Saturday, December 8, 2012




Hunger in a PoW labour camp in Thailand

Food supply and the maintenance of health were the most critical problems to be faced. After the first fortnight, during which British army rations were issued, prisoners had to make do with the Japanese ration scales, which consisted mainly of rice, and it was only gradually that the cooks devised means of making it palatable. Apart from rice, a little tea, sugar and salt were issued, together with the occasional ration of meat or fish. The Japanese refused to allow Red Cross relief parcels to be distributed, so any supplementing of the meagre rations depended on the ingenuity of the prisoners themselves

There are few images available to illustrate the Japanese POW camps.  Here is a drawing from Changi Prison on Singapore by Des Bettany by kind permission of Keith Bettany. Bettany did not draw the true skeletal figures of the prisoners because he was 'drawing to keep his morale up'. See more of Des Bettany's work at his online exhibition.

I had had this tick fever for 2 days and didn’t go sick for I was sweating on the holiday allowing me to recover but the Nips held a big check roll-call at 10 a.m. and I am afraid, for the first time in my army career I fainted and had to be carried off. Of course their food for the last few days has been bad even for this place and I suppose that had something to do with it also.