St. George’s Church, Changi, Singapore (Jan 1943)

St. Georges Church, Changi

 ‘On the day after our imprisonment, I discovered next to our billet a delightful building almost hidden by flowering shrubs and trees, purples and reds in profusion. It was a fairly large white building with wide verandas on three sides. At one end were steps leading to a minaret upon which was a dome and this was surmounted by the familiar Star and Crescent. It was a Mosque.

‘Cordingly got permission to use an abandoned mosque as a church which he named St George’s. He encouraged his fellow prisoners to make use of this church and was heartened when they did so. The 30 year old chaplain finally had a worthwhile role in an army which was no longer able to fight.’

‘The Japanese stopped all other meetings at various times, together with entertainments and social gatherings, but they hardly ever interfered with our church activities. One had an opportunity as a priest of doing something which is denied to us in our ordinary life here at home. For once, and for three and a half years, the thin veneer of civilization, or reticence, had been stripped from men. We were all down to bedrock. One saw people as they really were. There was no reason for humbug or cant; many men had no use at all for religion, but great numbers had – and these men were no longer shy about the faith which they had found.’

Source: Down To Bedrock” (the diary & secret notes of a Far East prisoner of war Chaplain) by Eric Cordingly, Pg2 29,9, 151; permission by Louse Reynolds, daughter.

 Other books by this Author “The Changi Cross” (A Symbol of Hope in the Shadow of Death)