Changi Gaol & Selerang Barracks Area: The Tower; Corner Of Gaol; Chapel; “A” Courtyard; The Gaol From The East (Sept 1944 – Feb1945)

Changi scenes - Full Page 2Changi Gaol & Selerang Barracks Area 1944 & 1945

‘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.’


‘Changi Jail had a twenty two foot wall with watchtowers on each corner. Inside was a road around, then another wall eighteen feet high, inside which were built the cell blocks, three storeys high with a steel grid between the cells. In these blocks we lived, four men to a cell, and then the steel grid across the middle was packed with as many men as could be fitted in. Surrounding the jail were attap huts … and thousands of men living outside.

Source:  ‘A Cruel Captivity’ by Ellie Taylor, , 2018, page 73, Pen & Sword Books Ltd., (Words of Able Seaman William Coates Nicholls)