Contacts and Codes
- A PoWs expressed the opinion that leaflets dropped from the air giving items of straight news would certainly helped the moral of the PoWs. He went on to say that on occasion when PoWs did get hold of a Burmese leaflet it was hidden for many days whilst PoWs were trying to find someone who could translate the document for them.
- It is clear from a study of individual interrogation reports that the majority of PoWs consider the leaflets could have been dropped on to the Jail. Individuals have stated that they themselves would have been prepared to take an additional beating from the Japanese guards merely in the hope that they would be able to obtain accurate news of the outside world. many of them considered that the best method to adopt would be to drop the leaflets not actually in the Jail itself, but in the surrounding area. They are convinced that if this had been done PoWs would have found little difficulty in smuggling them into the Jail. PoWs have also stated that the leaflet raids should be carried out in conjunction with propaganda leaflets addressed both to the Japanese and to the local population. All that would be necessary would be to increase the proportion of leaflets printed in English language and to drop them in the vicinity of the Jail.
- As regards medical supplies, whilst the consensus of opinion seemed to indicate that medical supplied might have been kept by the Japanese for their own use, there was a minority who considered that PoWs might have received some of the supplies. It would therefore appear to be worth while to drop medical supplies on the off chance that some would reach PoWs. Two methods have been suggested:
- To drop supplies in small quantities at night in the hope that PoWs would find them before the Japanese.
- To drop them in packets clearly addressed to the Japanese Commandant of the Camp with a covering note requesting him to use the supplies for sick Prisoners of War.
- Whilst the PoW was in Rangoon he was taken on a working party in the grounds of the Horticultural Society Hall. This building was used by the Japanese Searchlight HQ. Whilst there he met a man named Anthony who was at that time working in the Japanese cookhouse. Anthony had apparently, at one time, been working in the Jail. He frequently contacted PoWs on the working parties and passed on items of outside news to them. The PoW states that there were also one ot two members of the Indian Dock police who were prpared to pass on information. When the PoW first arrived in Rangoon Jail he was placed in solitary confinement for some seven weeks but was able to communicate from the solitary block to other blocks in the Jail by signalling in Morse Code with fly swats under pretence of killing flies.
- Outside contacts were apparently easy within Rangoon Jail and on several occasions both Burmese and Indians gave PoWs cigerettes and newspapers. There was an Indian working at one of the Japanese Officers’ Messes who always used to come out when PoWs were working at the mess and pass on any news he had. The Japanese always roughly handled anyone whom they found talking to prisoners and it was apparent that the Japanese themselves did not appear to want to win the sympathy of the Burmese and would very often beat up people in the street for no reason at all.
- Prisoners themselves often discussed the possibility of obtaining outside help to assist in their escape. The Burmese sometimes gave them cigerattes and odds and ends but generally speaking the PoW did not trust them and were not prepared to developcontacts with them as news had got around that the Burmese had captured a PoW escaper and handed hime back to the Japanese.
- A PoW considered that organised contact from the outside with working parties would have been possible and this assistance would have been considerable help in effection escapes as the vigleance of the Japanese guards on working parties was known to be lax.
Reference is made to Consolidated Report on the subject of the use of codes and to the letter received purporting to be signed by a fictitious W.A.A.F. Interogation of the reipient of the letter shows that the W.A.A.F. story was incorrect. It appears that the writer and the recipient of the letter had both read what they considered to be a stupid detective novel which had been the subject of many jokes between them. The letter was in fatc written using an address occurring in the novel and signed in the name of one of the female characters. At first the poW made no sense of the letter but eventually he remebered the novel and interpreted the message as already indicated in the Consolidated Report. The original letter has not been recovered.