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William Mundy, a FEPOW

My first experience as a Japanese POW was to be put in a prison cell at Boi Glodok, Batavia (now Jakarta) for a week, without being released even for a short time.  The cell was supposed to hold 10 persons but 20-21 of us were shut up.  


Another thing resented at the beginning of our experiences as a prisoner of war was having to bow to all the Japanese guards, even the lowest rank! As the days went by the harsh treatment received created more and more dislike for the Japanese, although on a few occasions we went to the naval base where the sailors were more understanding.  


It was said this was because they were trained by the British.  After a time in Java we were sent to Ambon (capital of the Spice Islands); here we worked on levelling a coconut plantation, to provide an airstrip.


Having returned to Java on a sick draft I was soon transferred to a boat for another destination but the British Doctor on board had me transferred to Changi Prison Hospital in Singapore.  Whilst I was gaining strength a swarm of bees landed onto a hut.  I was able to collect the honey and provide some for treating ulcers in the hospital.   


I also lectured in the evenings, instructing interested prisoners on how bees are kept.  My final move was to Krangi, also in Singapore, where I was employed with others, digging tunnels into the granite hillside. Here treatment was again inhumane, as we were forced to enter the tunnels to clear blasted debris before the dust cleared.  


Many prisoners developed a hatred for the Japanese but being a Christian I did not harbour the same feelings toward them, but it was not until I and my wife went with Keiko on a reconciliation pilgrimage that I discovered how friendly and helpful the Japanese people can be.   I now have very many pleasant memories of my times with Keiko in Japan.

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