Claude Minot Newman

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postwarblue
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Claude Minot Newman

Post by postwarblue » Sat Feb 28, 2015 11:26 am

Claude Newman was an Old Blue who was interned in Hong Kong after the Japanese invasion of the colony in 1942. According to his daughter who edited his (unpublished) journal of the war (and who, with her mother, Claude had managed to ship out to Australia in time), whilst interned, he and several other OBs managed to celebrate Founder's Day. This apparently helped fill up the day and keep their spirits up. Over time Claude's mood changed, and his bitter dislike and hatred of the Japs and their cruelty was increasingly mentioned. Towards the end the internees were becoming ill with beri-beri, TB, etc and many died due to lack of food and medicine - supplies were regularly purloined by the Japs and Chinese and then these (civilian) internees almost starved.

I have the daughter's comments only at third hand. It would be interesting to know which other OBs shared Claude's fate and what became of them. Also his house and dates.
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Re: Claude Minot Newman

Post by jhopgood » Sat Feb 28, 2015 6:27 pm

I seem to remember that I included news of this wartime Founder's Day Dinner, complete with menu and attendees, in one of the earlier Blues of my editorship.

Naturally, I cannot now trace the article, which was safely saved on a cd, which I have now misplaced.

I also included an article written by another OB who was prisoner in Malaysia, I believe.

If I find them I will give you the reference.

In the early 1970's I worked with a retired RAF officer, who had been a "slave" in Japan, and was marched through Hiroshima after the war was finished.

He had to go twice a week for treatment for his radiation problems, and his skin leaked continuously.

They had a pretty bad time and it is not surprising that some of them were pretty bitter about the experience.
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Re: Claude Minot Newman

Post by Richard » Sun Mar 01, 2015 6:49 am

Although I cannot add any information about the OB experiences of being interred by the Japanese in the Far East in the Second World War, I can mention some other things about the Changi Prison Camp, Singapore.

1. If you wish to know more of the shameful treatment of prisoners of war by the Japanese in Changi read, “King Rat” (1965) by James Clavell. This excellent and deservedly most popular novel was written by a former prisoner and describes the hopelessness and exceedingly harsh conditions imposed by the merciless Japanese captors. Also this book does not spare the prisoners who made it their business to cheat their fellow prisoners and prey on them.
2. A much lauded recent film “Unbroken” deals in part with the same topic, although it is concerned with Japanese brutality and cruelty, not with extortion of prisoners by prisoners. It is the 2014 biopic about the US Olympic champion, Louis Zamperini. Other films well worth seeing and dealing with Allied prisoners of the Japanese include “The Railway Man“ (2013) and the Oscar winning “The Bridge over the River Kwai” (1967).
3. Some Scottish Country dancers were among the officers interred in Changi. They danced when they could, to uplift their spirits. There they devised a dance which became one of the most popular Scottish country dances of all time, the “Reel of the 51st Highland Division”. My own dancing club often includes it in their programmes.
4. Some freemasons were also among those imprisoned at Changi. They too performed their own ceremonies, though such activity had to be kept secret from both the captors and non mason prisoners, who formed the vast majority. In this way the freemasons presumably raised their own morale.

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Re: Claude Minot Newman

Post by J.R. » Sun Mar 01, 2015 1:22 pm

Richard wrote:Although I cannot add any information about the OB experiences of being interred by the Japanese in the Far East in the Second World War, I can mention some other things about the Changi Prison Camp, Singapore.

1. If you wish to know more of the shameful treatment of prisoners of war by the Japanese in Changi read, “King Rat” (1965) by James Clavell. This excellent and deservedly most popular novel was written by a former prisoner and describes the hopelessness and exceedingly harsh conditions imposed by the merciless Japanese captors. Also this book does not spare the prisoners who made it their business to cheat their fellow prisoners and prey on them.
2. A much lauded recent film “Unbroken” deals in part with the same topic, although it is concerned with Japanese brutality and cruelty, not with extortion of prisoners by prisoners. It is the 2014 biopic about the US Olympic champion, Louis Zamperini. Other films well worth seeing and dealing with Allied prisoners of the Japanese include “The Railway Man“ (2013) and the Oscar winning “The Bridge over the River Kwai” (1967).
3. Some Scottish Country dancers were among the officers interred in Changi. They danced when they could, to uplift their spirits. There they devised a dance which became one of the most popular Scottish country dances of all time, the “Reel of the 51st Highland Division”. My own dancing club often includes it in their programmes.
4. Some freemasons were also among those imprisoned at Changi. They too performed their own ceremonies, though such activity had to be kept secret from both the captors and non mason prisoners, who formed the vast majority. In this way the freemasons presumably raised their own morale.

