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Voices and Silences of Memory: Civilian Internees of the Japanese in British Asia during the Second World War

  • Felicia Yap



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1 The precise number of British internees held by the Japanese during the war is unclear. After the war, various documents offered figures ranging from 15,012 to 18,486. Some studies in the 1950s proposed that 19,800 British passport holders were interned during the conflict. A memorial book completed by the Association of British Civilian Internees—Far East Region (ABCIFER) in 2009 contains the names of 20,800 British internees (19,217 civilian, 1,551 dominion, and 32 colonial). See Ronald William Bridge, in “Introduction to Memorial Book” and “ABCIFER—a History” (March 2009) (copies available from the author upon request); Cunningham, Michael, “Prisoners of the Japanese and the Politics of Apology: A Battle over History and Memory,” Journal of Contemporary History 39, no. 4 (October 2004): 562. Van Waterford gives the following estimated numbers of British internees in Japanese-occupied territories: Japan (350), China and Hong Kong (7,250), French Indochina (188), Burma (190), Siam (200), Philippines (1,500), Malaya and Singapore (3,900), Sumatra (700), Java (700), and Borneo (225), noting that these figures were approximate, as some prisoners did not reveal their nationality. See Waterford, Van, Prisoners of the Japanese in World War II: Statistical History, Personal Narratives and Memorials concerning POWs in Camps and on Hellships, Civilian Internees, Asian Slave Labourers and Others Captured in the Pacific Theatre (Jefferson, NC, 1994), 211, 233, 235, 248–49, 261, 268, 293, 319, 329; van Velden, D., De Japanse Interneringskampen Voor Burgers Gedurende De Tweede Wereldoorlog (Japanese civilian internment camps during the Second World War) (Groningen, 1963), 519–44.

2 Wievorka, Annette, The Era of the Witness (Ithaca, NY, 2006), xv, 1, 129.

3 Twomey, Christina, Australia’s Forgotten Prisoners: Civilians Interned by the Japanese in World War Two (Cambridge, 2007), 203–4.

4 Winter, Jay, “Forms of Kinship and Remembrance in the Aftermath of the Great War,” in War and Remembrance in the Twentieth Century, ed. Winter, Jay and Sivan, Emmanuel (Cambridge, 1999), 41.

5 Wood, Nancy, Vectors of Memory: Legacies of Trauma in Postwar Europe (Oxford, 1999), 2.

6 Novick, Peter, The Holocaust and Collective Memory: The American Experience (London, 2000), 208. For other recent studies and review articles of Holocaust memories, see Rothberg, Michael, Multidirectional Memory: Remembering the Holocaust in the Age of Decolonization (Stanford, CA, 2009); and Cole, Tim, “Scales of Memory, Layers of Memory: Recent Works on Memories of the Second World War and the Holocaust,” Journal of Contemporary History 37, no. 1 (January 2002): 129–38.

7 Winter, “Forms of Kinship and Remembrance,” 40–41, 59.

8 Twomey, Australia’s Forgotten Prisoners, 202–3.

9 The broader racial context of the Pacific war, especially in terms of British and Japanese racial perceptions of each other, is documented by Dower, John in War without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War (London, 1986).

10 Twomey, Australia’s Forgotten Prisoners, 168, 171.

11 Horne, Gerald, Race War! White Supremacy and the Japanese Attack on the British Empire (New York, 2004), 6768.

12 Bosanquet, David, Escape through China (London, 1983), 11; Horne, Race War! 68.

13 Priestwood, Gwen, Through Japanese Barbed Wire (London, 1944), 2425.

14 For some recent discussions of colonial violence within the British Empire, see Stephen Howe, “Colonising and Exterminating? Memories of Imperial Violence in Britain and France,” Histoire@Politique 11 (May–August 2010): 1–18; Elkins, Caroline, Britain’s Gulag: The Brutal End of Empire in Kenya (London, 2005). Similar debates have also been played out on the “other side,” with the Japanese imperial legacy and the experiences of Japanese settlers and colonists coming under renewed scrutiny in recent years. Some key texts in this regard are Young, Louise, Japan’s Total Empire: Manchuria and the Culture of Wartime Imperialism (Berkeley, CA, 1998); and Watt, Lori, When Empire Comes Home: Repatriation and Reintegration in Postwar Japan (Cambridge, MA, 2009).

