Christmas 1944, Chungkai camp – POWs 21

Barry and several of the remaining men of 27 Line Section were still In Chungkai Camp at the end of 1944. Barry was still involved with the theatre at this time. He recalls:

Towards Christmas 1944 I was back in the theatre with Leo Britt’s company… At Christmas itself with the help of Gibby Inglefield, who had been a choral scholar at St. John’s Cambridge, the stage carpenters built a set of choir stalls, which were set diagonally on the stage and lit from the front so that they seemed to disappear into the darkness of a chapel. On the night, one night only, the choir was placed in these stalls hidden behind a mosquito netting gauze curtain. A radio announcer with a microphone in his hand stood alone in front of the curtain and told the audience that a radio broadcast of carols from King’s College [Barry’s old college] would now be presented. The gauze curtain was raised just like a pantomime transformation scene and disclosed a group of choristers in white surplices lit up by our two Tilly lamps and little oil lamps disguised as candles, in a row of stalls which really did appear to stretch away into a dark interior. Members of the audience told me that the illusion of the interior of a College chapel had been very convincing and nostalgic.

All the men, captives and captors, never mind their religion or lack of it, were profoundly moved by this.