Also made into a film directed by Bryan Forbes. With George Segal, Tom Courtenay, James Fox and Patrick O'Neal.

Just after leaving CH, I became very friendly with a guy whose father was a P.O.W of the Japanese.

He still bore the scars, both mental and physical and was made totally deaf through his mis-treatment. Needless to say, he had an absolute hatred of the people from the ''Land of the Rising Sun'.
John Rutley. Prep B & Coleridge B. 1958-1963.

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Re: Claude Minot Newman

Post by Foureyes » Sun Mar 01, 2015 9:30 pm

AHEM! 'Twas I that found the Stanley Founders Day dinner menu and submitted it to The Blue. In summary:
"Nov 5, 1942 at 3pm.
Place: On the rocks (weather permitting).
Programme: Tea and Reminiscences. Carmen (Weather permitting).
Menu: Tea. Bread. Jam. Tuna Fish.
NB. Kindly bring mug and bread."

The original is, I believe, in the C.H. Museum.
Concerning the atomic bombs on Japan, I once met a Merchant Navy officer, who had been a prisoner in a camp just over a hill from one of the bombs and thus escaped the actual detonation and immediate fall-out, but was forced to go into the city the next day to help in collecting the wounded and disposing of the dead. His comment on the dropping of the two bombs was to ask "Why only two?"
David
PS The Japanese captured Hong Kong on 25 December 1941 not 1942.

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Re: Claude Minot Newman

Post by michael scuffil » Mon Mar 02, 2015 10:29 am

My first employer, a man named Frank Bell, who founded the Bell School of Languages in Cambridge, was a prisoner of the Japanese for nearly four years. His response was to set up an international language school at which Japanese students were particularly welcome. He saw it as his duty, having survived (just), to do something to stop it happening again.

One simple answer to the question 'Why only two (atomic bombs)?' was that the Americans only had two. It would have taken weeks to get any more into position, by which time both the Americans and the Red Army would have reached Japan and the exercise would have been self-defeating. It was to end the war before the Russians got there that the bombs were dropped in the first place.
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Re: Claude Minot Newman

Post by jhopgood » Mon Mar 02, 2015 10:33 am

Foureyes wrote:AHEM! 'Twas I that found the Stanley Founders Day dinner menu and submitted it to The Blue. In summary:
"Nov 5, 1942 at 3pm.
Place: On the rocks (weather permitting).
Programme: Tea and Reminiscences. Carmen (Weather permitting).
Menu: Tea. Bread. Jam. Tuna Fish.
NB. Kindly bring mug and bread."

The original is, I believe, in the C.H. Museum.
Concerning the atomic bombs on Japan, I once met a Merchant Navy officer, who had been a prisoner in a camp just over a hill from one of the bombs and thus escaped the actual detonation and immediate fall-out, but was forced to go into the city the next day to help in collecting the wounded and disposing of the dead. His comment on the dropping of the two bombs was to ask "Why only two?"
David
PS The Japanese captured Hong Kong on 25 December 1941 not 1942.
Apologies for not mentioning that you were the originator of the article.

The chap you met must have been in the same camp as the RAF officer whom I knew.
Barnes B 25 (59 - 66)

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Re: Claude Minot Newman

Post by Katharine » Mon Mar 02, 2015 12:30 pm

michael scuffil wrote:My first employer, a man named Frank Bell, who founded the Bell School of Languages in Cambridge, was a prisoner of the Japanese for nearly four years. His response was to set up an international language school at which Japanese students were particularly welcome. He saw it as his duty, having survived (just), to do something to stop it happening again.
Frank Bell was a prisoner in Batu Lintang camp, near Kuching in Sarawak. While he was there he set up an 'Undercover University' for the internees. We have his widow Elisabeth's book, same name, about it. There is a teacher training college on the site now, or there was when we left Kuching in 1996, and I presume it is still there. There was a small display about the POW camp, and we, as British Council, presented them with a copy of the book when it was published.

