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Not all bad

“An enormous amount has been written about Japanese cruelty to prisoners. It should be noticed, nonetheless, that conditions varied widely in different camps. For instance, 2,000 British POWs in Saigon lived not intolerably until late 1944, sometimes even able to slip under the wire to visit local shops and brothels. It seems important also to record instances in which POWs were shown kindness, even granted means to survive through Japanese compassion. A British bugler, Corporal Leader, found himself in a Singapore hospital in 1942. Back home in Norfolk he had been a Salvation Army bandsman. Now, he was amazed to be visited by a Japanese who announced that he too had been a ‘Sally Army’ member in Tokyo. He wanted to help the sick Briton. The Japanese contacted a local Malay Salvationist, who sent Leader letters, eggs, and biscuits.” – Max Hastings, Retribution

Published inMax HastingsThe Second World War

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