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Darkness Before the Dawn

A Diary of a Changi P.O.W 1941-1945



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Darkness Before the Dawn: A Diary of a Changi P.O.W 1941-1945 by Jack Farrow
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Along with 80,000 Allied troops, Jack Farrow fell into the hands of the Japanese at the fall of Singapore in February 1942. He had started his diary in October 1941 and continued to do so as his unit made its way by troopship to Singapore. Inexperienced and ill equipped, with scanty air cover, his unit fought the Japanese invasion of Malaya, retreating southwards to Singapore. After the surrender on 15th February Jack Farrow kept up his diary and maintained a collection of papers from his many months in captivity which was only to be compiled into a book after his death in 1992.The diary entries are cleverly illustrated with Farrow's 'souvenir' documents of the time, and against some of the entry dates are notes of the other wartime events that were occurring at the time, often unknown to the prisoners until weeks later. While monsoon rains wash out some of the prisoners' tents at Changi, you find that on the other side of the world the Normandy landings are taking place, producing an eerie sense of contrast and adding a strange poignancy to Farrow's account of P.O.W. life. Farrow's sharp observation, together with his phlegmatic toughness and dispassionate commentary, make this a fascinating account of the kind of experience that later generations have been spared. You will feel proud of Jack Farrow, and find it very difficult to put his book down.

Table of Contents

PREFACEINTRODUCTIONChapter 1 DESTINATION UNKNOWN 1Chapter 2 BAPTISM OF FIRE 34Chapter 3 FLIGHT, FIGHT AND FALL 51Chapter 4 THE GATES OF HELL OPEN 81Chapter 5 BOOT HILL 103Chapter 6 A LETTER FROM HOME 202Chapter 7 ROTTEN NIGHTS AND BAD DAYS 290Chapter 8 SILVER LADY 362Chapter 9 HAPPIEST EXPECTATIONS 404Chapter 10 HOME FROM HELL 423EPILOGUE (Written by Joan Farrow) 442POSTSCRIPT 449POETRYLIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 450The Norfolk Boys 2Duchess of Atholl 3The Liner America 11Ancient Order of the Deep 15Scotland to Singapore - Sketch Map 32Posted "Missing" 15.2.42 80Telegram from Singapore 23.2.42 86Sketches - Flower-like Mantis & Rose Leaf Mantis 106Sketch - Atlas Moth 107Australian Cemetery - 2 Pictures 110Grave of Jim Tuck 148Sketch - Carpenter Bees 150Escape Document 168The Changi Lych Gate 191Memorial Plaque for Dutch Deceased 213Postcard from Changi 24.2.43 215Changi Darts League 216Grave of Nurse Sugden 218Summary of Burials 1942-43 224Postcard from Changi 10.12.43 284Christmas Menu 1943 287Japanese Bank Notes 291Changi Jail 315Memorial Plaque - Major General Beckwood Smith 316Roberts Barracks Changi 330One Corner of the Cemetery 344New Cemetery Plan 8.10.44 345Cartoon - The Tobacco Rush 346Christmas Menu 1944 360Camp Shows for POWs 364The Changi Boys 1945 389Casualties of No. 10 Platoon 412HMT Sobieski 426Jack, Miss Pegg & Ted Copeman 12.10.45 432Telegram to Sobieski 15.10.45 433Jack on return to UK 1945 437Jack with Brother 1940 438Jack Reunited with Family 1945 439Letter from King George VI 440Menu for Sheringham Comforts Fund Dinner 441Jack & Joan 1946 446Jack & Joan - Golden Wedding 17.8.92 447Jack Farrow 1911 - 1992 448

Author Biography

Sadly, Jack Farrow died in 1992. During his lifetime he never gave any thought to having his remarkable diaries published. It was a personal tribute to those men he left behind in Changi Cemetery; a way of exorcising their ghosts from his memory. However, after his death the document came to the attention of the local museum, who suggested his wife and family approach a publisher. This book is the result.
Release date NZ
November 1st, 2007
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
Stamford House Publishing
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