Discussion in 'Prisoners of War' started by wtid45, Apr 10, 2010.

  1. wtid45

    wtid45 Very Senior Member

  2. wtid45

    wtid45 Very Senior Member

    Never knew this about the Norwegians.
    CHANGI POW CAMP was established after Singapore's fall on Febr. 15-1942, and was the main camp for the captured British forces. Located northwest on Singapore Island near the village of Changi it was the former British military station Changi Barracks, built by the British and therefore had the characteristic appearance of a British outpost in The Far East, with barracks and warehouses. This camp became the largest multinational POW camp, and a sort of a "distribution central" for all the prisoners in southeast Asia. At first there were 50 000 British and other Empire troops there, but very quickly work forces of several thousand men were recruited from Changi and sent to various projects on Sumatra, Burma, and Thailand (the Burma-Siam railway for instance) and other Japanese occupied territories. Due to the huge amount of prisoners the Japanese gave responsibility for the administration and daily running of this camp to prisoners; the guards were mostly Indians from the Indian National Army. The camp was in existence until May 31-1944, when military prisoners were transferred to Changi prison, while the about 3500 civilians were moved to Sime Road Camp.
    CHANGI PRISON was located 4 kilometers further south (along the coast towards Singapore). This prison was built for the British by American engineers in the 1930's, using Sing-Sing as a model. It had 4 floors, 440 meters long X 110 yards wide, with walls and the roof made of concrete. In normal times the prison would house 800 prisoners but at one point during the war it had 8000. Among the female prisoners there was also a Norwegian widow and her 2 sons; her husband (Chief Engineer on M/S Hai Lee) had died in a motorcycle accident in Singapore and she struggled for 2 years to keep herself and her children alive while in imprisonment. Some details about this place can be found under "Life at Changi Prison" on my page Life in Im - Page 2 source used
  3. wtid45

    wtid45 Very Senior Member

    Home site seems to cover a lot on civilian prisoners and there is a virtual tour of the museum.
  4. spidge


  5. wtid45

    wtid45 Very Senior Member

    Cheers for that Spidge I have been looking for a nominal roll for Changi after one of the guys asked me if one existed any ideas, as a result I started this thread.
  6. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Hi Gents,

    I do not think there are any nominal rolls for Changi? There is a very good book about the jail and how it was the central hub for all POW movements in WW2. I cannot remember the title or indeed the authors name, but I will try to find these out for this thread and its followers.

    It was written by a New Zealand RAF officer who recorded all the known details and movements of every Allied POW that passed through the camp. This is how we now have the 50,000 or so Japanese index cards. It must have been a true labour of love and where on earth did they get the paper to record all this information on?

    Attached below is an example of the front of one of the cards that I have collected so far. My aim is to file every man who spent time in Rangoon Jail during 1942-45. It will take some time!


    Attached Files:

  7. DelBoy

    DelBoy Member


    The card you have displayed is an index card made by the Japanese for (almost all) of their prisoners of war. The UK forces cards are held at Kew.

    There are great many books written about the FEPOW experience, some well researched others less so. Changi had so many people go through it that it is probably better documented than any other loaction in the far east regarding

    I don't know which detailed book written about Changi by a Kiwi that is described, if you remember what it is called then please let me know.

  8. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Hi Derek,

    Many thanks for the info. I will try and track this books title down for this thread and of course yourself too. I am sure that the work that the Kiwi officer did, formed the basis of what we now call the WO345 series at the National Archives?

    As you say there is a card for 'almost' all the POW's. Sadly for me there was not such a card for my Grandad, Arthur Leslie Howney. He was a 1943 Chindit and died in Rangoon Jail in June of that year. Along with a fair number of other Chindits, he died too quickly after capture to be properly clarified and indexed.

    This would have given me the only piece of information about him that I now do not possess, his cause of death.


  9. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Hi All,

    I have done some digging around and found this piece of info on the web. It will be of some use to this thread I think?

    " Now to a common misunderstanding - many people think that the military POWs were in Changi Gaol: in fact, this held the civilian internees from February 1942 to May 1944 while the military POWs were in the much larger area of barracks complexes that made up Changi POW camp. Only in May 1944 were the civilians sent to Sime Road Camp and most of the POW 'other ranks' into the prison with the remainder and officers in a tented encampment around the Gaol. They remained there till September 1945".

    "Lists of POWs - I've not seen a roster of Changi POWs as such - I have seen the master roll, I think it is WO392 without checking, of all British POWs of the Japanese and I have seen images of some of the original alphabetical roster [officers section and a bit more] for 'Malay Camp November 1944' - this is a combination of Changi POW names and Sumatra POW names. The original is in US National Archives in Washington".

    "The Register of Civilian internees [Changi Register] is at the Imperial War Museum. A simpler online search version is on the Changi Museum website. A search version of the WO392? POW masterlist is on the COFEPOW website database".

    Derek, the book I was referring to is 'The Changi Story', by Captain David Nelson. He was an officer in the Singapore Volunteers and headed the 'Bureau of Research and Enquiry' for POW's.

    Hope this all helps?

  10. wtid45

    wtid45 Very Senior Member

    I have a book on Changi 'History Of Changi' by Squadron Leader H.A Probert. Covers the early days up to its use as a RAF base in 1964 also found a link which shows a updated and extended Changi Book
  11. wtid45

    wtid45 Very Senior Member

    I have looked but can find very little on the liberation of Changi I am very intrested as my Dad was either with troops who liberated it or was there shortly after.
  12. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

  13. eddie chandler

    eddie chandler Senior Member


    Was the soldier in your post #6 Captured the day after your grandfather was last heard of. The place of capture reads something along the lines of Captured on the Chindwin near a village Nankyin?
  14. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Hi Ed,

    Arthur Dyson was one of the Operation Thursday Chindits in the 1st Battalion King's Regiment. He was possibly captured when his glider failed to make the Broadway landings and was part of the 77th Indian Infantry Brigade.

    I collect all Rangoon Jail index cards from the NA, box by box. I know the Japanese characters for the jail and the number too. I have had several cards translated, but not this one in particular.

    I didn't know you read and spoke fluent Japanese Ed!! Very talented. As for Nankyin, there are so many villages called that or something very similar, it is difficult to know which one it might be.

    I will be sending over my collection for translation in the next few days, how long to translate about 90 cards?

  15. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Hi All,

    A contact of mine has just sent me the front page of what might be the nearest we can get to a POW Roll for Changi? It is the opening page for a document that sits in the US National Archives in Washington.

    So if anyone has good American connections it may be possible to retrieve a copy one fine day?

    Sadly he does not have the whole document, but it may be a start.


    Attached Files:

  16. wtid45

    wtid45 Very Senior Member

  17. Ranger6

    Ranger6 Liar

    Ill check around for ya all. gimme a little bit im busy packing and out processing my unit for my Move
  18. sparky34

    sparky34 Senior Member

    over the years i have read extensively authors experiences in CHANGI and
    the slave labour they had to endure ..the one book i always go back to is
    KING RAT .based on JAMES CLAVEL'S own experience in CHANGI he suffered
    greatly at the hands of the JAPANESE ..
    of all the bad experiences that the men suffered , i think being transported in the
    hell-ships must have been horrific ..
  19. wtid45

    wtid45 Very Senior Member

    Ill check around for ya all. gimme a little bit im busy packing and out processing my unit for my Move
    Thanks Mike, watch out for them Romans :D;)
  20. wtid45

    wtid45 Very Senior Member

Share This Page