A Changi Chain

From my memoir chapter- AT NEWHAM 1944

This was written because my uncle, Stanley Frederick Newnham died at sea as a prisoner of war on the Japanese Prison ship Rakuyo Maru. In the last few years my family learnt of the final days of my Uncle Stan. A cousin had contact with a soldier who was also on that ship and was in the lifeboat with Stan. As there were too many in the lifeboat they took shifts in hanging on to the side. He saw Stan slip away. Years later still another cousin married Doris who as a young girl was also imprisoned in Changi. The threads of war link lives in unexpected ways.

Linked by War in Changi

My name is Stanley Newnham, a farmer born and bred.
I became a soldier but I might as well be dead.
The Japanese they sent me at the fall of Singapore.
From Changi to a prison ship in the second World War.

The Americans torpedoed us, a friendly fire mistake,
Now I’m clinging to a lifeboat, don’t know how much I can take.
I left a bonny boy at home, I left a pregnant wife,
So I’m hanging on with all my strength to try and save my life.

Changi Prison, Changi Prison, history speaks your name,
Not for praise and not for honour, but for bitter, biting shame.

My name is Doris Lloyd and I’m a child, just a kid.
I was in Changi Prison too but don’t know what I did
To be locked up with my siblings, my sisters and a brother,
In this place of pain and hunger, with no father and no mother.

Lying on a floor one day shivering and sick.
‘Why are those children dancing’, asked the man who waved a stick ?
But with blankets and with medicine he showed a human face,
To prove not all were demons in that God-forsaken place.

My name is *Shimpei Fukuye, a General from Japan.
*Shimp-ay Foo-koo-y
I rule Changi Prison in the harshest way I can.
I make sure all obey me, escapees send me wild.
Don’t care if they are soldier, an internee or a child.

Now the war is over and I have been condemned
Now I face a firing squad, now my life will end,
When I die if I arrive at paradise or heaven,
Will loyalty to Emperor help me be forgiven ?

*PRONUNCIATION - Shimei Fukuye from a Japanese speaking friend.
*The "ei" rhymes with tray...."Fu and ku" rhyme with shoe, ‘Ye’ is like in yet.
But he added normally the "y" letters are ya/yu/yo and not ye or yi ???
… maybe just ‘y’ as in the letter y says y *Shimp-ay Foo-koo-y

The Table re Changi inhabitants



Taken at Newham in 1944 at the time we received news of Stan’s death.. In the photo below this from RIGHT TO LEFT. My sister Jill aged about 14 with Ian, Stan’s son aged about 2 in the pusher. Linda, Stan’s wifeand the relatively newborn twins in the pram.Born after Stan was captured at the Fall Of Singapore. My sister Lois aged about 8, not to be left out and feeling in need of a child for our family pusher commandeered me, aged 6.