Outram Road Gaol – McGregor WX12835 & Dean WX6067 & WX227 Stevens

McGregor WX12835 and Dean WX6067 were sentenced to 2 years to be served at Outram Gaol commencing 24 April 1942.
Their Crime – attempting to escape Singapore


WX227 Sgt Alfred ‘Alf’ Stevens
Sentenced to Outram Road Gaol at Kuching, for his role at Sandakan for ‘underground radio’  for 6 years arriving 11 March 1944.

Please read


Throughout 1942 and 1943, Outram Road Gaol prisoners in solitary confinement, were absolutely forbidden to speak to anybody (John McGregor learnt morse code from his neighbour Chris Neilson – who was remarkably resilient and ‘tough’ Aussie POW who managed to regularly lift the spirits of prisoners. He also managed to antagonise his gaolers who retaliated by giving Neilson bashings.  Neilson claimed his actions broke the utter boredom of Outram Road solitary confinement.
Their cells were never cleaned, the buckets emptied infrequently and of course their food was minimal.  The inmates suffered inhumane conditions and starvation.
In 1944 this changed a little, and as shown above,  the prisoners were permitted to bath for scabies.   There were men so tormented by scabies they tore at their flesh, resulting in a painful death.
Bill Young’s self-portrait Outram
Outram Road Gaol was previously under the control of the Kempeitai but was handed over the the Japanese military as a military prison under the Southern Area Army and later, the 7th Area Army (date unknown).
Penrod Dean and John ‘Jack’ or ‘Mac’ McGregor were very fortunate to survive Outram – there must have been numerous days when they thought they would never live to walk through the gates.
McGregor lost his eyesight, and for some time and visits  returned to Changi Hospital for treatment for this and other illnesses – after which he was returned to Gaol to complete his 2 year sentence. (This practice was the same for every in inmate – when they became critically ill, the Japanese would ‘shunt’ them back to Changi to recover before collecting prisoners to return to Outram Gaol.)  Dean completed his two year sentence and returned to Changi where he was recovered at the end of the war.
McGregor wrote about his experience ‘Blood on the Rising Sun‘ which was published by Bencoolen, printed in Hong Kong by Gareth Powell Limited 1980.  McGregor died soon after.
Dean in his 80’s wrote his book ‘Singapore Samurai‘ published in 2002 about his life as POW.
The above photos are from ABC ‘Changi Story, which we recommend you listen to
For further reading we recommend Tim Bowden’s ‘Stubborn Buggers’ The survivors of the infamous POW Gaol that made Changi look like heaven by Unwin and Unwin and first published 2014.  ISBN 978 1 74331 442 5
Tim Bowden having researched other prisoners from Outram Road Gaol raises questions about the various differences written by Dean.

Please read about McGregor

And Penrod Dean

Tim Bowden’s book ‘ Bravery Beyond Limits’ –  was released in April 2014 – for Anzac Day.  Bowden’s book took 30 years from start to completion.

Below:  John McGregor

Below:  Penrod Dean


WX227 Alfred ‘Alf’ Stevens was arrested at Sandakan by the Kempeitai for his involvement secret radio at Sandakan prison.  Stevens was sentenced at Kuching  and sentenced to 6 years solitary confinement Outram Road Prison, Singapore. He was the third man from 2/4th to spend time at this hell-hole.

You can read further about Alf Stevens

Below:  Alf Stevens


You can listen to a recording of Chris Neilson’s interview with Bowden

Please read Affidavit prepared for war trials.

We wish to acknowledge this pictures are from Tim Bowden’s Stubborn Buggers.


Please read further