:: Volume 1 – Singapore & Malaysia
:: Volume 2 – Dutch East Indies
:: Volume 3 – Burma, Thailand & Indonesia
:: Volume 4 – Hong Kong & China
:: Volume 5 – The Philippines & Taiwan

:: Volume 6 – Japan, Korea & Manchuria
Information Updates

click image for enlarged version




By David Tett

Awarded a Gold Medal at the World Championship, Singapore 2004 and a Gold Medal at ABPS, Basildon, England, 2004.
Published December 2003
Volume 2 – subtitled Paradise Lost - covers the prisoners in the Dutch East Indies. It contains 15 chapters in the same style and format as Volume 1. The main emphasis is on Java and Sumatra but what is known about the postal history of the other territories is also covered.
In 1942, The East Indies – Java, Sumatra, Celebes and thousands of islands big and small – had been under Dutch rule for 340 years. The country was stable and peaceful, for most a paradise. In March 1942, that was all about to change. With the fall of Singapore and many other neighbouring territories, the Japanese invaded the country and within two weeks acquired the vast resources of the former colony. Life thereafter was never the same again. Servicemen of Dutch, British, Australian and American forces became prisoners of war. All Dutch and other aliens were interned. Many thousands of Eurasians suffered the same fate. Upwards of 200,000 civilians lost their freedom. The prisoners were incarcerated in over 300 camps. They were moved within the Indies and to other locations outside the former Dutch colony. Their paradise was to be lost for three and a half years, in fact as it turned out, forever. Volume 2 tells their story through the medium of the postal history.
The first eight chapters deal with the build up to war and the postal items allowed to be sent to or from Java Sumatra and Celebes. The three following chapters contain personal histories of four individuals caught up in the war, told through their postal items that survived. Chapter 12 lists all the known markings found on the prisoners mail and Chapter 13 shows mail that was rejected, showing how and why it was rejected. Chapter 14 deals with the repatriation of the prisoners and the lengthy period of transition from occupied territory to Republic during which time many of the prisoners were kept interned for their own safety. Finally Chapter 15 contains new information and illustrations that have come to light since the publication of Volume 1. The book contains extensive Appendices of items of mail studied, glossaries and bibliography and a comprehensive index. The book contains 470 pages with more than 500 illustrations
Foreword by Leo B Vosse

After the publication of Volume 1 – The Changi Connection, I came into contact with David Tett on several occasions. This eventually led to an exchange of information, reading the draft of Volume 2, and to writing this foreword.

Some twenty years ago I became interested in the postal history of the former Netherlands Indies during the Japanese occupation and the interim Republic of Indonesia, prior to sovereignty. Not long afterwards I joined the Dai Nippon, the philatelic organisation that specialises in this subject. Some years later I became Secretary of this organisation and it was in this function that I first met David Tett.

The complexity of this period still regularly results in new findings that surprise collectors and researchers alike. Much has been researched and described, yet the postal history of the POW camps has always been a difficult subject and in particular there has been very little published on this subject as it pertains to the Netherlands Indies. The occupation is, of course, a chapter in the lives of manyex-prisoners of war and internees that they prefer not to discuss,

as it remains for many a nightmare.

Now Volume 2 of the series, A Postal History of the Prisoners of War and Civilian Internees in East Asia during the Second World War lies before you. It covers the Dutch East Indies 1942-1946 and is subtitled "Paradise Lost".

It is a fantastic work which, through its layout and flow, is easy to read. It describes not only the postal history, but in chapters 9, 10 and 11, personal histories of men and women who experienced the period and imprisonment.

As mentioned earlier, new stamps and postal items from this period continue to be discovered. The same will be so for camp mail, and the author realises that this publication is not the last word and new discoveries will be made.

