“POWs Drawings in Blood”

I mentioned a true story the other day to someone here on our “Blogging World” who has a tremendous site where he is such a good man does such kind things, remember all those that fought and died and survived Wars, and it just reminded me why do we tolerate people we do not like, do not respect, let alone give a lot of money to, as was the case of my late Husband and our eldest Son’s Prep School Master.

I was referring to the Headmaster of my eldest Son’s Prep School he attended from age 5 until the School shut down.  He was an awful man, he scared me something very creepy about him yet my late Husband liked him respected him, why?

My Husband, David, had been in the RAF during the last War, World War II.  He was based in India, the RAF were there to prevent the Japs (can you say that now) from reaching India, if they got to India they could and would go on from there and heavens knows what next.  Anyhow, David served during the last War he had the Burma Star as did all those who served in the Burma Campaign.

This man, this Headmaster, was in his 80s, he must have been when our eldest Son enrolled or rather his Father insisted he be enrolled in the School.  It was not long before I learned, he the Headmaster had the gall to not only tell Parents but Children how he was a Pacifist.  Fair enough, you don’t want to fight because you may have strong beliefs that is fine and should be accepted.  But this man, he boasted he was for the Germans, the enemy at the time.  It was all Germany with him, he taught the older Boys German and their history and how they should have beaten the British and the Allies, all those brave men from all over the World who came to our defense.  Who lay buried on foreign soil so far away from their homes, their bravery should always be remembered.

But this man mocked them, this man wanted Germany to walk into GB and take over, as they could have in 1939 when the then Government left us open to the Germans.  As you probably know the Germans did occupy the Channel Islands, Churchill abandoned all those people on all the Channel Islands to the Germans, they were bitter and had every right to be too.  Knowing all this this Headmaster would boast how he would make a point of listening to Germany on the radio during the War.

They had no television in the school, the Headmaster and his Wife, also a Teacher, they had no tv in the home, their home was part of the School, all unusual.  They lived a Dickensian life, I am not joking.  In the Winter, as as every day I or his Father would collect our Son from School and he was frozen.  My Mother who is another, too long story, used to do something I felt was kindness and I always thanked her for it, she lived with us, just before our Son would arrive home, literally blue from the cold, as soon as he was “home” I would give him a big mug of Hot Chocolate and then Nana when he was small would carry him upstairs to the bathroom where she had run a hot bath for him.  We would take the little lad’s clothes off and he would be shaking and as soon as you saw his little thighs they were stone and I mean stone cold and BLUE from the cold.  Nana would put him in the bath and I would quickly make another Hot Chocolate for him and he would sip that in the bath.

I didn’t argue with my Husband but I would tell him that the Child can’t go to that school anymore and that he needed to look at the little lad see how cold he was, David’s answer “its good for him, won’t do him any harm”, I would cry.  My Mother would have a go at me for sending Jonathan to the school and I would tell her what David had to say and she would tell me to stand up to him  ….  you can guess the rest.

I like the Germans I loved my Auntie Jeannie who lived next door when I was a child, in the old house in the 1950s. Her mother and father found a British soldier and hid him, he escaped, after the War he returned for  the beautiful German Girl, he took her back and Married her.  Jeannie was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen, I have never seen another woman come close to her beauty.  She had this great figure, beautiful bosoms she was just stunning.  My Father admired her so much, “fine looking woman” he would say and she loved my Father when ever  Jeannie came into our house, she would throw her arms around my Father and “JACK” she would say in broken English my Mother was not too happy about the whole thing, but my Father was so fond of her.  I grew up playing with the only child, a  Son, we were friends and once he cut our thumbs and said we were “Blood Brothers and would always remember each other”, I have always remembered him, but the memory of me faded no doubt with him a long time ago.  He taught me to play Cricket, football, climb walls, climb trees generally have a great time, a tomboy, but my Mother soon put an end to it with the slaps and bamboo cane on me, finally banning him from our house, because of lies my sister told of him.  So yes I love the Germans, I loved Berlin  when I went a few years ago with my Sons.  I collect Steiff Bears, well all Bears – I would have the real ones if I could.

But Britain and Germany were at War and later the Allies too and you have to be loyal to your Country.  The Germans had to be loyal and were and this really p….s me off when people refer to all Germans as Nazis, not all Germans were.  There were some extremely brave Germans who stood up to Hitler who tried to stop what was happening.  I don’t like Tom Cruise but the second film of his I have watched was “Stauffenberg” and I thought it was excellent and he was good, but the actual man was such an incredibly brave man.  We know what happened with the Jews and it can never be allowed to happen again, in saying that I don’t agree with what Israel do with the bombings of the Palestinian Children as was the dreadful cases this year.

