George Muscutt was interned in a Japanese
POW camp in South East Asia. Muscutt’s duties included keeping records of
interviews conducted between Japanese and British officers. For example,
one document entitled, “Report of the Interview between General Arimura,
I.J.A. and Lieutenant Colonel S. W. Harris, Commanding 18th Divisional Area,”
details the exchange between these two officers. General Arimura asked some
seemingly trivial questions, like how Japanese food compared to British supplies.
Even these seemingly trivial questions, however, were poignant because the
first concern of Colonel Harris was that the rations provided by the Japanese
were “totally inadequate to keep the men in health …”General Arimura also
wanted to know, among other things, who had given the order to surrender
the Singapore Fortress, who actually carried out the white flag, and if the
POWs were to “return home to England to-morrow would they be welcomed by
… General [Arimura] said that a Japanese Officer
would have automatically “cut belly” (the expression is the General’s) rather
than obey this order. I pointed out to the General that it was as a point
of dishonour for a British solider to commit suicide as an evasion of responsibility.
The General remarked that different countries had different traditions. I
pointed our that all other countries expect Japan surrendered when the position
was hopeless to avoid useless bloodshed, and that in these circumstances
it was not considered a dishonour.
On September 11, 1944 George Muscutt’s
wife had caught news that American submarines had sunk two Japanese vessels
carrying Allied POWs; 1,300 people died, but Muscutt was not one of them.
He would return to the UK and be reunited with his wife, Molly, and son,
Leslie. Together they would have another son, Keith. George Muscutt died
on September 3, 1955.