Image copyright: © Australian War Memorial,
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ID number ART25084
Title The move to Barrack Square, 2 September 1942
Collection Art
Object type Drawing
Artist Griffin, Murray
Place made Singapore: Changi
Date made 1943
Medium brush and brown ink and wash heightened with white, over pencil on paper
Measurement overall: 34.6 x 51.2 cm

Description

Forced movement of Australian and British prisoners with their belongings to Selarang Barracks on 2 September 1942. Over 15,000 prisoners were concentrated in the square by the Japanese General Fukuye because of their refusal to sign a promise not to escape. Griffin notes 'it was an incredible sight to see all the men arriving with their belongings, pushing, pulling and carrying on every conceivable type of transport, trailers, handcards. 2 men staggered along, sweat pouring out of them as they dragged their precious possessions behind them on a large strip of extended metal'. The Australian prisoners were located in and around Selarang already, but some of the British men had to move their belongings from up to 3 miles away. There was only one tap in the entire complex but engineers snuck out during the first night and hooked up 2 more lines. Disease was a constant threat and by the time the men signed the form that ordered them not to escape (thus being signed under duress and not under their own free will) and dispersed on 5 September, dysentery and diphtheria had already appeared.