15 Bayly, Christopher and Harper, Tim, Forgotten Armies: The Fall of British Asia, 1941–1945 (London, 2004), 3435.

16 Priestwood, Through Japanese Barbed Wire, 1–2; Joan Cummack interview, 5 July 1995, Hong Kong Museum of History, Oral History Project, quoted in Horne, Race War! 62. For other nostalgic discussions of prewar colonial experiences, see Digby, K. H., Lawyer in the Wilderness (Ithaca, NY, 1980); Hilda E. Bates, “Missie Bates: Memoirs of a Colonial Nursing Sister,” Imperial War Museum, London, Documents and Sound Section (hereafter IWM), 91/35/1; Howes, Peter H. H., In a Fair Ground or Cibus Cassowarii (London, 1995); and Southwell, C. Hudson, Unchartered Waters (Calgary, 1999).

17 Buettner, Elizabeth, “From Somebodies to Nobodies: Britons Returning Home from India,” in Meanings of Modernity: Britain from the Late-Victorian Era to World War II, ed. Daunton, Martin and Rieger, Bernhard (Oxford, 2001), 221–40; Burton, Antoinette, “India, Inc.? Nostalgia, Memory and the Empire of Things,” in British Culture and the End of Empire, ed. Ward, Stuart (Manchester, 2001), 217–32.

18 Buettner, Elizabeth, Empire Families: Britons and Late Imperial India (Oxford, 2004), 264–67, and Cemeteries, Public Memory, and Raj Nostalgia in Postcolonial Britain and India,” History and Memory 18, no. 1 (Spring 2006): 542.

19 Wood, Nancy, “Colonial Nostalgia and Le Premier Homme,” in Vectors of Memory, 145–46; Kaplan, Harvey A., “The Psychopathology of Nostalgia,” Psychoanalytic Review 74, no. 4 (Winter 1987): 474.

20 “Copy of Original Japanese Internment Regulations, Foreigners Joint Living Quarters, Civil Administrative Department, Gunseicho,” 8 January 1942, U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), College Park, MD, RG 389, box 2121A.

21 Only a few analytical studies of civilian internees of the Japanese have been conducted in recent years. For a comparative analysis of internment in East and Southeast Asia from the perspectives of men, women, and children, see Archer, Bernice, The Internment of Western Civilians under the Japanese, 1941–1945: A Patchwork of Internment (London, 2004); and Archer, Bernice and Fedorowich, Kent, “The Women of Stanley: Internment in Hong Kong,” Women’s History Review 5, no. 3 (September 1996): 373–99. The experiences of Australian civilians interned by the Japanese are documented in Twomey, Australia’s Forgotten Prisoners.

22 L. A. Collyer, “A Diary, 1st January 1945–9th September 1945, Kept by L. A. Collyer Whilst Interned by the Japanese in Stanley Internment Camp, Hong Kong,” 16 March 1945, Hong Kong University Library (hereafter HKUL), MSS 940.547252 C71, 34. See also Lee, Peter E. I., quoted in Wall, Don, Kill the Prisoners (Mona Vale, New South Wales, 1996), 2.

23 Katherine de Moubray diary, interpolation written in 1949, IWM, Con shelf, 8; Hobart B. Amstutz, “An Amstutz Newsletter Covering 20 January 1942 to 7 September 1945,” 28 December 1945, Australian War Memorial (hereafter AWM), Canberra, 3DRL/7415A, 10.

24 Archer, The Internment of Western Civilians, 13.

25 Archer, John Beville, ed., Lintang Camp: Official Documents and Papers Collected from the Records of the Civilian Internment Camp (No. 1 Camp) at Lintang, Kuching, Sarawak, during the Years 1942–1945 (Kuching, 1946), preface; Archer, John Beville and Porritt, Vernon L., eds., Glimpses of Sarawak between 1912 and 1946: Autobiographical Extracts and Articles of an Officer of the Rajahs (Hull, 1997), 43, 47.

26 J. L. Noakes, “Report upon Defence Measures Adopted in Sarawak from June 1941 to the Occupation in December 1941 by Imperial Japanese Forces,” 15 February 1946, Bodleian Library of Commonwealth and African Studies at Rhodes House (hereafter RHL), Oxford, MSS Pac.s.62, preface.

