Page 48 – 49 / 1941 – 42
Left Hand Page
‘Endurance’ by Hank F Quin. Evening Standard Correspondent. Includes personal account of the Battle of Kranji (second day of the Battle of Singapore, 9th February), on a race course near Bukit Timah Road.
Continued from page 46-47
implacable, unheeding hear of the tropical sun, staring down on the unmoving bodies of the men below.
The next fourteen hours were, in the words of the Sub, ‘as tho’ all the tortures of hell had come up to earth for the express purpose of paying us a temporary visit’.
Imagine those men – their eyes blinded, their skins scorched, their tongues parched, their bodies sweating through the long hours of the tropical day – every nerve crying out for movement away from such torment, yet not daring to move knowing that perhaps at any moment they might be discovered. Hanging on to life with grim earnestness, yet wishing with every succeeding moment of time that they were dead. There [sp] water bottles were long empty and the hard tack of ‘Bully and biscuits’ which they carried in their haversacks was unbeatable without something to wash it down with. During the day the three badly wounded men died, one in such agony that the Sub. had to crawl over and put his hand over the mans [sp] mouth, stifling his last dying gasps, lest the party should be given away.
Though Japanese troops continue to pass near them, they remained undiscovered throughout the day, until at last the darkness descended. With the coming of the dusk the Sub. decided to take stock of things. They were all very weak from exposure and the lack of food and water, and to stay in their present position longer was to invite disaster. He therefore decided to make a break for it and try to regain the British lines.
(The Infantry Sub. and his platoon surrounded on the hill side and forced to feign death amongst their own dead for thirty-nine hours are so weak from hunger and exposure that he decides to make a break for it through enemy lines, the Sub. continues the story in his own words).
‘I summoned the fifteen remaining N.C.O’s and men I had with me together and whispered my instructions to them, We were to move off in single file, myself landing with a Corporal immediately bein me followed by my runner. A gap of ten yards was to separate the remainder of the party and the other Corporal from us in case we ran into any trouble’.
‘I decided to move on the compass bearing of 110 degrees which had been given to me as the general direction of our lines before the battle in case of being cut off. As soon as it was properly dark we moved off down the hill, picking our way over the bodies of our own dead comrades. In order to avoid the Japs in the village I lead the party in a detour round it to the left of it. In the low ground beyond the village we came to a dirty insect ridden pond, the temptation was too great for our thirst, and I the order for each man to drink in turn while the others kept watch.’
‘In truth it was the filthiest water I have ever seen, but the [most] wonderful that I have ever tasted.’
‘Revived by the mouthfuls of this water we moved on through thickets up a hill. The skyline in front was lit by a burning oil dump which blazed some three miles away. As we reached the top of the hill we must have been in the full glare of the blaze, silhouetted on the sky-line. Ahead lay three cap fire in a semi-circle and we had to make another detour to the left, which took us rounf [sp] another Japanese mortar position similar ot the one on the hill where we had first lay. I looked at my watch and found that the time was nearing midnight. We had been going for nearly three hours already. After a short rest of ten minutes we moved on again, but now the going was much more difficult. The country became thicker and thicker as we moved down the hill towards the race course and every movement made sounded like the crash of a thousand bodies in the undergrowth. In half an hour we had only progressed a hundred yards, stopping every ten yards or so to listen.’
‘The noise must, evidently have been heard by the Japs, because two patrols could be heard moving about in the same area as ourselves, shouting to each other, in order to keep in contact, at one time they could only have been fifty yards away from us and we lay flat on our faces scarcely daring to breath.’
‘Scarcely daring to breath because of the Japanese patrols we did not dare to move about for some time and we lay doggo for one and a half hours. About this time one of the two wounded men I had with me kept going into a coma and making lots of noice.. Wounded in the hand rather more badly that I had first suspected, he appeared to be suffering from a fever and I resolved to leave him behind, when we next moved. His chum and a Lance-Corporal volunteered to stay behind with him and I gave them permission to do do. Our forces thus depleted by three, we moved forward again, and very soon came to the outskirts of the race course, a burning house lit up the
Right Hand Page
A critique of ‘The Purpose of Art’, an article by musician Reginald Renison.
