Book: 1942

By the Spring of 1942, creativity at Changi camp is in full swing. Imaginative essays – covering topics as diverse as shark fishing, cricket and the traditions of Romany Gypsies – are distributed throughout the camp.

During the summer months, more magazines emerge, their multi-lingual pages full of poetry, prose, jokes and advice. One of them, ‘Camp Pie’, also provides an events committee, organising concerts, variety nights and quizzes. The art of B.P. Ackhurst, B.E. Ferron, and Ronald Searle is a common sight on advertisements for musical performances, magic shows, plays, sketches, and interesting talks. The drafts of some programmes are jotted onto the back of Japanese documents forbidding attempts to escape – artefacts from the harrowing Selarang Barracks Incident.

In the second half of the year, the Japanese begin moving prisoners between camps or off to the Thailand-Burma Railway, causing the cast of characters at Changi to change. A little friendly competition emerges: Jack becomes Chairman of the Roberts Football League, while others get to work organising rugby, cricket and boxing matches.

As he prepares for his first Christmas in captivity, Wood also receives letters from friends and family, from as far away as Scotland.