Camp beds arranged in the hangers of
Letter received by COFEPOW from Albert Hokkeling, Hoogland, Netherlands.
On the 24th of December 1945 the British troops managed to get us aboard 'HMS Colossus', that brought us safely to Colombo, where we disembarked and were lodged in army baracks in the mountains around Kandy, the capital of Ceylon, now Sri Lanka.
Being almost at the end of my life, full of agony due to the experienced
beastliness in the Japanese camps, I found the opportunity at last to
thank all those British servicemen who exerted their full strength in
helping POW's to escape from death.
On Christmas Eve in 1945 the crew of 'HMS Colossus' acted as real healers when they dedicated themselves to procure a day's long entertainment that let children forget temporarily their sufferings.
There is one picture, you might not possess, which I enclose. Again an example of the kindness of the crew of 'HMS Colossus' during Xmas we were onboard.
The hangar in those days had been transformed in a sleeping hall as shown on one of your pictures. This sleeping facility was reserved for women and children. The boys slept in the airmen's mess in hammocks.
Everything showed to be very well arranged and all of the seamen, from
the commander up to the cleaner were kind and full of compassion with
their 'cargo'. It must be said, British are absolutely special people
in terms of rendering assistance and care for the suffering people.
Again -being late, but better late than never- Royal British Navy: Many
thanks for that!
That those who passed away already may rest in peace until angels shall awake them.