Kelsey Memories

Because there were no cameras allowed in Changi Prisons or on the Thai-Burma Railway much of history was recorded by those with the talent for drawing, painting, writing or poetry. A close friend in Changi and after the war, Doug Turnbull was one who had this talent for sketching and some of his drawings are reproduced here together with some others taken from Bob Kelsey's album.

Sketch of a typical Changi Hut by Ronald Searle, with a poem opposite.

Keep on, O weary heart, tho' black the way,
The Fight may end, the Goal be won, Today!
Keep on, throw out your chest, lift up your chin -
It takes a steady heart to fight - and win.
Keep on, NOR EVER DOUBT, for no man knows
How goes the Battle while the smoke cloud blows
Keep on! Count not your Steps - How can you tell.....
The next turn may bring the glad "All's Well"! - R.H.S.K.
Drawing of a falsely tranquil scene - a pier and boat built by the PoWs in Changi Goal for Jap General Shieto
Sketch of the main Changi Goal - D. Turnbull Prisoner huts built round the Changi Goal outside the walls - D. Turnbull
"Most pathetic sight in the Camp was the hut in which T.B. patients were segregated from their comrades!" - sketch by D. Turnbull Another prisoner hut similar to E.1. with vegetable gardens outside. - D. Turnbull
Working Party returning to Changi carrying "Doover Wood" - sketch by V. Murray Griffin Captain Greenwood, "Poet's Corner", Hut E.1. - D. Turnbull
Prisoner huts at Havelock Road, Singapore - D. Turnbull Interior of a Havelock Road hut - D. Turnbull
A trailer party - our only transport in Changi. - R.H.S.K. Sketch by an unknown artist of a ward in "Roberts Hospital" - Bob made the comment "The best "hospital" we ever saw. The artist, being a "Changi Choco" thought it very bad!" There is a poem above this drawing:

Give us to awake with smiles!
...As the sun returns to the East
So let our patience be renewed with Dawn.
Leg ulcer operation on the Thai-Burma Railway - sketch by V. Murray Griffin Hospital ward at Tanbaya often with up to 14 patients to a "bay", many near death.

"The weariness, the feaver and the fret here,
where men sit down and hear each other groan....
Where youth grows pale and spectre thin, and dies.
Where but to think is to be full of sorrow
and leaden eyed despair."
A cholera victim - Tanbaya - sketch by Ronald Searle. Some were buried in makeshift graves or cremanted and their ashes buried and marked with a cross - finally eternal peace.

Amongst Bob's "biscuit tin" of treasurers was a letter, written in 2000 by George Beard, a close friend and PoW which sums up the character of the man R.H.S. Kelsey, largely unrecognised but in the eyes of many, a man among men. You are invited to read George Beard's letter