Tuesday, July 8, 2008

A British soldier came to Caldecott Hill

On 8th Dec 1941 war was declared on Malaya and Singapore. Lance Corporal Eric Wallwork 2nd Battalion of the Loyal Regiment was taken prisoner. Here is an extract from his diary....
.. "On the 3rd May the orders were received from the Japanese that another working party had to go down into Singapore on the 4th, the strength of this party being 1700 and included the majority of the Loyals. Reveille on the 5th was 05-00 hours and at 07-15 hours the party set off from Changi to Caldecott Hill Estate by march route, the distance being about 15 miles. This march wasn’t really as hard as one had anticipated. One of the reasons was we had no kit to carry. The march took us till 17-00 hours to complete. During the march nothing of importance occurred, only we found out who our best friends in Singapore were. On the route they gave the troops bread, ice, and coconuts which were very welcome. I remember one small point whilst marching by some Chinese houses, the door was wide open and someone on a piano was playing for all he was worth “When the Lights of London Shine Again”. Hearing this seemed to encourage one, for it was certainly being played over and over again for our benefit.
The only complaint about this march was, owing to the amount of kit that our officers still had, (after just having come out of a War) a special truck laden with nothing but this kit had to be towed the whole distance by a party of the troops, although in time to come this was just a minor detail. On arrival at Caldecott we were billeted in new modern houses some of which had been slightly damaged by enemy action. It seemed a shame that such houses should be used for such a purpose. These houses were situated around the Malayan Broadcasting Corporation.(Radio Singapore in later years) One peculiar thing was, in the next house to the one we lived civilians were still living there. Danish people they were - husband and wife and two children just carrying on what appeared to be their normal life. After having a day or so to get settled down, working parties were organised, the work being making roads at Bukit Timah golf course leading to a Japanese monument that was being built…….. "
I recommend you read his interesting diary on the defence of Singapore...click title

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