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Piece of Changi Jail

A piece of wall from Changi Jail.

Changi is an area at the eastern end of Singapore Island, where Changi Prison Stood. This is where thousands of prisoners of the Japanese were kept during the Second World War.

In 2000, this prison was demolished. This piece of Changi jail is believed to be 1 of only 6 pieces left. It was given to Arthur Lane by the makers of a TV documentary entitled Sayonara Changi, because Arthur helped in the making of the programme.

In 1935, aged 15, Arthur enlisted as a drummer in the 1st Battalion of the Manchester Regiment. He served in Egypt and Palestine before being posted to Singapore. When the Japanese invaded Malaya in 1941, Arthur saw action as a machine gunner in the mainland campaign before being captured in Singapore City at its fall in February 1942.

During captivity, Arthur was appointed many tasks – including cookhouse manager, cattle herder, railway builder and bugler. As one of the only five or six British buglers in the camps, Arthur was given an armband which denoted him as ‘Musician to the Dead’. The armband gave him greater freedom to move about the camps and Arthur attended thousands of funerals during this time.

After the war, Arthur became a private detective and then a publisher, specialising in books written by veterans of war. His own books include: When you Get Home, Where are all the Madmen, The Shadows of a Manchester Soldier and 70 days to Hell.