27 This incident was known as the Double Tenth (10 October 1943), when the Kempeitai arrested and tortured some fifty-seven civilians and internees on suspicion of their involvement in a raid on Singapore harbor (which was carried out by Allied commandos and culminated in the sinking of a number of Japanese ships). None of these individuals had, in fact, been involved in the planning or execution of the raid. For more details of the episode, see Sleeman, Colin and Silkin, S. C., eds., Trial of Sumida Haruzo and Twenty Others: The “Double Tenth” Trial (London, 1951).

28 For some examples, see Archer, Lintang Camp; A. H. P. Humphrey diary, 6 September 1945, IWM 67/191/1, 277; Josephine Foss, letter to “Family and Friends,” 24 August 1945, RHL, MSS.Ind.Ocn.s.83, 1; memo to the Colonial Secretary, 9 September 1945, Hong Kong Public Record Office (hereafter HKPRO), HKRS 163/1/81; Franklin Gimson, letter to G. E. J. Gent, Colonial Office, 1 September 1945, HKPRO, HKRS 163/1/81, 1; G. C. Allen diary, IWM, 96/19/1, foreword.

29 “Journal of an Unidentified Civilian Internee in Singapore, 1942–1945,” IWM, misc. 219(3150).

30 Twomey, Australia’s Forgotten Prisoners, 17; Hilda E. Bates, “Missie Bates: Memoirs of a Colonial Nursing Sister,” IWM, 91/35/1, preface.

31 Keith, Agnes Newton, Three Came Home (London, 1948), 10.

32 W. H. P. Chatley, “Report on Wireless Activities and Escape Plans in the Civilian Internment Camp, Stanley (Afterwards Known as the Military Internment Camp),” 27 November 1945, HKPRO, HKRS 163/1/81, 2, 6; J. L. Noakes, “Report upon Defence Measures Adopted in Sarawak from June 1941 to the Occupation in December 1941 by Imperial Japanese Forces,” 15 February 1946, RHL, Oxford, MSS Pac.s.62, preface. See also John Stericker interview, “Surrender of Hong Kong 1941 to Surrender of Japanese 1945, Radio or Television Script, Hong Kong,” HKPRO, HKMS 100/1/3, 3.

33 Thompson, Tyler, Freedom in Internment: Under Japanese Rule in Singapore, 1942–1945 (South Pasadena, CA, 198–), 77.

34 Lee, 3 October 1943, in Wall, Kill The Prisoners, 132.

35 Thompson, Freedom in Internment, 77.

36 G. C. Allen diary, 19 August 1945, IWM, 96/19/1. See also Hayter, John, Priest in Prison: Four Years of Life in Japanese-Occupied Singapore, 1941–1945 (Worthing, 1989), 16.

37 W. A. Baker diary, 9 June 1942, IWM, 01/24/1, 13.

38 G. C. Allen diary, 3 June 1945, IWM, 96/19/1.

39 Stericker, “Surrender of Hong Kong 1941 to Surrender of Japanese 1945,” HKPRO, HKMS 100/1/3, 3.

40 For internees’ fears of the potential of Japanese sexual violence in the camps, see Twomey, Australia’s Forgotten Prisoners, 96–97.

41 In May 1945, G. C. Allen wrote in his Changi diary that the camp “is full of the news that Germany is at last and finally beaten. … I cannot check it up and I cannot even remember whom I got it from.” He later inserted a note in the margin after the war: “Of course I knew perfectly well. That was for the benefit of any of our gaolers who might see my record.” See G. C. Allen diary, 5 May 1945, IWM, 96/19/1. See also Bowie, Donald C., “Captive Surgeon in Hong Kong: The Story of the British Military Hospital, Hong Kong, 1942–1945,” Journal of the Hong Kong Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society 15 (1975): 152.

42 Hamilton, Annette, “Skeletons of Empire: Australians and the Burma-Thailand Railway,” in Memory and History in Twentieth Century Australia, ed. Darian-Smith, Kate and Hamilton, Paula (Melbourne, 1994), 9697.

43 Emerson, Geoffrey, “A Note on Personal Interviews,” in “Stanley Internment Camp, Hong Kong, 1942–1945: A Study of Civilian Internment during the Second World War” (MPhil diss., University of Hong Kong, 1973), 308.

