Sketch by Jack Chalker

No One Will Believe You

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The Aftermath of

Malaya and Singapore

After the surrender, soldiers of all three sections of the 2/3rd MAC were involved in commuting the wounded from all over the island to the Selarang barracks at Changi, then were utilised in the construction of the ‘Roberts’ medical ward which catered for surgical cases as well as malaria and dysentery. Initially after the surrender the Japanese were fairly hospitable and reasonable in dealings with their prisoners, but they were very temperamental. Beatings became increasingly frequent, and the Japanese didn’t stop young Korean soldiers from inflicting sadistic assaults and humiliations on the prisoners.  Alf, being a trained medical orderly, was involved in the care of patients.

Work Parties were leaving Singapore by ship from 4th April 1942, many of the destinations were unknown. In June 1942 five trains left Singapore with 3000 PoWs for Thailamd. It was not known at the time but this was the June Mainland Parties sent to Thailand to establish a base camp and service yard for the Thailand-Burma Railway work parties to follow.

Selarang Barracks, Changi

Selarang barracks, Changi

Whilst in Changi, it is likely Alf would have been part of the notorious “Selarang squeeze’. After refusing to sign a ‘No Escape’ agreement, from the 30th August 1942, almost 17,000 PoW’s were herded into the Selarang Barracks which was built to house 800. The Japanese cut off the water to the five toilets so they could not be flushed and left just one water tap to be used for drinking water. The PoWs were cruelly starved in an attempt to force them to sign the agreement.

The ‘Selarang squeeze’-02

The events started after the Japanese recaptured four POWs that had escaped from the Selarang Barracks camps, and required that the other prisoners sign a pledge not to escape.

The squeezed in PoWs were kept around the barrack square for nearly five days with very little water and no sanitation, the conditions were intolerable. Then, General Fukuye ordered the Commander of the British and Australian troops in Changi, Lt-Col E. B. Holmes and his deputy, Lieutenant Colonel Frederick Galleghan, to witness the execution of the four recaptured escapese but it failed to break the men’s resolve.

The commanders, however saw the conditions would cause many deaths as many of the PoWs were falling ill and dysentery started to run riot. On 5th September the men were given permission to sign the ‘No Escape’ agreement under duress. Upon signing the pledge, the men were allowed to return to their camps.

By October overland work parties, leaving Singapore for Thailand, were increasing daily, at the beginning the parties were British but then Australians were included.

In 1943, from April to May, sick PoWs were being taken from their hospital beds and ‘F’ and ‘H’ force were formed, leaving  with a Japanese promise that they were destined for a place to recuperate. In reality these two parties were walked 250km-300km for 5wks at night through the jungle to work under terrible conditions. Over a third of these two parties did not survive.





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[No One Will Believe] [Introduction] [Alfs Enlistment Record] [Overview 2/3rd MAC] [With The Indians] [2/3rd MAC under AIF] [2/3rd MAC in Singapore] [The Aftermath] [Alf in 'K' Force] [Toward The End] [Alfs Demob Record] [Alf's Photo Album] [Thai-Burma Trip 2019] [References]


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