FEPOW Memorial Church


Rose Raymond, taken into Internment in Java

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Born near Medan, in Sumatra, Rose was working in the Dutch telephone exchange at the outbreak of war. The first real indication of war was the number of aircraft flying over and the arrival of Japanese troops. Their initial concerns focused on protecting the young girls in the family as the Japanese were believed to be looking for workers in their brothels; the men went straight into internment Ω. After six months they were transferred to a school where their own captivity commenced Ω. After eleven months they were moved to a prison in Western Java together with many other women and children who had been collected from other parts of Java Ω. The internees were packed into the cells and made aware of the harsh regime that awaited them Ω. Medical facilities were practically non existent other than that organised by the Salvation Army sisters Ω. They were regularly moved, on foot, from one camp to another although Rose remembers the one in Jakarta, where she remained for one year, as having a particularly cruel commandant Ω. Rose was in seven camps or prisons during her captivity.

They tried to make contact with the outside to try and improve their diet but with limited success. The food was very poor, their health suffered and their weight decreased alarmingly Ω.  Even the arrival of some pigs for the Japanese presented an opportunity to improve their diet by stealing the pigs’ food Ω.

The work was hard and the punishment for resting, harsh. She helped dig a new sewage pit and contracted recurrent amoebic dysentery while transferring the contents Ω.

Other work the girls were forced to do involved heavy manual work from which there was no relief. They constantly looked for ways to keep up their spirits in a situation where, not only was the food bad, but sanitary and washing facilities were the most basic Ω.

The women were strictly segregated from the men although some managed to barter with the locals to pass messages to loved ones. One Christmas produced a memorable concert for the internees Ω.

They further helped themselves by inventing rumours to pretend that things would get better, but one day the atmosphere in the camp changed as the Commandant announced the Japanese surrender. They were subdued since it was almost incredible Ω. British troops arrived the next day to be shocked by the appearance and condition of the women. They stayed in the camp until November 1945 to protect them from the actions of hostile Indonesian nationalists Ω.

Shortly after the arrival of Allied troops she left the camp clandestinely to visit her sick father in hospital. On the way back she and her guide were very lucky to escape with their lives after being confronted by a hostile, nationalist Indonesian crowd.

Later upon release from the camp, they moved into a bungalow Ω, just opposite the Salvation Army HQ which provided help for her mother and father who were both ill. At least they were free despite the unstable political situation.

Rose finally arrived in the UK in January 1951.

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