‘Break It Up’ (1942)

'Break it up'

Break it Up

Des has written in pencil ‘lack of tools and initiative of Japs’. POWs were expected to dismantle large and complex pieces of equipment such as this truck with totally inappropriate tools, in this case a small hammer and a pair of pliers! Des saw how ridiculous this was and satirized it in this cartoon.

Due to Japan’s shortage of steel, a lot of this ‘scrap metal’ was shipped back to Japan to melt down to build more ammunition, artillery and generally to build new ‘war machinery’.

‘In March 1942 the IJA started to take parties of prisoners to Singapore for work on various jobs … on the wharves, building shrines, memorials, and temples … until by September the same year more than 7,000 AIF and many more British were out on those jobs.’

Source: Unknown Author, ‘2nd Echelon’, in Lachlan Grant (ed.), The Changi Book, Published by New South in association with the Australian War Memorial, 2015, pg., 315