44 Lionel Morris, “Escape without Freedom,” IWM, 91/18/1, 115; G. W. Pringle diary, IWM, 85/36/1, 28788.

45 Document written by a Stanley internee, HKPRO, HKRS 163/1/81, 3.

46 Keith, Three Came Home, 9.

47 Hilda E. Bates, “Missie Bates: Memoirs of a Colonial Nursing Sister,” 21 September 1944, IWM, 91/35/1.

48 Keith, Three Came Home, 10.

49 See also Yap, Felicia, “Reassessing the Japanese Prisoner of War and Internment Experience: The Lintang Camp, Kuching, Sarawak, 1942–1945” (MPhil diss., University of Cambridge, 2004), 9.

50 Archer, The Internment of Western Civilians, 13. For some examples of these accounts, see C. P. Ambler diary, 17 May 1942, IWM, 84/30/1; Ernest P. Hodgkin, “Changi Diary: A Civilian Internee’s Account of Imprisonment in Singapore (February 1942 to August 1945),” 26 April 1942, AWM, PR00788. Matthew Stibb has observed similar trends in the emergence of memoirs of British ex-internees of the Ruhleben Camp in Germany after the First World War; most memoirs appeared “in the months immediately following the armistice” and were often “printed privately for circulation among friends and family.” See Stibb, Matthew, British Civilian Internees in Germany: The Ruhleben Camp, 1914–1918 (Manchester, 2008), 169.

51 John Stericker, “Captive Colony: The Story of Stanley Camp, Hong Kong,” HKUL, MSS 940.547252 S8, preface, 2.

52 Some pamphlets and newsletters published by ex-prisoners both during and immediately after the war include Hobart B. Amstutz, “An Amstutz Newsletter,” AWM, 3DRL/7415A; George E. Baxter, Personal Experiences during the Siege of Hong Kong, December 8th–25th, 1941: Internment by the Japanese, January 5th–June 29th, 1942 (Sydney, 194–); Gittins, Jean, I Was at Stanley (Hong Kong, 1946); Key, M. F., Hong Kong Before, During and After the Pacific War: Being Chiefly an Account of the Stanley Civilian Internment Camp (Hong Kong, 1946); Hammond, Robert B., Bondservants of the Japanese (San Pedro, CA, 1943).

53 Archer, The Internment of Western Civilians, 13.

54 Waterford, Prisoners of the Japanese in World War II, 145; McCormack, Gavan and Nelson, Hank, The Burma-Thailand Railway: Memory and History (St. Leonards, New South Wales, 1993), 164.

55 Mercury, 14 September 1945, 3, quoted in Twomey, Christina, “Remembering the War and Forgetting Civilians: The Place of Civilian Internees in Australian Commemorations of the Pacific War,” in Forgotten Captives in Japanese Occupied Asia, ed. Hack, Karl and Blackburn, Kevin (Oxford, 2008), 216, and Australia’s Forgotten Prisoners, 203–4, 207.

56 Hobart B. Amstutz, “An Amstutz Newsletter,” AWM, 3DRL/7415A, 13.

57 Franklin Gimson, quoted in Horne, Race War! 84.

58 John Stericker, “Captive Colony: The Story of Stanley Camp, Hong Kong,” HKUL, MSS 940.547252 S8, author’s note. See also Gittins, I Was at Stanley, 17; and Ernest P. Hodgkin, “Changi Diary: A Civilian Internee’s Account of Imprisonment in Singapore (February 1942 to August 1945),” 16 September 1945, AWM, PR00788, 64. The Stanley internee Jean Gittins noted that “we found when the war was over that many other camps had suffered hardships and privations far greater than ours. The large numbers who succumbed to malnutrition and disease in Shamshuipo, Hainan and Singapore, to name a few of the POW camps, and the pitiful state of many of those who managed to survive, made light of our situation. Above all, the poignant stories told by returning prisoners from Japan showed how relatively fortunate we, in Stanley, had been.” Quoted in Birch, Alan and Cole, Martin, Captive Years: The Occupation of Hong Kong, 1941–1945 (Hong Kong, 1982), 178.

59 Archer, The Internment of Western Civilians, 9, and “‘A Low-Key Affair’: Memories of Civilian Internment in the Far East, 1942–1945,” in War and Memory in the Twentieth Century, ed. Evans, Martin and Lunn, Ken (Oxford, 1997), 46.

60 G. C. Allen diary, IWM, 96/19/1, foreword.

61 Archer, “A Low Key Affair,” 53, and The Internment of Western Civilians, 13; Shepard, Ben, “A Clouded Homecoming?History Today 46, no. 8 (August 1996): 1013.