A PURPOSE OF ART
A further article on the purpose of art from a critical stand-point on the same subject by Reginald Rennison which appeared in recent edition of “Camp Pie”.
The tone of the first article was religious in character as the following method of criticism will show. For brevity this is best done as follows:-
“The purpose of art is to develop in the spiritual consciousness those attributes of Beauty, Truth, Form and philosophical reflections necessary to a perception of the manifestations of God”.
Many great artists would strongly disagree with this statement of Rennison’s. To choose a fw. (1). Beethoven was not religious in the sense of Bach, and his creative masterpiece, the ninth symphony, end in the last movement with Schiller’s Ode to Joy” which is not religious whatsoever. (2). Wagner, who in fact “musically” and philosophically saw the Gods off the stage in what was no more than an ignominious rout. The “Entry of the Gods into Valhalla” was their pensioning off after they had demonstrated their utter impotence in the face of evil. (3). Delius had a positive antagonism to all religious expression in any shape or form; his philosophical master was the German Nietzsche. (4). Goethe was rationalistic. (5). Shakespeare, it is notoriously known, was not motivated by religion. If in the face of these great artists Rennison’s statement above is maintained, then we must accuse the above artists of mis-interpreting their own art. It is very presumptuous and prejudiced to say they are expressing religion when demonstrably they are not, and in any case, destroys Rennison’s later statement that artists know the purpose of art. And if artists do know the purpose of art, then religious expression enters only into a small portion of artistic expression.
“Helped towards spiritual perfection”.
Great Art is great because artistically there is no such thing as spiritual perfection in the religious sense. If there were art would simply be spinning without weaving. Artists do not seek spiritual perfection, they seek artistic perfection, that is, perfect expression to a preconceived experience and known state. They do not seek anything beyond that. Their art enters into a cold, aloof, sterile world once they do. Happily spiritual perfection is impossible. If it were art would cease, there would be nothing to interpret, nothing to know.
“…enotionalism unbridled by the discipline of WIll and Intellect.”
Will and Intellect used in this religious fashion do not as such enter into Art. It misinterprets completely the Artistic mentality. Intellectual discipline controlling emotion in Art is summed up in the comprehensive word Form. Emotion in Art without the control of Form is simply bad art, and that’s all there is to it. The question of evil has nothing whatsoever to do with it.
Turning to what he call the purpose of Art.
It is strange to read that he concerned that sentiment and emotion play an important part in Art. The old artists would have been amazed had it been suggested otherwise. Art right up to modern times has essentially been the expressing of emotion, either religious, naturalistic, nationalistic, etc. and now, contrary to Rennison’s statement that it is fashionable to condemn deep feeling in Art, the pendulum has swung again, and “Arts for Art’s sake”, the battle cry of the intellectual group, is now in the limbo of forgotten phrases. Music in England – the most musically alive of countries in the world today, is composed of several styles. There are the religious works of Elgar, the one poems of Bax, the symphonies of Vaughan WIlliams etc, and they are all emotive in their content. Delius writing to Peter Warlock remarks that Art for him is individual and essentially emotional.
“Artiss themselves should know the purpose of Art”.
Not necessarily. Each artist has his own idea and thinks his purpose is incontestably correct. “The artist should know” is relative to the artistic period in which he lives. Within this period it is platitudinous to say he knows what he is doing. But, artists do not know the future outcome of Art, they only point the way. He is a prophet in the sense as the scientist is pointing out paths for future research.
The history of Art is it’s history of changing styles and ideas each with its avowed or implied philosophical accompaniment. They are all characteristically different from each other. Whereas in religion, despite its multiplicity of denominations, there is the common thread of God worship. In Art there is no such common thread except the abstract one of it being a human function.
Since this article is in the nature of a reply to a previous attempt to find the purpose of art, the facts above must lead to estimate