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Prisoner of war diary
Title : Prisoner of war diary Prisoner of war diary
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Creator : McLaren, Melvin Donald, 1922-1998
Source : D 6478(L)
Date of creation : ca. 1942-1945
Format : Manuscript
Dimensions : Diary, 130 x 170 x 40mm [open]; cover 135 x 85mm
Contributor : State Library of South Australia
Catalogue record
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Donated by : Don McLaren
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Description :

Diary kept by Melvin Donald McLaren, 8th Division, 2 A.I.F., whilst a prisoner of war in Japanese hands in Changi, Singapore, Thailand and Japan.

Although it looks unassuming, this notebook would have cost South Australian soldier Melvin Donald 'Don' McLaren his life had he been discovered writing it. This diary was kept by McLaren, 8th Division, Second Australian Imperial Force, as a Japanese prisoner of war during World War II.

At 17 years of age, McLaren enlisted in 1940. He was a prisoner of war from 1942 to 1945. The diary chronicles the conditions and events he witnessed and experienced during captivity in Changi prison in Singapore, and later in Burma and Japan. His courage, loyalty to comrades and the ability to retain a sense of humour even under the most extreme circumstances, are evident in his writings. The diary was published as Mates in hell in 1998.

Coverage year : 1942-1945
Period : 1939-1945
Place : Singapore, Burma and Japan
Further reading :

McLaren, Don. Mates in hell: the secret diary of Don McLaren, POW of the Japanese 1942-1945, Henley Beach, S. Aust.: Seaview Press, 1998

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