POW escapes from Singapore to India

The battle and occupation of Singapore during World War II has many facets, one of which is the internment of prisoner’s of war (POWs) both locally, in the region and in Japan. Over the years, I have read and watched more about POW internment than about POW escapes. Of the escape memoirs I encountered, the escapees headed for Australia.

This morning, I learnt about two titles which chronicle the escape of Indian officers to India instead: “3000 Miles to Freedom” and “Escape from Singapore”. David Hope, who is researching the events and personal stories concerning the Fall of Singapore, twittered about (@singapore1942) a blog post by one escapee’s son.

Krishna K Pillai’s writes about his father’s book, “3000 Miles to Freedom,” which he published, in a post entitled, “First Allied POW escape from Singapore in 1942“. Mark Pillai (RIP) was a Bombay sapper who escaped from Changi with two others and successfully made it to India! Awarded a Military Cross by Field Marshal Archibald Wavell for his gallantry, Mark Pillai passed away in 1988 and his son published the manuscript of his escape in ?2009.

3000 Miles to Freedom by Mark Pillai

“3000 Miles to Freedom” by Brig. M. M Pillai M.C. is also available at Borders Online for US$12.95 – link.

The links led me to a review by Abhimanyu Singh, “Two takes on an obscure, yet epic journey” (Express Buzz, 18 Dec 2010). He highlights another account of an escape, yet again by Indian soldiers to India. Once again it is a son who has seen to the publication of the account. In this case, however, Jasbir Singh, son of Balbir Singh, ‘put the account of his father’s rare descriptions of the escape and by reading his articles on the subject.’

Escape from Singapore” is available for US$11.66 on Amazon).

Jasbir Singh-Escape from Singapore

Needless to say, I’ve ordered both books.

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