The Hard Way: Surviving Shamshuipo POW Camp
Major V.S. Ebbage was taken prisoner with his Royal Army Ordinance Corps when the Japanese captured Hong Kong in 1941. Ebbage was held captive until the war ended and a decade later wrote The Hard Way as a memoir. His account depicts how the British prisoners survived starvation and sometimes brutal treatment. They bartered with their captors for necessities and demonstrated great ingenuity by creating needles, surgical instruments, and sandals from scrap metal and tires. Ebbage’s men kept up their morale through activity and games, and I was strongly reminded of The Bridge on the River Kwai. His writing is clear and factual, occasionally humorous, but not lyrical. The Hard Way will certainly interest historians and WWII buffs, but interactions between the prisoners and their Japanese captors were also intriguing, and I wish that Ebbage had expanded on this aspect of The Hard Way.