62 Twomey, Australia’s Forgotten Prisoners, 14.

63 Churchill, Winston, quoted in Angus Calder, The People’s War, 1939–1945 (London, 1969), 274.

64 Archer, The Internment of Western Civilians, 14.

65 The immediate priority of the federation was a campaign to secure a share of Japanese assets confiscated under the 1952 Japanese Peace Treaty, “to be distributed to ex-POWs as compensation.” By the 1950s, the federation was “organising regular meetings, a grand annual reunion at the Royal Albert Hall or Royal Festival Hall” for more than two thousand ex-POWs (a figure sustained until the 1980s) and a “remembrance service at the Church of St Martin-in-the-Fields.” See Hack, Karl and Blackburn, Kevin, “The Bridge on the River Kwai and King Rat: Protest and Ex-Prisoner of War Memory in Britain and Australia,” in Forgotten Captives (Oxford, 2008), 154.

66 Sibylla Jane Flower, “Memory and the Prisoner of War Experience: The United Kingdom,” in Hack and Blackburn, Forgotten Captives, 62.

67 Bowie, “Captive Surgeon,” 151. See also Sheila Bruhn-Allan interview, Singapore National Archives (SNA), Oral History Department (OHD), 2740, 26; Archer, The Internment of Western Civilians, 12–13.

68 Bayly, Christopher and Harper, Tim, Forgotten Wars: The End of Britain’s Asian Empire (London, 2007), 57.

69 A. D. Blackburn, “Stanley Internment Camp,” in “An Account of Personal Experiences of My Wife and Myself at Hongkong during the Japanese Attack and Afterwards, 1942,” HKUL, MSS 940.547252 B62, 4.

70 Gittins, I Was at Stanley, 22.

71 Nelson, Hank, Prisoners of War: Australians under Nippon (Sydney, 1985), 212–13. See also Peters, Betty, “The Life Experience of Partners of Ex-POWs of the Japanese,” Journal of the Australian War Memorial 28 (April 1996); and Rosenthal, Gabriele, “German War Memories: Narrability and the Biographical and Social Functions of Remembering,” Oral History 19, no. 2 (Autumn 1991): 37.

72 For an analysis of the origins of the Malayan emergency, see Stockwell, A. J., “‘A Widespread and Long-Concocted Plot to Overthrow Government in Malaya’? The Origins of the Malayan Emergency,” Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 21, no. 3 (September 1993): 6688.

73 Gittins, I Was at Stanley, 16, 18.

74 Gilmour, O. W., With Freedom to Singapore (London, 1950), 96.

75 Quoted in Bayly and Harper, Forgotten Wars, 57.

76 Twomey, Australia’s Forgotten Prisoners, 164, 182.

77 Cathy Caruth has argued that trauma is characterized by “a temporal delay that carries the individual beyond the shock of the first moment” and is thus often experienced “belatedly; in its repeated possession of the one who experiences it.” See Caruth, Cathy, “Trauma and Experience: Introduction,” in Trauma: Explorations in Memory, ed. Caruth, Cathy (Baltimore, 1995), 4, 10.

78 Interviews with Douglas Bidmead (10 February 2004), Ernest Darch (13 February 2004), Peter E. I. Lee (18 December 2005), and Graham Ranald (26 May 2005).

79 Michael Ferrier, “Stanley Internment Camp, 1942–1945,” in L. A. Collyer, “A Diary, 1st January 1945–9th September 1945, Kept by L. A. Collyer Whilst Interned by the Japanese in Stanley Internment Camp, Hong Kong,” 16 March 1945, HKUL, MSS 940.547252 C71, 82.

80 Archer, The Internment of Western Civilians, 13.

81 A. Gilmour, memos to the Colonial Secretary, 8 and 9 September 1945, HKPRO, HKRS 163/1/81.

82 To qualify for the scheme, “one had to be a British national over the age of twenty-one on 8 December 1941, normally resident in the United Kingdom before internment, and to have returned to the United Kingdom before an application for compensation was made.” See Andrew Dismore, “Wartime Civilian Prisoners (Far East),” 7 September 2004, Parliamentary Debates, Commons, Hansard vol. 424, pt. no. 26, cols. 686–700. In 1948, the American War Crimes Act granted payments of US$60 per month for adult internees and US$25 for children for the period spent in internment (some were also awarded US$1 per day for “missed meals”). See Archer, The Internment of Western Civilians, 239.

