Sgt Wilfred Wolverson Sowter (Wilf), Changi Gaol Corridor (1945)


Sgt Wilfred Wolverson Sowter (Wilf), Changi Gaol Cell (1945)

This drawing was kindly scanned by Wilf’s grand daughter, Sally, and a copy sent to the Bettany family for inclusion on this site in 2012. Wilf served in France during ww1 and was 46 at the out-break of ww2. He passed away in 1970 in his beloved country of Wales. (Des’ family knew their father gave a lot of his art work away to his mates and it is so good to see scanned copies coming back for inclusion on the site).

‘Wilf is standing in a corridor of Changi Prison, and that the angry looking man is in a cell (Changi had very distinctive toilet cisterns which you can see in the background: they were actually located outside the cells in the corridor)’. Wilf seems to be holding some fruit or leaves.’

‘5,000 POWs were moved into the prison, built to hold 800 prisoners. It was cold, foul smelling. Each cell, crawling with bugs, was approx 6ft x 8 ft and had a concrete block in the centre which served as a bed for one prisoner. Two more prisoners slept on the floor on either side. One small window approx. a foot square gave a little light and the much needed fresh air while a hole in the floor in one corner served as a toilet.
A further 12,000 POWs were concentrated in the surrounding area of the jail, living in camps made up of attap huts and rough accommodation. The Outram Road Jail was used as a punishment camp.

For over sixty years the name Changi has remained synonymous with hardship and cruelty, borne during this horrific chapter in British military history, a name that will not easily be forgotten. It will remain a lasting bitter memory to all those who were unfortunate enough to have been interned in the miserable foulness within its formidable stone walls or in the surrounding camps within its shadows.’