As David himself writes, there will be further volumes regarding camp mail from and to Burma, Thailand and IndoChina (all in Volume 3), the Philippines, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, China and Manchuria. I miss from this

list Borneo, and I know David’s reason is that this territory has already been described by Neville Watterson in his two volume Borneo: The Japanese POW camps – Mail of the Forces, POWs and Internees. Nevertheless, in such a magnificent series on POW and internee mail in East Asia, North Borneo should not be left out.

From my own experience I know how difficult it is to motivate others to assist in the publishing of a work. Every piece from this period has its own story and differs from other pieces. This makes the help of others so important in writing and publishing on the Japanese occupation of East Asia. Luckily David has the ability to enthuse and to inspire them to assist.
It has been a very pleasant experience to have been allowed to contribute to the publication of this outstanding work and I hope it will result in further research in the philatelic aspects of this period. I am very much looking forward to the publication of future volumes and if I can contribute to those I will naturally do so again.

Leo B Vosse July 2003

Praise for Volume Two:

"This well-written and well-illustrated work makes this period of postal history come alive, and will long be the definitive work on the subject"
Joe Hahn in American Philatelist April 2004.

"This is a very erudite work, easy to read and follow … It is highly recommended for anyone with an interest in military postal history and also the political and social history of the period."
Neil Russell in The London Philatelist, January/February 2004.

Foreword vii
Acknowledgements ix
Notes xi
Glossary and Abbreviations xiii
Glossary of Significant Place Names xvi
Introduction xix

1 Prelude to Captivity 1
2 DEI after the Surrender 19
3 Mails to the POWs in Java 35
4 Mail from the POWs in Java 79
5 Mail to and from the Civilian Internees in Java 109
6 Mail to the Prisoners in Sumatra 175
7 Mail from the Prisoners in Sumatra 197
8 Mail in Celebes 227
9 The Story of George Parkes 251
10 Letters Home to Evelyn 263
11 Two Men went to the Railway 283
12 Postal Stationery, Censors and Marks used in the DEI 305
13 Mail to the Prisoners that was Rejected or Returned 339
14 Some Went Home 353
15 Update to Volume 1 – The Changi Connection 393

1 The Armed Forces at the Fall of DEI 410
2 Cards and Covers addressed to POWs in Java 411
3 ards sent from Java POW Camps 421
4 Cards and Covers addressed to Civilian Internees in Java 426
5 Cards sent from Civilian Internees in Java 431
6 Cards and Covers sent from Camp to Camp within Java 434
7 Cards and Covers addressed or forwarded to POWs in Sumatra 439
8 Cards and Covers addressed or forwarded to Civilian Internees in Sumatra 443
9 Cards sent from Sumatra POW Camps 445
10 Cards and Covers sent to Sumatra Civilian Internee Camps 448
11 Movement of POWs from and to DEI 450
Bibliography 456
Index 465
"The Japanese invade and conquer, the Dutch rulers are deposed and native Indonesians are sweet-talked into cooperating. David Tett’s book is the postal history of the thousands that were incarcerated. You groan, yawn, and your eyes glaze over. Don’t ! Read, better still, study this profusely illustrated tome of 470 pages, and revel in postal history in its purest form. There are no contrived artifacts. Every item owes its existence to urgent human necessity, often regarding matters of life and death, driven by that famous four-letter word: love. … Do not wait for a more comprehensive treatise on this subject. You will be waiting in vain"
Mardjohan Hardjasudarma in Japanese Philately, October 2003.

"We can truthfully say that a better or more complete study will never be written. The book opens the eyes. It should be on the shelf of everybody interested in the postal history of the period"
Peter Storm van Leeuwen in Filatelie May 2004.

"This book contains a most interesting and well crafted account of what was happening during those very difficult times, for which David Tett deserves congratulations"
Ian McQueen in Gibbons Stamp Monthly January 2005.

"I am humbled by the amount and quality of effort. It is a wonderful opus"
-Ken Kamholz

"I am absolutedly deighted with your book, it is really fascinating and I am dipping into it constantly"
- Meg Parkes, author of 'Notify Alec Rattray'

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