Excerpts from internees’ recollections of liberation from Changi/Sime Road camps, Singapore
Composed by Dr Bernice Archer
Daphne Davidson a young mother in Changi and Sime Road internment camps
(Collected by the British Red Cross Museum)
It was not until 18th August 1945 that the peace rumours could not be ignored.
On 28th liberator planes flew over the camp and dropped leaflets and on 30th the British parachutists arrived. Strangely enough my memories of the last days are clouded in a haze of happiness. I knew my husband was alive – so many wives were mourning for those who would never come back. The Burma Death railway took a hateful toll of our fighting men.
My husband and baby and I left Singapore for England, freedom and feeding. What the future held we did not know – it was enough to be together again.
(Jennifer Martin, nee Davidson, Daphne’s daughter a young baby in Changi and Sime Road)
I remember playing in the garden of the Raffles Hotel where we were lodged while families were reunited and messages sent to relatives in the U.K. We were very fortunate my father had spent many months suffering the deprivation and disease while working on the Burmese Death railway but he was alive and came back to us. So many husbands and fathers did not return.
Soon we were on the ‘Monowai’ the first ship to leave for home. I remember staring in wonder at the cabin we were given and the sheets, smooth, clean and white on the bunks. At Port Said we docked and were taken to a large hanger with long tables covered in clothes and all the things we would need provided by the Red Cross. Everything from underwear to winter coats for men, women and children of all sizes. We were all kitted out for the winter weather ahead.
Liverpool on October 11th 1945, then the train to Edinburgh to meet my grandmother and aunt Rena, the delights of Scottish food, a house and garden, shops, Christmas, snow and snowballs.