83 Boulle, Pierre, Le Pont de la Rivière Kwai (Paris, 1952), translated into The Bridge over the River Kwai (London, 1954); Clavell, James, King Rat (London, 1962); Shute, Nevil, A Town Like Alice (London, 1950). The 1956 movie A Town Like Alice (based on the first half of Shute’s novel) depicted the experiences of a group of British women and children captured by the Japanese in Malaya. Due to its popularity, the movie was remade and serialized on television in the 1980s. The miniseries attracted 70 percent of the television audience in Australia and an average audience of 15 million in Britain. See Summerfield, Penny, “Public Memory or Public Amnesia? British Women of the Second World War in Popular Films of the 1950s and 1960s,” Journal of British Studies 48, no. 4 (October 2009): 949–51; Twomey, Christina, “Retaining Integrity? Sex, Race and Gender in Narratives of Western Women Detained by the Japanese in World War II,” in Prisoners of War: Prisoners of Peace; Captivity, Homecoming and Memory in World War II, ed. Moore, Bob and Hately-Broad, Barbara (Oxford, 2005), 176.

84 Lean, David continued to suggest dark overtones to the British imperial venture in Lawrence of Arabia (Academy Award for Best Picture, 1962), as well in his 1984 adaptation of E. M. Forster’s novel, A Passage to India.

85 Singapore Standard, 7 May 1958 and 20 May 1958; Yorkshire Post and Leeds Reporter, 6 May 1958, quoted in Hack and Blackburn, “Bridge on the River Kwai,” 158–59.

86 Remco Raben, “Dutch Memories of Captivity in the Pacific War,” in Hack and Blackburn, Forgotten Captives, 103–4.

87 Wood, Vectors of Memory, 9.

88 Wievorka, The Era of the Witness, 97.

89 For related debates about the fragmentation and democratization of memory during this period, see Raben, “Dutch Memories of Captivity,” 103–5; Paula Hamilton, “The Knife Edge: Debates about Memory and History,” in Darian-Smith and Hamilton, Memory and History, 9–33; Ashplant, T. G., Dawson, Graham, and Roper, Michael, eds., The Politics of War Memory and Commemoration (London, 2000), 49; Annette Wievorka, “From Survivor to Witness: Voices from the Shoah,” in Winter and Sivan, War and Remembrance, 137–39.

90 Krystal, Henry, “Trauma and Aging: A Thirty-Year Follow-Up,” in Caruth, Trauma, 83; Hans Schweizer-Iten, letter to John Hayter, 29 March 1990, IWM, 90/21/1.

91 Bowie, “Captive Surgeon in Hong Kong,” 151.

92 Ballard, J. G., Empire of the Sun (London, 1984).

93 Cornelly, Mark, We Can Take It! Britain and the Memory of the Second World War (Harlow, 2004), 254.

94 Ashplant, Dawson, and Roper, The Politics of War Memory, 3–4.

95 Archer, Internment of Western Civilians, 240–43. By 2004, the association had an active membership of seven hundred fifty, representing the estimated 2,400 surviving British ex-internees of the Japanese, including those who had been born in captivity. See Cunningham, “Prisoners of the Japanese,” 562.

96 More than two decades earlier, the Shōwa Emperor Hirohito (Akihito’s father) was accorded a “silent welcome” as he traveled with the queen up The Mall during his state visit to Britain in October 1971—“a welcome that referred directly to Japan’s war record and in particular the treatment by the Japanese of POWs and civilian internees.” See Flower, “Memory and the Prisoner of War Experience,” 65.

97 The Economist commented on their cause, noting in an editorial that “if they really wanted to do something to pacify the former prisoners, it would be open to both governments … to renegotiate the miserly settlement of claims reached by their predecessors in the 1950s.” See the Economist, “Don’t Mention the War,” 28 May 1998.

98 The campaign by ABCIFER and JLCSA was initially supported by a “Cross Party Group” of members of the House of Commons and, subsequently, by the executive of the NFFCA and the British Legion in 1998. See Flower, “Memory and the Prisoner of War Experience,” 67. By September 2004, some 1,882 payments had been made to former internees. See Dismore, “Wartime Civilian Prisoners (Far East),” 7 September 2004, Parliamentary Debates, Commons, Hansard vol. 424, pt. no. 26, cols. 686–88.

