Surgeons ‘No… Look…There It Is, In That Blue Patch…’

Surgeons spotting planes

‘The news was seen to be true when planes flew over the camp and there was no response by the anti – aircraft guns. Men raced out from the wards and looked up at a plane which was low, just over the trees, and we could see the Air Force men taking films of the camp with one side of the plane open wide enough for them to do this. Cheers went up from the excited prisoners. There was much shrieking for joy.’

Source: Love is the Spur by Geoffrey Bingham, pg 84, Eyrie Books, 2004.

“Regular reconnaissance by Allied planes – Superforts which, 30,000 feet up and serenely deliberate in that brilliant sunlit sky, gleamed silver and almost translucent, like fairies. They were very pretty, those reconnaissance planes. The Japanese hated the sight of them. At first when they arrived, their beautifully even purr making itself heard long before they could be see, everyone would down tools – changkols, picks, baskets, sledge hammers and lengths of line – and shout excitedly, ‘here she comes,’ and gaze upwards. But soon the guards came to dislike our cheers and shouts – and if they heard anyone commenting, or saw anyone look up, then they beat him severely.”
Source: The Naked Island by Russell Braddon; 1955 edition Pan Books Ltd, Pg 263

‘We were ordered not to look at Allied aircraft which approached the island. This order was, of course, totally ignored. It was the first sign we had seen of Allied activity for more than two years and we were both enthusiastic and excited and, in any case, no Japanese appeared to want to enforce the order. They preferred generally to remain under the protection of banana bushes and other ‘bomb proof’ shelters.’
Source: You’ll Never Get Off The Island by Keith Wilson; 1989, Pg 85

‘Many men had amputations performed to save their lives and many will remain permanent invalids, while all will carry scars. Very few of even the small ulcers healed up under 100 days; many are still laid low after more than one year. The human wrecks that returned from the Burma – Thailand parties in December 1943 bore evidence of what our men were forced to suffer by their hosts. It all tended to confirm our view that (the Japanese) had no time for the sick man, as in their own country, at any rate, they had adequate replacements.’

Source: Burnett Clark, ‘Skin Disease Among Prisoners of War in Malaya’, in Lachlan Grant (ed.), The Changi Book, Published by New South in association with the Australian War Memorial, 2015, pg., 239

‘After days of men watching vacant skies for Allied planes bringing relief, and subsequently feeling deflated, radios broadcast on the evening of 29 August that a food drop would occur over the Changi aerodrome the following day. Around midday the next day a lone four-engine B-24 Liberator from Ceylon flew over the camp and dropped six British soldiers by parachute. They comprised two officers, two medical officers and two medical orderlies. Later that day three more B-24s flew over the camp and began dropping tons of supplies by parachute.

Source: Lachlan Grant, ‘Thoughts of Home: Liberation & Repatriation’, The AIF Forestry Company’, in Lachlan Grant (ed.), The Changi Book, Published by New South in association with the Australian War Memorial, 2015, pg. 340