town Hall of Singapore. We needed supplies, which had to be brought from the Infectious Diseases Hospital some distance away from us. When we collected supplies we would always try to help out in some way whilst we were there.
As we approached the hospital, we heard a lot of shooting and so we kept ourselves hidden. I always believed Japanese to be small people, but the soldiers who entered the hospital that day, with drawn swords – were tall. Those soldiers started to slaughter the patients. It was an unbelievable sight and we were left gasping at the sheer horror and incredibility of that massacre. And so, we were introduced to the Japanese. During all my time with that barbaric race of people, it was that episode of cruelty that stands out so painfully in my mind. Those bastards murdered every single patient in that hospital with their swords. Not one man was left alive.
On returning to our base hospital, we reported the horrific incident to our Commanding Officer. I recalled what someone had once told me; “All is fair in Love and War!” I don’t think so somehow.
During my dealings with the Japanese, I was to learn one word which was to pull me to attention and pay heed to what a Japanese was to say. I forget now the correct spelling, but it was either “Guerra” or “Kurrah”. It was either come to attention or suffer the consequences – usually a rifle-but in the groin.
We soon learned to leap to attention and never breath a word, look sorry, never smile, and just hope to God that we were not ill-treated. At the end of the day, it all depended upon the mood that they were in at the time. They were always barbaric and they always put the fear of hell and damnation into a man, no matter how brave a front he put on. Believe me.
The stories I tell, and those from my colleagues, would fill many pages. I am sure that everyone who survived the P.O.W . Camps of the Far East would fill many more and will be far worse than anything that I can recall. No matter how far-fetched you may think these stories are, add a little glitter to them and they would still be more horrifying than any person could perceive.
It seems strange that I have just glanced at the calendar as I write. It is Tuesday the 5th of February 1986 and it was 44 years ago, to the day that I landed in Singapore to the accompaniment of the Japanese bombers.