Havelock Road Camp - Singapore
Havelock Road Camp – Singapore
Housing at Havelock Road Camp was ground level and single-storey atap huts. A canal ran through River Valley Road and Havelock Road Camps, however there was a footbridge that connected the two whereby the men were permitted to cross and mix with each other.
The bonus for the men at Great World, River Valley Road and Havelock Road Camps, as opposed to other work camps around Singapore, was the opportunity to pilfer from under the Japanese Guards’ noses. Work parties were employed loading rice trains, loading and unloading ships in the harbour and at the go-downs or warehouses on the docks. These go-downs contained a plentiful supply of food stocks, alcohol and cigarettes. There were as many as fifty nine members from the 2/4th at Havelock Road who would, like the rest of the work parties around Singapore, return to Selarang Barracks in December 1942.
POWs received humane treatment from their Japanese captors and were given a significant amount of privileges not found elsewhere!
POWs who remained at RVR or Havelock Camp were often from Changi Camp and considered fit to work.
During the early days before POWs were selected for work Forces for Railway and Japan, both camps boasted a ‘Masonic Lodge’, a secret radio kept the men informed of outside/world events and a small library stocked with books recovered from nearby houses.
River Valley Road and Havelock Road Camps would later become transit camps where men who had returned to Singapore would mark time whilst they waited for available shipping before being forwarded to Japan or Saigon.
At times there were up to 5,000 men housed here.