While we were in Kuching a University was set up there, we took great delight in telling them they weren't the first!
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Re: Claude Minot Newman

Post by Foureyes » Mon Mar 02, 2015 4:38 pm

"Why only two?"
I take the point about there being only two bombs in existence at the time, but think that my Merchant Navy friend's point was simply that he felt that Japan and the Japanese deserved far more punishment than they actually received.

As a matter of interest, while working on my latest book I did a lot of research into the war in the Andaman Islands, a hitherto neglected aspect of that conflict and learnt a lot about the behaviour of the Japanese occupiers. The indigenous population, mostly belonging to a tribe named the 'Jarawa', remained deep in the jungle and the Japanese had neither interest in nor contact with them. The majority population were from continental India, who had been in the notorious prison there and released but not allowed to return to India, plus people involved in the logging industry, plus a few administrators, teachers, etc. For reasons I have never discovered, the Japanese treated these people with unbridled ferocity and murdered many thousands, whilst concurrently seeking to persuade them to join the Free India/Anti-British movement.Beheadings, firing squads, hangings were routine. When the garrison ran short of food in 1945, they took some 300 Indians and dumped them on an uninhabited, uncultivated island, where they either killed each other or starved to death - or both. Beyond belief.

David

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Re: Claude Minot Newman

Post by michael scuffil » Tue Mar 03, 2015 11:10 am

Katharine wrote:
michael scuffil wrote:My first employer, a man named Frank Bell, who founded the Bell School of Languages in Cambridge, was a prisoner of the Japanese for nearly four years. His response was to set up an international language school at which Japanese students were particularly welcome. He saw it as his duty, having survived (just), to do something to stop it happening again.
Frank Bell was a prisoner in Batu Lintang camp, near Kuching in Sarawak. While he was there he set up an 'Undercover University' for the internees. We have his widow Elisabeth's book, same name, about it. There is a teacher training college on the site now, or there was when we left Kuching in 1996, and I presume it is still there. There was a small display about the POW camp, and we, as British Council, presented them with a copy of the book when it was published.

While we were in Kuching a University was set up there, we took great delight in telling them they weren't the first!
The book was written by Frank, but published posthumously by Elisabeth.

He was not only my employer, but became a good friend, not least because my then fiancée's father asked for a reference from him (!!!). He thought this a great joke, and watched the increase in our family with an avuncular interest of his own. His sudden death on the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution came as a great shock.
Th.B. 27 1955-63

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Re: Claude Minot Newman

Post by Kit Bartlett » Tue Mar 03, 2015 5:08 pm

"The Bridge on the River Kwai" was made in 1957 not 1967.
Russell Braddon wrote a best seller "The Naked Island" in 1951 about his experiences as an Australian Prisoner of War after his capture at Singapore.
This was probably one of the first books to appear on the subject.The cartoonist Ronald Searle showed exhibitions of his POW drawings in the nineteen forties in various locations. I remember seeing this at Kennards' Store in Croydon

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Re: Claude Minot Newman

Post by ailurophile » Mon Mar 09, 2015 1:07 pm

My father in law was serving as a medical orderly onboard HMS Exeter when it was torpedoed in the Java Sea in 1942. After surviving for 26 hours in the water while many of his friends drowned around him, he was picked up by the Japanese and spent the rest of the war as a POW, latterly on an island off the coast of Nagasaki from where he witnessed the mushroom cloud of the atomic bomb.

He never spoke much about his experiences; but towards the end of his life he was contacted through the RN by a fellow POW, a Dutchman, who remains in touch with my mother in law. We were amused to hear that the old chap remarried last year, at the age of 99, to a lady just a year younger!

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Re: Claude Minot Newman

Post by jhopgood » Mon Mar 09, 2015 2:49 pm

Getting to my files and found Jack West Diary Part II in March 2004 Blue, which means that Part 1 was earlier.
I have the complete file since it was sent in by CT Brant (LA 39 - 48)

I have also come across a letter from P D A Banner (Col A 44-52) who was evacuated from Singapore when he was 7. He also wrote

My father came to see us off and this was the last time we ever saw him – he was to die as a POW in Kanchanaburi on the Burma railway.

and

My father had been drafted into the Artillery and had to stay behind. Today I think what for; his battery had no ammunition.


The Founders Day 1942 in Hong Kong was in the September 2009 Blue.

Anyone interested in copies of these articles, please let me know. I have most of the articles included in the Blues that I edited on CD's but not very easily identifiable as I have to read each CD to find out whats on them.
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