Series 1, Part 3 by Jill Hyem

First broadcast: Thursday 05 November 1981

Kampong Getah, February 1942. The exhausted women arrive at a camp in a jungle clearing in which they are to be imprisoned. The survivors who found each other on the beach have been joined by another group of women at a transit place, who include: Dr Beatrice Mason; a young mother named Dorothy Bennett – whose husband has just been murdered by the Japanese – and Violet, her baby; forthright cockney Blanche Simmons; public school-educated Sally Markham; general’s wife Sylvia Ashburton, who knows Marion; and mother and daughter, Judith and Debbie Bowen. The women are divided into two huts which are filthy and infested with cockroaches. Beatrice requests that all medical supplies be pooled. Lieutenant Sato orders the women to line up outside for their first tenko and they meet Captain Yamauchi who describes them as “fourth class women” and threatens them with time in a punishment hut if they disobey orders. The women are asked to give their particulars over, before being served a meagre rice meal in the cookhouse. Marion reveals she has a crystal set with her that she was taking home for Ben. The next morning the women are wakened for another tenko during which Sylvia refuses to bow to the Japanese. When Sally faints, Sylvia is forced to relent. Sally reveals that she thinks she might be pregnant and Beatrice advises her to rest. Sylvia is caught using Marion’s crystal set and is thrown into the punishment hut. The women decide to elect a spokesperson and Marion is chosen. She seeks an audience with Yamauchi to intercede on Sylvia’s behalf. A new group of Dutch prisoners arrive led by Sister Ulrica. Sylvia is released. Beatrice announces that she has heard from the Dutch that the Japanese have taken Singapore.

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About Andy Priestner

Trainer and consultant on social media, marketing and comms, user experience and ethnography, leadership, strategic thinking, change and LEGO Serious Play
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