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Escape to Japanese Captivity (Hardback)

A Couple's Tragic Ordeal in Sumatra, 1942–1945

Military > Memoirs Military > Prisoners of War WWII > Battles & Campaigns > Japan & the Pacific Front WWII > Battles & Campaigns > The Fall of Singapore

By Margery Jennings, Capt Mick Jennings
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 200
Illustrations: 32 black and white
ISBN: 9781526783097
Published: 17th December 2020



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Mick and Margery Jenning’s comfortable life in Singapore ended with the Japanese invasion in late 1941. Margery was captured in Sumatra after HMV Mata Hari, the ship taking her and other families to safety in Australia, was bombed. Mick left Singapore after the surrender in February 1942 when he and other soldiers commandeered a junk and sailed to Sumatra. After crossing the island, he and Bombardier Jackson set sail for Australia in a seventeen-foot dinghy. After an appalling ordeal at sea he too was captured and, having recovered in hospital, was incarcerated on Sumatra until moved to Changi Goal in May 1945.

Despite not being far apart, Mick and Margery never saw each other again, although they managed to exchange a few letters. Tragically Margery died of deprivation and exhaustion in May 1945, shortly before VJ day, while Mick miraculously survived.

Based on personal accounts and Margery’s secret diary, this outstanding book describes in graphic detail their attempted escapes and horrific imprisonments. Above all it is a moving testimony to the couple’s courage, resilience and ingenuity.

As featured on WW2 Today

WW2 Today

The book is extremely interesting and makes you want to turn the pages to learn more about the events of Margery and Mick Jennings' journey and captivity. It also has the merit of demonstrating that in times of war certain loyalties are often questioned, with comrades who betray while enemies prove loyal (if not human). It is one of the most interesting and significant war memoirs on the Far East Front I have ever read.

Read the full Italian review here

On The Old Barbed Wire

It's an incredible story of surviving open boat journeys and Japanese captivity. A page turner and must read on the 80th anniversary of the fall of Singapore, which heralded Britains declining post-war presence in the Far East.

Richard Gough, Military author and historian

About Margery Jennings

Margery Jennings, née Hellewell, also born in Yorkshire in 1908, became a nurse in the Medical Auxiliary Service prior to the Japanese invasion. The diary of her attempted escape and Japanese captivity was recovered and is held in the Imperial War Museum. A talented musician, Margery was involved in the Camp Vocal Orchestra and playing the piano, when there was one. She died in captivity on 12 May 1945.

About Capt Mick Jennings

Born in Yorkshire in 1899, Captain Mick Jennings served with the Royal Engineers (RE) in Mesopotamia from 1917 - 1919. After Sheffield University, he worked in the Sudan, the Gold Coast (now Ghana) and Malaya where becoming the municipal architect in Kuala Lumpur in 1935. He was again serving in the RE when Singapore fell. His escape and captivity are recorded in this book. Post-war after a brief repatriation he returned to Kuala Lumpur where, in 1953, he established his own practice. He retired to New Zealand in 1958. He died in 1964.

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