‘Say, Where’s The B…. Cookhouse?’ Towner Road POW Camp

'Where's the cookhouse'‘Say, Where’s The B…. Cookhouse?’

‘Food supply and the maintenance of health were the most critical problems to be faced. After the first fortnight, during which British army rations were issued, prisoners had to make do with the Japanese ration scales, which consisted mainly of rice, and it was only gradually that the cooks devised means of making it palatable. Apart from rice, a little tea, sugar and salt were issued, together with the occasional ration of meat or fish. The Japanese refused to allow Red Cross relief parcels to be distributed, so any supplementing of the meagre rations depended on the ingenuity of the prisoners themselves. It was not difficult to find one’s way out of the camp, and some of the more intrepid prisoners would forage among the old British Army dumps and sell their finds at black market prices.’

Source: http://ukmamsoba.org/changi.htm

‘Hunger became a constant companion, and the men soon realised that they would need to rely on themselves for food etc. There was only very primitive tools for the men to dig latrines, clean quarters, fill bomb craters, collect and cut wood for the cooking and many other jobs.’

Source: http://www.2-26bn.org/after_capitulation.htm

‘Surviving weekly menu for January 1944 gives some idea of the paucity and boredom of the Changi diet, and the ingenuity of the descriptions applied to it. Breakfast the consisted of a pint of ‘pap’,  one teaspoon of sugar, and a pint of tea, which on the face of it was not too bad, until one considered that ‘pap’ was rice porridge and that the tea had no milk. Afternoon ‘Tiffin’ as it was quaintly known was a pint of ‘hash’ with a little palm oil and more as it was plain tea. The ‘hash’ was of course more rice but supposedly had a little fish and vegetable added.’

Source: Lancashire Gunners at War – The 88th Field Regiment, 199 – 1945 by Stephen Bull, Pgs 91