99 The San Francisco Peace Treaty of 1951 declared that Japan should pay reparations “for damage and suffering caused by it during the war.” But the treaty nevertheless recognized the constraints faced by Japan at the time. In Article 14, Section b, the Allied Powers waived “all reparation claims of the Allied Powers, other claims of the Allied Powers and their nationals arising out of any actions taken by Japan and its nationals in the course of the prosecution of the war.” Certain types of wartime-seized Japanese assets were nevertheless “retained, and used to compensate victims.” See P. Scott Corbett, “In the Eye of a Hurricane, Americans in Japanese Custody during World War II,” in Hack and Blackburn, Forgotten Captives, 120, 124.

100 Bidmead interview, 10 February 2004; Lee interview, 18 December 2005. The Canadian government subsequently agreed to a C$24,000 (£10,000) ex gratia payment to Pacific war veterans and their widows. Following these developments in America, Canada, and Britain, the Australian Minister for Veteran Affairs announced in May 2001 that a payment of A$25,000 would be granted to surviving ex-POWs of the Japanese or their widows. See Archer, Internment of Western Civilians, 243.

101 The 2000 revised compensation scheme made a distinction between “British citizens” and “British subjects,” and all ex-internees who lacked a “blood-link” to Britain were consequently excluded from compensation. Former Stanley internee Diana Elias accordingly filed a civil action case against the British government in 2001, arguing that this “blood-link” distinction was discriminatory (despite being a holder of a British passport, the distinction rendered her ineligible for compensation due to her Baghdadi Jewish ancestry). The High Court in London ruled in her favor in 2005, and the verdict was upheld by the Court of Appeal in 2006. See the Standard, “Subjects of Rough Justice,” 28 October 2006.

102 Bruhn-Allan interview, 11, 45.

103 Allan, Sheila, Diary of a Girl in Changi, 1941–1945, 3rd ed. (Pymble, New South Wales, 2004), 190, 192. Carolyn Steedman has argued that the process of reworking imbues current events “with meaning” and that “reworking provides an understanding that the child at the time can’t possess.” See Steedman, Carolyn, Past Tenses: Essays on Writing Autobiography and History (London, 1992), 23.

104 Bidmead interview, 10 February 2004. See also Samuel Hynes, “Personal Narratives and Commemoration,” in Winter and Sivan, War and Remembrance, 208, 212.

105 Gladys Tompkins, “Three Wasted Years: Women in Changi Prison” (Hamilton, 1977), IWM, 66/254/1, preface.

106 Potter, J. S., quoted in Margaret Shennan, Out in the Midday Sun: The British in Malaya, 1880–1960 (London, 2000), 292.

107 These sentiments were also expressed by many ex-POWs of the Japanese. See John R. Gardiner memoir, IWM, 66/309/1–4, 429.

108 Caruth, Cathy, “An Interview with Robert Jay Lifton,” in Trauma, 135; Mace, Rodney, “Invisible History,” History Today 32, no. 12 (December 1982): 3031.

109 Lawrence Kadoorie, “The Kadoorie Memoir,” 6 February 1979, in Leventhal, Dennis A., Sino-Judaic Studies: Whence and Whither: An Essay and Bibliography (Hong Kong, 1985), 94.

110 Wievorka, The Era of the Witness, xv, 96; Douglass, Ana and Vogler, Thomas A., eds., Witness and Memory: The Discourse of Trauma (New York, 2003), 35.

111 Bidmead interview, 10 February 2004.

112 Scholars like Jay Winter have documented the memory phenomenon known as “interference” whereby earlier memories are obscured by new memories. See Jay Winter, “Setting the Framework,” in Winter and Sivan, War and Remembrance, 12.

113 See Wood, Vectors of Memory, 2; Rothberg, Multidirectional Memory, 3; Winter, “Setting the Framework,” 13; Bloom, Lynn Z., “Reunion and Reinterpretation: Group Biography in Process,” Biography 13, no. 3 (Summer 1990): 224.

114 Pierre Sorlin, “Children as War Victims in Postwar European Cinema,” in Winter and Sivan, War and Remembrance, 107.

115 Thomson, Alistair, Anzac Memories: Living with the Legend (Melbourne, 1994), 78.

116 Hamilton, “Skeletons of Empire,” 101–4.

117 Sorlin, “Children as War Victims,” 107.


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