Sunday, September 2, 2012

Sep

2

1942

Japanese threaten British POWs in Singapore

On 30 August 1942, the Japanese ordered the 20,100 prisoners of war in Changi Jail, Singapore, to sign an undertaking not to escape. The POWs refused and they were crowded into Selerang Barracks (which had accommodation for 120) until they signed under duress on 4 September. The photograph shows the crowded Barrack Square during what became known as the 'Selerang Incident'.

Outside of the crammed barracks in the parade ground there was very little cover for the men and we baked in the sun. Our officers warned us that we would face a court martial if we signed and that the japanese were breaching the Geneva Convention that allows prisoners the right to attempt to escape without facing punishment. The japanese could not have cared less about the Geneva Convention and had no intention of observing it.