One Mans Collection

This collection of almost 300 items is testament to the power of art and humanity over the adversity of war.

Jack Milnes Wood, from York, England, was a medic in the First Royal Army Medical Corps based in Crookham, Aldershot. On 4th February 1940 he boarded the Ulster Monarch and set sail from Southampton to Cherbourg. After an overnight rail journey to Marseille, he then boarded the RMS Andes. The ship docked in Singapore at 9pm on Monday 26th February, and on Tuesday 27th February 1940 Jack (according to his hand-written diary) “came ashore at Singapore at 7am. Convoy to Alexandra Barracks. Marvellous new place just in front of new hospital. Had good meals. Casual pay parade. Got settled down in Barrack rooms.” Jack was part of No.32 Company, based at Alexandra Barracks, and along with the rest of his fellow service people he had little idea of what the next four years would hold.

Sgt. J. M. Wood, RAMC, Nr. 7519134, was working in the Alexandra Hospital when the Japanese invaded it on Saturday the 14th February 1942. He was fortunate to escape the slaughter that ensued. His handwritten account of the invasion, and what happened in the hospital, is one of the first inclusions in the collection.

The history that unfolded under the Japanese occupation is well known, and the personal stories of survival, heartbreak and repatriation continue to inspire and forewarn future generations. Jack Wood’s story encompasses all of this.

The Collection

During his time as a Japanese POW in Changi Goal, Sgt. Jack Milnes Wood collected hundreds of illustrations, manuscripts, musical scores, production programmes and diary entries.

These incredible artefacts tell a story of kinship, compassion and co-existence through art, theatre and literature. The inspiring personal stories of survival, heartbreak and repatriation are testament to the power of creativity and humanity over the adversity of war.

Jack’s collection, in its entirety, is presented here for all to read.

To find out more about Jack and his collection visit the about page.

The Categories

The Books