FOR THE YEARS 1939-1945 – 2ND BN CAMBRIDGESHIRES.
The Diary below was kept by Brian Denson of Cambridge throughout his captivity as a Far East Pow and was bequeathed to COFEPOW when he died.
Below is an excerpt from the DIARY for February 1942
Under shell fire from the mainland – few casualties – well camouflaged, although rubber trees have begun shedding their leaves. Continually on duty with 2 shifts working on operation orders, battle board, intelligence reports. Lucky to have Nobby in my shift, able to indulge in pineapple and cream in off duty moments. Not worrying about shelling so much now, some anxious moments though. Have got the tents well dug in and have our own particular spot when things get too hot. Met Doug Johnson when he came up with a message. As DR
11th As the Japanese have landed in Australian sector, and are infiltrating through our lines we are withdrawing towards Singapore and in view of this we tool up new positions round Racecourse and Golf course area we are now installed in a small bungalow in Chancery Hill Lane, just behind a slight rises, probably fortunate, as continual mortar fire an shell fire, low flying aircraft flying over at will shooting up everything they can see. More casualties now, within hearing of MG fire and SA fire all the time.
14th All realise the situation is serious, have retreated as far as we can go, now all instructions by field telephone as communications so short. Lost many of the boys in these last few days. Dick Simpkins caught a mortar shell. An official escape party left tonight.
15th Cease fire sounded at 1600 hours although firing still going on in certain areas. Feelings of relief, although desolation everywhere. Mixed feelings at the thought of being a prisoner of the Japs. First nights sleep for 14 days.
PRISONER OF WAR
All POWs ordered to concentrate in Changi area. For us this means a march of 17 miles. Left 3 pm. Terrible scenes of destruction, bodies, buildings, cables, trucks etc lying everywhere. We march past hundreds of silent natives. Humiliation 18 Arrived Changi 8 am, slept night by roadside 21 Japs not worrying about us too busy elsewhere. Went swimming in the sea 22-24 Went swimming each day. Impossible to realise situation 25 Paraded along the camp roads 6 deep and inspected by Jap C-in-C at 4.30 pm after standing there since 1 pm Remarks: Conditions up to yet good, food fair, weather perfect – no news encourages rumours "
To read more of this enthralling account please see below
Presented to COFEPOW by Brian Denson's Family