Sketch by Jack Chalker

Introduction

The World War 2 Japanese Prison Diaries of

Alexander John James

Introduction

by Alex John James

This is a verbatim copy of the record kept by me of events that happened between the time I left India (January 1942) and the end of the war.

The original is written in a notebook that began life as the minute book of a Chinese club.  It came into the possession of a fellow prisoner of war at the time when paper of any sort was extremely scarce, and he eventually parted with it for some money and a supply of cigarettes, both these commodities being even harder to obtain.

Needless to say the keeping of diaries was strictly prohibited by the Japanese, and this effort of mine spent most of its prison life beneath floorboards or in some similar cache, and thus escaped the searching eyes of our captors.  There came a time, however, when, in view of a pending inspection, the camp staff suddenly issued an order that all written matter must be submitted immediately for censorship.  We reckoned that this would prove a golden opportunity to have any forbidden matter officially passed.  Nor were we disappointed, for the ‘censorship’ turned out to consist of two probably quite illiterate Japanese privates who sat behind vast piles of books, pads, and papers, solemnly and with rhythmic monotony stamping every page and every sheet with a rubber stamp.  My diary was duly returned with a ‘chop’ on every completed page.

The first section of what follows is a more or less day to day account of events before our arrival at Jinsen camp in Korea where prison life began in earnest.  Thereafter our existence was so changeless and hum-drum that a journal was pointless.  The second half of this record therefore is a broad description of the whole period of our captivity. A.J.J.  1946

This is a verbatim copy of the record kept by me of events that happened between the time I left India (January 1942) and the end of the war.

The original is written in a notebook that began life as the minute book of a Chinese club.  It came into the possession of a fellow prisoner of war at the time when paper of any sort was extremely scarce, and he eventually parted with it for some money and a supply of cigarettes, both these commodities being even harder to obtain.

Needless to say the keeping of diaries was strictly prohibited by the Japanese, and this effort of mine spent most of its prison life beneath floorboards or in some similar cache, and thus escaped the searching eyes of our captors.  There came a time, however, when, in view of a pending inspection, the camp staff suddenly issued an order that all written matter must be submitted immediately for censorship.  We reckoned that this would prove a golden opportunity to have any forbidden matter officially passed.  Nor were we disappointed, for the ‘censorship’ turned out to consist of two probably quite illiterate Japanese privates who sat behind vast piles of books, pads, and papers, solemnly and with rhythmic monotony stamping every page and every sheet with a rubber stamp.  My diary was duly returned with a ‘chop’ on every completed page.

The first section of what follows is a more or less day to day account of events before our arrival at Jinsen camp in Korea where prison life began in earnest.  Thereafter our existence was so changeless and hum-drum that a journal was pointless.  The second half of this record therefore is a broad description of the whole period of our captivity. A.J.J.  1946.

                                                      

Teacup Sketch

1941

 

Dec. 25th - 29th

Bombay – Reinforcement Camp, Colaba

Dec. 29th - Jan. 8th

Bombay – H.M.T. Jalavihar, Alexandra Docks

1942

 

Jan.  8th – 25th

H.M.T. Jalavihar – Bombay to Singapore

Jan. 25th – Feb. 2nd

H.M.T. Jalavihar, Western Explosives Anchorage, Singapore

Feb. 2nd – 8th

14 milestone Jurong Road – rubber estate.

Feb. 8th – 11th

Holland Road, Singapore

Feb. 12th – 17th

Padre’s house next to R. Catholic Cathedral, Queens Rd.  (used as an emergency hospital)

Feb. 17th – Mar. 10th

“N” block -  Southern Area – Changi

Mar. 10th  – May 18th

Police Station,  Changi Village

May 18th  – 25th

Ward V3, Roberts Barracks Hospital

May 25th – July 8th

Police Station, Changi Village

July 8th – Aug. 16th

“T” block, Changi

Aug. 12th

1,500 mostly British prisoners-of-war (POWs), are marched from Changi jail to Singapore harbour for transport. About 400 men, including vanquished Lt. Gen Percival, former GOC, Malaya, are embarked aboard ENGLAND MARU. The remaining 1,100 POWs are embarked on FUKAI MARU.)

Aug. 16th – 22nd

S.S. Fukai Maru, Singapore – Saigon

Aug. 24th – 29th

S.S. Fukai Maru, Saigon - Formosa

Aug. 29th – Sep. 15th

S.S. Fukai Maru, Taikao harbour, Formosa

Sep. 15th – 22nd

S.S. Fukai Maru, Taikao - Busan

Sep. 25th

P.O.W. Camp Jinsen, Chosen (Korea)

1945

 

Jan. 29th – Sep. 9th

P.O.W. Camp Keijo, Chosen (Korea)

 

Goto

[Alex John James] [Introduction] [To Singapore] [Singapore Under Siege] [Into Captivity] [Singapore to Korea] [Korea] [Freedom] [Alex Summery] [Appendix - Notes] [Appendix - Rolls] [Appendix - Speeches]

 

Sharing information with others is rewarding in itself, the pieces from the jigsaw begin to fit together and a picture begins to appear. Improve your knowledge and help make the Fepow Story an everlasting memorial to their memory.

Any material  to add to the Fepow Story please send to:

Ron.Taylor@fepow-community.org.uk

and their story will live on.

 

[Alex John James] [Introduction] [To Singapore] [Singapore Under Siege] [Into Captivity] [Singapore to Korea] [Korea] [Freedom] [Alex Summery] [Appendix - Notes] [Appendix - Rolls] [Appendix - Speeches]

 

Ron.Taylor@far-eastern-heroes.org.uk

 

Design by Ron Taylor

© Copyright RJT Internet Services 2003