Outram Road Prison - Singapore ***
Outram Road Prison – Singapore ***
‘HELL ON EARTH’
There were three men from 2/4th who spent time at this prison run by Kempetai, Japan’s secret Police. It was where escaped and attempting to escape POWs and local political prisoners from Singapore were sent following ‘Court appearance and sentencing’. POWs appearing at these courts never had representation and often found their proceedings were in Japanese only with no translation.
In the case of those Sandakan POWs taken to Kuching, North Borneo where the Japanese were ‘frenzied’ to say the least, having discovered the ‘underground radio’ operating at Sandakan were first and foremost intent on saving face, but wanted to dish out maximum sentences and pain for POWs involved. Kuching court proceedings were only in Japanese – brief with brutal consequences. Those POWs who survived instant death served their sentence of solitary confinement at Outram Road Gaol, Singapore,.
Most locals involved in the Sandakan ‘underground radio’ were sentenced to death, others served their sentences in North Borneo – for those relatives alive today, we say to you, ‘we recognise the incredible bravery and utmost dedication of your ancestors. We remain forever grateful and in awe of their generosity, risk taking and their lives.’
WX6069 Dean, Penrod Vance
WX12835 McGregor, John Alexander
WX227 Stevens, Alfred
The three above men survived their horrendous experience at Outram gaol. John McGregor tragically became blind soon after returning home and learnt braille. John wrote a book about his experience ‘Blood on the Rising Sun’.
Dean also wrote a book about his war experience. Tim Bowden author of ‘Stubborn Buggers’ who interviewed several Outram Road survivors including Chris Neilson *another Australian survivor) wrote in his book he believed Dean’s memory was somewhat clouded, for instance, Dean never learned Morse Code. It was McGregor who did. Neilson and others confirmed this. There were several major differences which Bowden wrote as being incorrect. He had tried to met with Dean and wanted very much to interview him but Dean replied he was unable to as his time was fully committed to his own book.
We believe McGregor published his book about 1980. In his Foreword McGregor wrote 34 years after the prisoners were freed from Outram Road Gaol and the war ended, he met up with two former prisoners whilst in Sydney in 1978 – Stanley Davis and Chris Neilson. They were the only two former living prisoners McGregor had been able to locate (this was pre internet days.)
“Neither of them had changed in all these years. Their indomitable fighting spirit is still with them. I feel honoured indeed to be given the opportunity of recording these two names in my book.”
McGregor died prior to Dean publishing his book called ‘Singapore Samurai’.
Please read Tim Bowden’s own words