Pages 02 – 03 / 1942

Page 03 / Right
‘Silver Linings’ by Cumulus.
Short essay on staying positive while imprisoned.

“Conservations, under present conditions, have a habit of turning to the probable length of duration of war. It was so the other day, and I was reminded by one of the informed debaters that Britain’s original preparations had been based on the assumption of a three years’ war. I recalled what an intolerably long time three years had seemed then. How grim a prospect; How impossible that one day I should be able to say there’s three years flown away. And yet here we are, unquestionably established in our fourth year of the war.

The conversation was concluded with a frank admission from everyone that “you can’t really say” how much longer we have to wait (and it does seem a waiting game now). But I could not help thinking, however long or short the remaining period of war is to be, and however much individual days or weeks may crawl, when we are once more in civilian attire, we shall look back on the war as a gap in our lives – a gap full of alternating hope and despair, excitement and boredom, friendships and loss of friendships, but a gap of merciful brevity.

Under present conditions it pays to be thankful for small mercies, and there is one which is apparent in all war time Army life, but which is now even more so. I am thinking of the absence of the “Monday morning feeling”. The consistency of our daily round may produce uncontrollable boredom, and it is a sad fact that our next holiday lies at an unknown future date, but it is a consolation when Monday comes to recall how we used to feel, when, after a few crowded hours of relaxation, we were dragged out of bed to return to our toil. We are spared that now.

Nevertheless, roll on peace; and weekends. The smallness of the world was again impressed upon me a few days ago when I came into contact with one I had known at school. As our homes are within a stone’s throw of each other, we promptly decided to exchange addresses, agreeing that the first to arrive home should give assurances to the other’s people.

It was his suggestion that even should we reach home about the same time we should make a point of meeting to remember and reminisce about the P.O.W.days. I hesitated – would it not be better to forget all this…

He must have read my thoughts. “Some people say they [won’t think of] the war when they get back,” he said. “But I defy anyone [to forget] Changi.”

A moment’s reflection and I could but agree. The memories of an unique existence can never fade. And why should we try to forget it.”