Weighing In! Hospital Area (August 1945 Also Dated ‘Changi 1944’)

Changi 44 Weigh-in“As you looked at them, the flesh dropped off their bones, the light of youth from their eyes, the life from their faces. Boys of twenty became suddenly, in physique and expression, old men – shrunken and desperate. ”
The amount of work done by the men who now weighed about eight stone instead of their usual eleven or twelve (and who sank to as low as five or six) was remarkable. The heat had no effect on them. They worked without headwear, they wore only G stings, they ate less each day than international pre war scientists had declared to be the amount on which a man could continue to live, and yet they contrive to plug along for ten or twelve hours on end, shifting tons of obstinate tailings in that time.”.
Source: The Naked Island by Russell Braddon; 1955 edition Pan Books Ltd, Pg121, 252

‘When we were reunited with F Force, there was no doubt that we at Changi had been to some degree deprived of necessary nourishment and it showed in our appearance, but the appearance of the survivors from F Force was such that we were absolutely shocked. They all looked like walking cadavers and gave the appearance of skeletons over which a yellowish – green skin, translucent and almost glowing, had been stretched. And these were the healthiest of the survivors. They were in good spirits at having arrived back to the comparative luxury of Changi, and told amazing stories of death and survival in the various camps along the railway.
Huge numbers had succumbed to tropical ulcers, meningitis, dysentery, dengue, malaria, fatal accidents and plain starvation. One of the major killers was cholera, and they told stories of comparatively healthy men contracting the disease and dying within twenty four hours before they eyes of their comrades. In some camps, fires were kept going twenty fours hours a day so that those who died from cholera could be burnt immediately in order to help prevent the spread of the disease.’
Source: You’ll Never Get Off The Island by Keith Wilson; 1989, Pg 89

‘Upon entering the prison camp our hosts placed us on a coolie diet, the main item of which was about 16 ounces of milled rice per man per day. The result was the early appearance of beriberi, to be followed about four weeks later by a most distressing skin trouble, particularly around the genitals. The condition was known locally as ‘rice balls’ or ‘Changi balls’ – the medial term was scrotal dermatitis. Very few prisoners escaped this disease; more serious cases became completely bedridden.’

Source: Burnett Clark, ‘Skin Disease Among Prisoners of War in Malaya’, in Lachlan Grant (ed.), The Changi Book, Published by New South in association with the Australian War Memorial, 2015, pg., 237