Captain R.M. Horner, ‘Jack’ Horner in the bath

'Jack' Horner in bath

Ronald Moore (‘Jack’) Horner was a central figure in the camp theatrical productions.

Captain RM Horner (known as Ron, Jack and John Horner), was yet another accomplished actor who took part in quite a number of Theatre Programs.

Some of these included shows such as: ‘Music Through The Years’; ‘All This And Heaven Too’; ‘Tonight At 8.30′;  ‘Twinkletoes’.

To view the 100 programs painted and bought back by Des Bettany, go to ‘Changi Theatre Programs’ on this website. This is where this information has been researched from.

There were a number of P.O.W’s who could look ‘the part’ and bring welcome relief to their fellow POW’s, as well as keeping their own minds occupied, some of whom were professional actors and musicians.

This caricature depicts Captain R.M. (Ronald) Horner, of 292 Supply Company, 18th Division, Royal Army Service Corps. Known colloquially as ‘Jack Horner’ he took part in many of the theatre and musical programs staged by the POWs. He was well known for his ever-present pipe, and by all accounts loved to sing, as depicted in this caricature where he is shown singing in the bath, with fractured musical notes desperately trying to escape. A third cartoon depicts him in the company of a shaggy dog, a take on his predilection to tell ‘shaggy dog’ stories. Throughout captivity he kept a secret diary which after his death in 2001 was edited by his daughter Sally McQuaid and published by Spellmount Limited as ‘Singapore Diary: the hidden journal of Capt. R.M. Horner’. We highly recommend this book, in which some of Des’s works appear.

Singapore Diary: The Hidden Journal Of Captain R M Horner

‘Despite illness and with death an everyday occurrence, Captain Ronald Horner took part in countless theatrical productions during his incarceration by the Japanese in World War II, designed to raise morale and bring some sense of normality, or illusion of normality, amidst the horrors of starvation, disease and brutality. He survived the ordeal; as did his diary, hidden in the false bottom of a suitcase.’