Goodness, sorry I do waffle on, I was talking about this Headmaster. and his defending Hitler and his regime.  The headmaster was a notorious mean man, the fees for Jonathan were dreadful and although the child got a good start in life apart from the Dickensian conditions it was far too expensive, but David would not listen to me.  This headmaster boasted about the Krugerrands he had and he did.  They were and still are I believe illegal to own in the UK.

What really made me hate this man was, my late Uncle had given me a book of drawings that he had from his POW days under the Japs in “Changii” which was notorious.  Some of the drawings had been done with POWs own blood.  I found this little book to be of such historic importance and I told my Sons that if anything happened to me they were to give it to The Imperial War Museum.  My Uncle begged me to keep it safe and I promised him I would, it was just so important.

One Summer whilst the school was closed David asks me to invite the Headmaster and his Wife for Tea one afternoon, so being of Irish blood you can imagine the spread I laid on.  I had been Baking for days.  They came and enjoyed it and finally went home.  Behind my back, my husband did something I have never quite forgiven him for,  As he was seeing them out of our House, I thought I saw David hand my Uncles little book to this man, I was furious but did not have the guts to say anything, was I right what I saw.  I tackled David and he said he had lent it to him, I shouted that this “bloody man supported the Germans and no doubt the Japs, he never fought in either War and you have given him that book”, “don’t carry on for goodness sake he will give it back” and that was that no more from David, I went upstairs crying.

I asked repeatedly for this book and was told “yes we must give it to you” his wife would say, but no book ever came back, and David refused to ask him “its your book you want you get it back” he would say, David was 30 years older than me” and I see now it was like being back at home in my cage, a cage I thought I escaped when I married, but no the door was only ever partially opened.

It was not until David died in 1994, just before Christmas,  my Sons were young – my mother and spinster sister lived in our house and life in the past had not been easy it was to get a lot harder.  1995, and I decided I am getting that book back, I went around to their house several times, never opened the door to me, I wrote letter after letter, one was finally answered and it just stated “we know of no such book” – end of discussion.  I remember saying to my Sons “you don’t think he sold it to a War Museum do you, he’s all money its his God” and they said “yes”.  It just played and played on my mind, I did nothing until one year I thought of the book again, phoned “The Imperial War Museum” had a conversation with them and was asked to write in, which I did.  I did have a letter back.

Yes they did purchase a book of small drawings made by POWs in Changi, they had many books of drawings.  This one they referred to did have some drawings drawn with blood,  They purchased it in good faith, could not divulge what they paid and, unfortunately, it was now their property.  They were very nice and I understood, I could not prove it was my Uncles that he gave me.

How do I feel about it today, I hate that Bastard (excuse my language) for what he did, yes my husband had handed it to him, but he had NO RIGHT to hold onto it when I requested it back, he had sold it I found out more or less after David had lent it to him.   He sold for no matter how many £s he got, an historic document, made by POWs who had fought so bravely, who probably never survived Changi and those that did would never be the same again, I know my Uncle suffered all his life.

That is what upsets me, I let him down I promised I would keep it safe and I planned to give it to The Imperial War Museum, my fault.  Why do we tolerate such people who cause pain who have no respect for others, why?




Not “Changi” but a great film, the Sir David Lean film that unforgettable Actor Sir Alec Guinness, “Bridge on The River Kwai”  William Holden was the Star of the film, but Sir Alec stole the show, he always did – remember “Passage to India” (David Lean again) if you have not seen it, please do.









2 thoughts on ““POWs Drawings in Blood”

  1. OMG, Anna! I would be so furious!!! Is there not some way you can prove to them the book was your uncle’s so he can at least get the credit for it? Have you ever read the book “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer? It’s an historical/fiction account of the German occupation on that island. It was a terrific book written in letter form.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No I have not, sounds very interesting, I will look that up. There was nothing I could do, The British War Museum told me that they had bought it in good faith, which they had, never said how much they gave him, the book was “gone”. I know I intended to give it to them anyway but to think he ridiculed all those men that went to War and suffered and Died, and he took the money. I never really forgave David for giving the book to him.. I often wondered if that man had done anything to Jonathan, the man was so so close to one older Boy even David used to notice that, I have asked Jonathan in the past was he touched in any way he said no.


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