Soldier's account of Japanese World War Two massacre to be auctioned
A British soldier's harrowing account of one of the most notorious and merciless massacres of World War Two has come to light 65 years on after his daughter released it for sale at auction.
2:51PM BST 11 Aug 2008
Private Arthur Haines was in a Singapore military hospital with malaria when invading Japanese troops stormed the building and killed more than 200 people.
Although his life was spared, the soldier witnessed the gruesome killings of his comrades, doctors and nurses who were either bayoneted, shot or suffocated to death.
After being taken prisoner, Pte Haines, 24, managed to jot down the bloody episode on a four page letter.
In it he wrote of the moment a private waved the white flag to Japanese troops only to be fatally bayoneted.
Others who desperately pointed to the red cross to the marauding enemy were also dispatched in similar fashion while one captain played dead in order to survive.
And the soldier wrote of hearing the piercing screams of a group of his captured colleagues who were taken into a courtyard and systematically killed.
The document, along with Pte Haines' other wartime mementoes such as his medals and photographs, were handed down to his daughter who has now sold them at auction.
Lucy Grazier, of auctioneers Woolley and Wallis in Salisbury, Wilts, said: "It is a very emotive collection which includes this harrowing, hand-written account.
"Some of the details are quite shocking and brutal.
"Pt Haines' daughter didn't have anyone to pass her father's war collection onto so came to us. She was quite emotional after reading the document for the last time."
Pte Haines, from Alderbury, Wilts, was working at a grocers when he was called up to the Wiltshire Regiment in 1940.
He was later transferred to the Royal Norfolk Regiment which was sent to the Far East at the end of 1941 to defend Singapore.
After arriving on January 13, 1942 he caught malaria and was admitted to the British Military Hospital, also known as Alexandra Hospital, in Singapore.
At the time members of the Royal Army Medical Corps and the Queen Alexandra Nursing Sisters served as hospital staff, treating some 900 wounded soldiers.
In his account he wrote how he heard the Japanese guns draw ever nearer on the morning on February 14.
He wrote: "Pt Weston went with a white flag in order to indicate the surrender of the hospital. The Japs took no notice and he was bayoneted to death by the first Japs that entered.
"Jap troops then entered the hospital and ran amok on the ground floor, they were highly excited. Neither pointing to the red cross or showing 'hospital' had any effect.
"The Japs motioned to the staff to proceed down the corridor and then for no apparent reason bayoneted Sgt Rogers twice through the back. Capt Parkinson was bayoneted through the throat and died immediately.
"Capt Heevers and the Pte Lewis were also killed. Capt Smiley was bayoneted in the back, he was struck again and was wounded in the groin.
"He fell over pretending to be dead, collapsing with Pt Sutton, informing him to remain still."
Pt Haines then described how the Japanese rounded up about 200 patients and put them in three cramped rooms measuring just 10ft by 9ft.
He wrote that by the morning some of the wounded men had died from suffocation and dehydration.
He stated: "They (the men) were forced to urinate against each other and all suffered from thirst and suffocating atmosphere.
"When dawn came the Japs were seen with tins of fruit which they kept for themselves."
He wrote that one of the cell doors burst open after the building came under mortar fire and a number of men made their escape.
He said: "Several tried to escape and were hit by machine gun bullets. Just prior to this the Japs had been leading away small parties out of sight of the others and the ensuing yells and screams and the Japs returning wiping their blades left little doubt as to their fate."
More than 200 soldiers and medical staff were killed in the 24-hour massacre.
Pt Haines was one of about 700 taken prisoner and spent the next three-and-a-half years in a prisoner-of-war camp in Thailand.
He died in 1996. His war collection sold for £320 at the auction and was bought by a private collector.