…there were far more brutal places than Changi.
While the stories of the suffering and survival of Australians at Changi, the biggest prisoner of war camp on Singapore island, are well known, the stories of Outram Road Gaol are far less so. This was where escapees and traitors were sent, including allied prisoners of war as well as Chinese civilians and even Japanese soldiers. It is estimated that thousands of people died here, many executed, others of malnutrition or disease.
Stubborn Buggers tells the stories of twelve Australian prisoners of war and their experiences in Outram Road Gaol as well as on the Thai-Burma Railway and Sandakan. It is not an easy to read book, because of its subject matter, but it is compelling, sharing not just facts, but stories of survival and perseverance, even humour.
Drawing on extensive interviews with the survivors, this is a moving and important look at a dark piece of history.
Stubborn Buggers, by Tim Bowden
Allen & Unwin, 2014
Available from good bookstores and online.