“The Empire Builders” No.1 ‘Its My Turn For Hash,… (1945)

Empire builders No. 1

A 94 year old ex POW informed me that ‘pap’ is rice boiled into a tasteless porridge like mush that was not substantial. The POW’s soon became hungry again.

From early 1942 the Japanese began sending the POW’s on work parties around the island and Australians quickly got a reputation for being master smugglers. Anything that could be concealed under a hat, or a g-string was worth a try.

Prisoners risked a severe beating if they were caught, but it was often worth it because they often got to keep the spoils. They became experts in ‘crutching’

“I got this small-sized pineapple. I pushed it right down into my crutch, in between my legs. Anyway we marched back home and I was bow-legged all the way, ripped raw and sore. I got me pineapple home, and six of us had a feed out of it, just added it to the rice. It was most delicious. It was well worth the effort”

Snow Peat – Prisoners of War – Australians under Nippon by Hank Nelson’

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/changi/life/concerts.htm

‘Surviving weekly menu for January 1944 gives some idea of the paucity and boredom of the Changi diet, and the ingenuity of the descriptions applied to it. Breakfast the consisted of a pint of ‘pap’,  one teaspoon of sugar, and a pint of tea, which on the face of it was not too bad, until one considered that ‘pap’ was rice porridge and that the tea had no milk. Afternoon ‘Tiffin’ as it was quaintly known was a pint of ‘hash’ with a little palm oil and more as it was plain tea. The ‘hash’ was of course more rice but supposedly had a little fish and vegetable added.’

Source: Lancashire Gunners at War – The 88th Field Regiment, 199 – 1945 by Stephen Bull, Pgs 91