It began nearly 71 years ago…

On January 19th 1942, Japanese troops sailed into Sandakan Harbour in Borneo, taking prisoner the men, women and children of ‘unfriendly nations’. Among those interned was my mother, aged two and a half, and my grandparents. My mother and grandmother were to remain prisoners until September 11th 1945, when the camp was liberated by Australian […]


In July 2008, I met up with four people who were in the Japanese internment camp with my grandparents and mother, near Kuching, 1942-1946. Two of these were brothers in their late sixties whom I’ve not met before, only seen as small blond boys in photos and film footage from the liberation of the camp. […]

The Rocket Laundry

Latrine duty was dirty work, two of us hauling a vat into which a dozen buckets had been slopped. We radiated stench. It was a pleasure though to visit Elkes, whose laundry was by the latrines. He was a remarkable man, able to quote passages on subjects from the Civil War to the Suez Canal. […]