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The Evacuation of Singapore to the Prison Camps of Sumatra (ePub)

Eyewitness Accounts of Tragedy and Suffering During WW2

Military > Prisoners of War WWII

By Judy Balcombe
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
File Size: 42.7 MB (.epub)
Pages: 224
ISBN: 9781399067171
Published: 3rd October 2023


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The Evacuation of Singapore to the Prison Camps of Sumatra aims to describe the events prior to, during and after the Fall of Singapore and the ways in which former prisoners are remembered on Bangka Island today. It is the product of many years of detailed historical research, interviews with camp survivors and personal experiences discovering and locating the former Japanese civilian prison camp sites of Bangka Island and Southern Sumatra.

Judith's aim has been to compile an accurate description of the fate of evacuees from Singapore who were bombed and killed in the South China Sea and Bangka Strait or imprisoned in harsh Japanese civilian prison camps. Many families have not known the fate of their relatives until contacting the author through the Muntok Peace Museum website http://muntokpeacemuseum.org. The Peace Museum was established by prisoners’ families in 2015. The author has also described her many visits to Bangka Island and Sumatra in detail so others may follow in her footsteps and know that their relatives who were imprisoned and died during WW2 are now remembered very respectfully in the small town of Muntok. Annual Memorial Services are held each February 16, attended by families and the Australian, New Zealand and British Embassies.

All royalties to this book will be donated to the Muntok Red Cross in memory of the prisoners.

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About Judy Balcombe

Judy is a family doctor working in Melbourne with a keen interest in the history of the Fall of Singapore and the experiences of the prisoners in the Civilian Japanese prison camps of Muntok, Palembang and Belalau since childhood after learning her grandfather, a rubber planter in Malaya, died in Muntok Men’s Japanese civilian prison camp on Bangka Island in 1944. She has visited Bangka Island with other prisoners and their families regularly since 2011. Initially these were private visits but now annual Memorial Services are held each February 16, attended by families and the Australian, New Zealand and British Embassies. In 2015, she undertook fundraising to help establish the Muntok Peace Museum. 
In addition she belongs to the Malayan Volunteers’ Group, a group which brings together families who have lived in pre-war Malaya, historians, and other interested people. The Malayan and Singapore Volunteers formed the compulsory civil defence of the Malay peninsula before and during WW2. She is a member of the History and Heritage Committee of the Australian Nurses’ Memorial Centre in Melbourne which was established in the 1950’s by Australian Army Nurses Vivian Bullwinkel, who was shot but survived the Radji Beach massacre on Bangka Island on February 16, 1942, and her colleague Betty Jeffrey, who also survived the Sumatran prison camps as wellas being a member of Friends of Bangka Island, who organise the annual Memorial Services and  fundraising work for the Muntok Red Cross and online English tuition to local students.

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